What Is a Short-Short

Glossary > Short-short

💬 Definition of Short-short:

​​Flash fiction, also known as short-short stories or microfiction, is a form of storytelling that has gained popularity in recent years. These brief but impactful tales typically range from 100 to 1,500 words, capturing the essence of a story concisely and engagingly. The genre encourages writers to use their creativity and explore innovative narrative techniques.

Related questions about a short-short:

What is the shortest short fiction?

The shortest short fiction is often called "microfiction" or "nanofiction," with stories typically ranging from just a few words to around 300 words. One of the most famous examples of ultra-short fiction is the six-word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." This brief yet evocative tale demonstrates the power of conciseness in storytelling, as it conveys a complete narrative in just a handful of words.

Why is flash fiction popular?

The charm of flash fiction lies in its brevity, as it forces authors to carefully choose each word to create a vivid and memorable story. The genre often showcases snapshots of characters' lives, highlighting crucial moments, emotions, or decisions that leave a lasting impression on readers. This form of storytelling is perfect for the fast-paced digital age, as it offers a quick, satisfying read for those with limited time or attention spans.

Flash fiction has found a home in various online and print publications, with many literary journals and magazines featuring dedicated sections for short-short stories. Competitions, anthologies, and workshops focusing on flash fiction also provide opportunities for writers to hone their craft, network with other authors, and showcase their work to a wider audience.

What are the characteristics of flash fiction?

Becoming experienced at writing flash fiction requires skill and practice. Writers must balance an engaging narrative and a strict word count. This challenge pushes authors to prioritize essential story elements, such as character development, conflict, and resolution, without sacrificing the story's emotional resonance.

Despite its compact form, flash fiction can encompass a wide range of genres and styles, from literary fiction and science fiction to romance and mystery. To make the most of the limited word count, authors often employ vivid imagery and sensory details that evoke emotions and strongly impact the reader. This versatility allows writers to experiment with different themes and narrative techniques, keeping readers engaged and eager for more.

Flash fiction often centers on a single incident, character, or theme. The story is distilled into essential elements, allowing readers to grasp the core message quickly. Due to its brevity, flash fiction often relies on readers to fill in the gaps and infer backstory or context from the presented information. Additionally, many flash fiction stories end on an open or ambiguous note due to word limitations, inviting readers to interpret the conclusion and imagine what might happen next.

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