(Editor’s Note: This post was first published on 11 October 2008.)
The flash fiction writer has a unique challenge that the full length short story writer does not have. The challenge is the length of a flash fiction story. There is no absolute agreement on the length for flash fiction but for this article let’s say a flash fiction story is from 400 to 1,000 words. Now remember a flash fiction story is a complete short story. It’s just a lot shorter than a regular short story which may be from 2,000 to 7,000 words long.
When you have 2,000 to 7,000 words to work with you’ve got plenty of room to add all kinds of complexities to the story. In flash fiction you must capture a situation and bring it to a conclusion as soon as possible–within 1,000 words.