The form of the short story has not changed in hundreds of years. The form is what makes the short story the short story.
Hello, my friends. This is the Old Soldier on what has turned out to be a warm, sunny late afternoon in Pittsburgh.
I’ve got my beer. I’m finishing up a biography of Napoleon that I got from the public library a few days ago and I’m waiting for The Pittsburgh Pirates, who have the best record in professional baseball, to play their next game in about two hours. I’ll listen to the game on the radio (I’ve sworn off television).
I just wanted to offer this insight to you about flash fiction before I sign off for the day.
The form of the short story is the beginning, the middle and the end. I personally like to think of the form as the setup, the buildup and the payoff. This form can be difficult to detect in a regular-length short story; but it is obvious in a story that is only a few hundred words long. What a flash fiction writer does is to present a full length “drama” in a few hundred words.
More than any other literary form, except poetry, flash fiction teaches a writer conciseness of written language, to say a great deal with as few words as possible. If you can internalize the form of the flash fiction short story, you will be a better writer.
New Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette is a magazine of creative writing, culture and sex.