January 19th

In Praise of Flash Fiction Do you read Flash? If you read, then the answer is yes. When you read a short news item in the metro as you travel to work, that’s flash. when you sit in the doctor’s surgery and flick through three year old magazines, most of those are flash. Some of what you read will also be fiction (what, in a newspaper, gasp!). Generally viewed as being up to one thousand words, though some places take a more or less stringent view, Flash Fiction is a skill that all writers would do well to learn.

When there are limits on how many words you can use your skills are sharpened, your choice of word and phrase becomes critical. Choosing to wax lyrical about the sensuous texture of a garment, or the unctuousness of a bowl of dolmades, or the gentle interplay of light from the setting sun, well there just isn’t the time and space to do it.Taut prose is good prose. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for flowers and purpleness and curlicues. But not for a new writer, and not most of the time.

So how does one go about writing Flash Fiction? What’s the purpose, the point, who cares??? Well, my favorites are lined here. These are venues that provide a prompt and a timescale, so the writing is focused both in scope and time. Yet, consistently, there is a wealth of ideas on display when you read the various entries. So, reader or writer, come have a look. Flash fiction is like the delicious nougat nibble, or bar of Dairy Milk, or caviar blini, or a whole host of other tiny delicious bites. They won’t fill you up, but they will delight you, and give you something to think on for a while.