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Flash of lightning
Photo by Micah Tindell

What is Flash Fiction?

Popular with those in a hurry, flash fiction is a short story of fewer than 1,000 words. Reading one of these short-short stories will take less than 10 minutes or even less than 5 minutes. The allure of flash fiction is that it is a quick read.

Finish It in a Flash

Flash fiction is much shorter than the typical short story. It’s often called a “short, short story” or “micro fiction.” The writer gets you from the beginning to the ending in anywhere from 6 to 1,000 words. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a famous story, often attributed to Ernest Hemmingway, that is said to be complete within 6 words.

“For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.”

those six words reek of emotion. Behind them is an unexplained story of life and probably death. The reader’s imagination fills in the blanks. So is it really a complete story?

Why I Love Flash Fiction

I am quite distractible. Have you ever gone into a room to do something, forgot why you were there and found something entirely different to do? Yep. That’s me. My attention span was never great, but I hate to admit that it seems to be growing even shorter.

I love flash fiction because it’s short. It holds my attention and I can finish it quickly. I can easily re-read the story, too, for the details and nuances that I missed the first time around. If it didn’t make sense initially, I can re-read it until it does or until I decide that I’m not the one lacking.

I love writing this type of fiction, too. Although I will talk your ear off and sometimes write lengthy emails, texts, and blog posts, I like to write brief fiction. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I can write a first draft with a beginning, a middle, and an end before I lose my train of thought! Sometimes.


Reading flash fiction is quick. You can read it on your phone, on your iPad or computer, or in a print magazine. You can complete a story while waiting in line at the grocery store. These very shshort stories are entertaining and are written in every genre.

Now that you know what it is, will you begin reading (or writing) flash fiction? Let me know in the comments below.