When I was first learning to improve my writing skills, I happened upon a list of the major literary forms. Among the other forms I saw “Flash” and was reluctant to read the definition, since in the generation I grew up in “flash” usually referred to someone dressed only in an overcoat and sneakers. But as I read the definition I soon realized Flash was not synonymous with adult content, nor was it a fishing lure or comic book hero. Now that I’ve told you what it isn’t, let’s explore what it is.
In short, it’s short. Not like a miniskirt or Martin Short – it’s brief. It is a fictional work of loosely 1000 words. Along with brevity, it has its own literary flavor. It’s not so much what it contains as much as what it leaves out or alludes to. It’s a story that usually hits the ground running, keeps your attention, and then (usually) leaves you like, “Woah, dude! I totally did not see that coming!”
I have come to think of Flash as the writer’s Sudoku – fun and challenging! It is a word puzzle with unpredictable pieces that mold together to conclude in unexpected ways. And it’s the perfect answer for scenes from larger works that must be cut for whatever reason.
Need samples? Here’s A Small Bit, and here’s I Know Why You Cry.
For more information on Flash Fiction, join my next Literary Clay workshop on the topic. To stay informed as to when these occur, fill out the form below.
Cheers and happy writing,
Leave a Reply