Let’s Talk About Flash Fiction

Do you read Flash Fiction? What’s your favorite genre of Flash Fiction?

Flash Fiction’s popularity is growing. You can now find Flash Fiction Online Magazines, such as Flash Fiction MagazineHavok, and Spark Flash Fiction. There are Flash Fiction Contests also available online, and lots of people writing about Flash Fiction, as well as writing Flash Fiction stories.

In addition to all of the genres and websites that offer Flash Fiction stories and/or Flash Fiction tips and advice, there are websites who define Flash Fiction and the definitions vary: some say a Flash Fiction story needs to be 300 words or less; some say 500 words or less; some say 1,000 or 1,200 or 1,500 words or less. The three online Flash Fiction magazines I listed above all require, in their submission guidelines, Flash Fiction stories between 300 and 1,000 words.

I entered a contest earlier this year that required 500 words or less. A Contest I entered more recently required 100 – 300 words. However, this contest didn’t require it to be only Flash Fiction stories–it could also be the beginning of a longer story (I wrote a 300 word Fantasy Flash Fiction story, and no, I didn’t win; didn’t even make it to the finals, but I rarely dabble in Fantasy. I was just happy to earn some votes in the first round.)

If you follow my blog, you know that I write a Flash Fiction story to post every Friday, and if you haven’t noticed, I do my best to write around 800 words, but I do make sure to write less than 1,000 words.

Why is Flash Fiction so popular with readers? Because theses stories are short. You can read a Flash Fiction story in 5-10 minutes, and you get a complete story. You can read them on a bus or train or while waiting in a doctor or dentist’s office.

Why is Flash Fiction so popular with writers? Because it forces writers to hone their craft — to write a well-written story that is tight and concise–no wasted words.

Every website that talks about writing Flash Fiction says, “Just like any other story, a Flash Fiction Story must have a beginning, middle, and end.”

However, many Flash Fiction writers write a satisfying ending that resolves the scene they have created, but leave room for the reader to imagine a complete ending they might like, similar to the old storybooks some writers wrote for children in the past: “choose your own ending”.

I do my best to put a satisfying ending on my Flash Fiction stories. However, sometimes I do leave it to the reader’s imagination to a degree.

What about you? Do you prefer a good solid ending on the Flash Fiction stories you read, or do you like a slight cliff-hanger that allows you to ponder how it might really end?

How Do You Decide What Genre to Write?

Most authors write in only one genre, though some may write the same genre for two different age groups, such as adults and teens (otherwise known as young adults).

It is best to write in the genre you know best and are most familiar with.  In other words, in the genre you READ the most.  When you read, you become familiar with the way an author writes that genre of story.  You become familiar with how they create their characters and what style they write in, how they structure their story. You become familiar with the way their story flows, how they write the conflicts and the resolutions of the story.  You really get to know how that particular genre is written because of the books you read.

What if you like to read more than one type of genre?  Say you like two particular genres better than the rest, though you may occasionally read from other genres.  So maybe you read a lot of books in these two different genres.  You could try writing both genres and see which one works best for you.

When you are starting out, you should really focus on writing one particular genre and really getting good at it before you attempt to write another genre.  Once you have established yourself in a particular genre, you may want to see if you can then write something good enough to publish in the other genre.  There are published authors who have successfully written in more than one type of genre, but for the most part, an author typically sticks with one genre.