Flash Fiction is one of the favored genres for English literature. Just like teen fiction books, flash fiction has many celebrated writers. The narrative is typically emotional and written in short paragraphs. When done well, flash fiction works can elicit emotional responses from readers and resonate with a wider audience.
What is flash fiction?
It is a genre of fiction that's defined as a very short story. There is no agreed up word count to delineate a flash fiction work from a traditional short story, but it is commonly accepted that flash fiction works can be as short as comprising a few words to as long as a couple of paragraphs. Other terms used to refer to flash fiction include short-short stories, sudden fiction, micro stories, and micro fiction.
What makes literary flash fiction?
Flash fiction stories have several distinct characteristics such as:
Stories of flash fiction begin and end within a few short paragraphs. Flash fiction doesn't have any set word count but works as short 6 words as well as those that reach to about a thousand can be classified as flash fiction.
- Complete plot
Despite its length, to be categorized as flash fiction, the story must have a beginning, middle, and end to set it apart from other literary works like prose or vignette.
Flash fiction must also contain a surprise or a sudden twist to the plot that the readers didn't see coming. This is not a gimmick to increase a story's clout. The point of the surprise is to force readers to some deeper analysis of the true meaning of the story.
These three characteristics of flash fiction stories make it ideal for quick consumption for people with a few minutes in their day to spare. They can be quickly read while waiting in line at a coffee shop or while one's brushing their teeth.
Having said that, here are 6 flash fiction stories you can read while waiting anywhere.
The Curriculum is considered to be a great example of the capabilities of flash fiction literature. The story is segmented into three parts: Area Studies, Women's Studies, and Visual Studies. Despite the headings, each section doesn't, in fact, refer to anything academic but each part does provide context about the narrator's life particularly her relationship with her mother, cultural identity, and womanhood.
The word Kafkaesque is used to describe something akin to the surreal, nightmarish, and oppressive qualities of Kafka's fictional world and the story Give It Up perfectly embodies that meaning. At just 100 words, Kafka manages to convey to the readers a disconcerting and ultimately hopeless feeling.
Presented in a stream-of-consciousness way, Girl is a passage about what it means to be a girl. From how to sew and clean to how to present one's self to others, the story showcases the near-limitless ways women are expected to be without faltering.
A great example of microfiction, this one-sentence story covers the day of a bored yet still aspirational housewife.
Unferth's work is another great meditation on womanhood. It can be connected to Kincaid's 'Girl' in that 'Likable' dissects what happens as women grow older and are seen as less "valuable" by society. This piece is sure to resonate with any woman, young and old.
Although quick and short, this vignette manages to deliver a moving yet disturbing imagery into readers' minds. It recounts the narrator's birth where the mother is dressed as Raggedy Ann.
Lily Brooks is a passionate blogger who loves to write about travel, books, personal development, lifestyle, productivity, and more. She is currently working with CreedGriffon, an incredible series of teen fiction books for girls and boys.