What is Flash Fiction?

My most recurrent problem with writing has always been that of writing too much. I guess there are just too many words flittering and skittering in my brain. This was an issue when I wrote essays at school (they were always too long), when I wrote my Bachelor of Arts dissertation (which exceeded the word count set by the University board) and when I wrote my Masters dissertation (which I spent months trying to shorten, while most of the other students couldn’t make ends meet).

This may sound like me bragging – but it really isn’t. When it comes to writing, I believe this consists of three parts. First, one must be a reader. One simply cannot be a writer, if one does not know the world one is delving in. Most importantly, how can one handle the written word, if s/he hasn’t encountered different examples of how it can be used again and again? Secondly, technique (which is where flash fiction comes in). A writer should be able to navigate through the sea of words and meanings, and steer herself clear in order to arrive wherever she wants to go. This means that if she sets out to write up to a certain word count, she must know how to economize and use her writing skills in order to do just that, and stop the extra flow which is mostly only frills.

Thirdly, of course, a writer sees the world like no one else does. She sees the world with a thousand eyes and none. This is what is called ‘imagination’ by some, ‘inspiration’ by most, and ‘dreamland’ by others. But that, of course, is another story.


Flash Fiction, also called Micro-fiction, are short moments in time, or very short stories, described by a writer in a few words. Flash Fiction is usually something which happens in one single act. Opinions differ on how long a flash fiction story ‘should be’, there being markets for works as short as 100 words, up to 300 words, or even as long as 1,000 words. There are also many competitions, especially online, for writers of flash fiction.


Flash Fiction is fun, economical, easy to write, and is really good for ‘flexing’ one’s mind, so to speak. It is also quite good for exercising one’s stream of consciousness approach. Having limited time, but an infinite amount of words waiting to come out, I have decided to post some of my flash fiction stories from time to time, and maybe letting my ‘dreamland’ suffuse my waking moments… and make them more interesting.


3 comments on “What is Flash Fiction?

  1. Just discovered this blog. Interesting description of this version of expression. Looking forward to discovering what lies behind the various doors. Just a quick observation on this particular post: in the 2nd paragraph you refer to the writer/reader in the third person and “s/he”, however from that point on you just refer to them as a female (herself, she etc). How come?


    • Hi Nick well met and well observed! Usually male pronouns are used to denote both the male and female genders in newspaper articles and books in general however I really don’t like that. There are days when it bugs me more than others, which is why i try to make it a point to write using s/he. I must admit however that many times i end up lapsing into the feminine, both because it is more convenient and because i guess subconsciously it feels as though i’m ‘balancing out’ all the male pronouns out there which are also referring to the female half of the population. If ‘he’ and ‘him’ are used to refer to both males and females, it stands to reason that the opposite could (or should) be true as well… lol

      Sorry for the long-winded reply. There’s my usual issue of writing too much again. I guess i have to re-start practicing my flash fiction. Haven’t done that in a while.


  2. Pingback: A Short Science Fiction in 25 Tweets | J. C. Conway

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