Either way, the focus today is on short shorts. Really short stories. Sometimes referred to as microfiction, sometimes as flash fiction, the idea is to tell an entire story in the smallest number of words possible.
Lou Beach's 420 Characters is a collection of this type of short fiction. Beach started crafting these stories to fit within the restrictions of the 420 character limit to a Facebook status update. Occasionally you'll see someone who attempts to write stories within the confines of a Twitter update, which limits the author to 140 characters.
Ernest Hemingway is often cited as the progenitor of the short fiction movement, as the author of the variously punctuated "For Sale: baby shoes. Never worn." Unfortunately, there's no proof that Hemingway wrote this story. Still, you can let this famous six word story serve as inspiration! That's right, we're asking you to try your hand at flash fiction. You can check out the stories already posted to our Facebook event page, and share your own creations here or there.
- Check out this article with tips for writing flash fiction.
- Vestal Review, a flash fiction periodical that has been in publication since 2000.
- 365tomorrows, a new work of speculative flash fiction every day.
- SmokeLong Quarterly and Flash Fiction Online, more flash fiction periodicals.
- FlashFiction.net has compiled an even longer list of publications with a focus on flash fiction.
- This Wired article touches on flash fiction as part of larger changes to reading and writing driven by technology.
*Extra short review of This is How You Lose Her: It's excellent. There are swear words. You don't have to have read The Brief Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao to enjoy it, but it does add to the experience.