This essay was written by Brandon Monk.
There is no precise definition of Flash Fiction except to say the works are shorter than a Short Story. Sources argue, though, how short a work must be to fit in. Writers like Kafka, Hemingway, Bradbury, Vonnegut, Jr., and Chekhov did some of this before the genre was named. Hemingway is said to have penned a 6 word story which wouldn’t have fit some definitions of flash fiction, but would have fit others: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
Some journals specify the word count they are looking for, like 55 fiction, (55 words) the Drabble (100 words), and 69er (69 words).
This category of fiction deserves particular attention on this blog because reading and understanding short short stories can be a gateway that leads to tackling longer works. Even if you have to reread the work several times to come away with the meaning you can do so in less than 15 minutes. If you have not practiced extended attention to writing in years, consider Flash Fiction as a place to start.
Here are some resources to consider:
Six-Word Memoirs (while not technically fiction, it does meet the definition of “flash”)
Long Story Short (In the “featured authors and their work” section you can find some flash and micro fiction)