What is the Point of Flash Fiction?

Essentially, flash fiction is the art of writing brief prose. Where it differs from the more traditional short story is length; flash fiction goes one step further in terms of brevity. Whether a few lines or a single page, the point is to tell a story in as few words as possible, sometimes forgoing plot, setting or characters as a result of the word limit.

The real strength of flash fiction lies in its length - or lack thereof. Flash fiction offers writers the opportunity to briefly but effectively tell a tale. Readers need not trawl through a novel to get a feel for an author, but can instead read examples of their work in a matter of minutes. The point of flash fiction is to impact on its readers as successfully as possible given the word restraints and it takes a competent writer to succeed in this.

Flash fiction is an especially important form given the ever increasing popularity of the internet. The accessible nature of flash fiction, coupled with the wide use of the internet, enables writers to reach potentially vast readerships both quickly and easily. Nor does it take too long to write. In this way, flash fiction can be used as a hook to raise awareness for authors and draw expanding readerships to their work, flash fiction or otherwise.

How to Write Flash Fiction

Given the short space in which writers have with this form, it can seem a daunting task to tell a complete story in so few words. The trick is to say as much as possible through a select choice of words, infer what can't be said and, finally, not to choose a complicated subject matter. Break it down and keep it simple. By adhering to these three rules, a successful story can be conveyed in very few words at all.

Choice words means writers can cram as much meaning and depth into their sentences as possible. Where so few words can be written, it is integral that each one counts. Similarly, by choosing the right words, background to the story can be inferred without having to be laboriously described. In this way, plot can be explained and even developed. Finally, a concise subject matter means writers can be acute and direct in what they are trying to convey, without having to navigate large, complex issues. Basically, keep it simple.

Through a combination of its short length and modern technology, flash fiction has tremendous power to reach a wide readership online. Its short length makes it a tempting and accessible form that, when written well, has the potential to impact hard on readers. It is an ideal form for aspiring writers to convey clearly their skills and abilities.