An Introduction to Flash Fiction (aka The Short Short Story)

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:

Flash Fiction Online 

Online Collection of Flash Fiction

Everyday Fiction

Flash Fiction Writing Course

Six Sentences

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)

Press 53 (courtesy of Word Zeal)

Photo: Some rights reserved by christophhhhh


  1. AMD

    I’ve heard about companies who have used the six-worm memoir as a vehicle for community building. It seems to have potential. I do the occasional six-word post on my blog, inspired in part by that same Hemingway story.

    1. readlearnwrite

      That’s interesting. It seems like, in general, the Flash Fiction community is growing and experimenting with writing Flash Fiction must give you a new perspective on what it means to be concise when you write. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

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