Flash Fiction is a comparatively new genre and style of writing, but it’s taken off like gangbusters. When I first started reading and looking into flash fiction as a high school student back in the early 2000s, I was skeptical. A full, beautiful story in fewer than 1,000 words? Fewer than 500 words? Sometimes even fewer than 100? (Though, when we hit 100 or fewer words, I think we’re breaking into the Micro Fiction world.) At any rate, for a while, my skepticism for this writing style seemed justified — it can be very hard to find quality flash fiction. However, as it is with finding quality short stories, well-cut jewels, and properly cooked Thanksgiving turkeys, truly great flash fiction is out there for the reading, it just takes time to mine for it.
Many people seem under the impression that flash fiction is somehow a cop-out, somehow easier and more amateur compared to other styles. To these individuals, I would urge that you keep up the search for better flash fiction, because when you finally come across your first good one, you’ll recognize (as I did) that flash fiction can actually be just as difficult and require just as much focus and talent as any short story, poem, or novel. After all, if necessity is the mother of invention, then limits may be the mother of creativity — it’s when we’re given certain parameters, certain tools and challenges to work with, that we may at last exceed our own expectations.
What’s more, I’ve also come to appreciate flash fiction for its ability to very quickly introduce me to a wide array of new authors (some established but many still entirely fresh), voices, and perspectives. Flash fiction stories have, in some cases, served as the alien lights flashing just through the crack in the door, the shadows moving at the top of the stairs, those tastes and wafting scents of smoke or perfume that urge me inward and upward to learn and seek out more from specific new authors, bringing me into big, brand new worlds of characters and ideas that I likely wouldn’t have found or sought out otherwise.
To (hopefully) prove my point, I’ve come up with a short list of flash fiction that might intrigue you.
In no particular order:
And don’t be shy — share what you think of these! Have you always liked flash fiction or are you new to the game? What are your favorite pieces and publishers of flash fiction?