April 17th, 2013

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Go Ahead — Write This Story: Flash fiction

Sometimes they’re called “flash fiction,” “micro-fiction,” or “short short stories,” but they have a lot in common with regular fiction: protagonists, conflict, and resolution. And all that has to fit into stories with fewer than 1000 words — or 300 words, according to some definitions. These stories come in several varieties. They can recount a single incident or several incidents over compressed time; or they can rely heavily on the voice of the narrator to reveal insight; or they can explore situations more fabulistic than realistic. If you need a short idea, here are a few:

• She lied and said she had never spoken with extraterrestrials.

• The demon held strong opinions about how to organize a successful exorcism.

• Two centuries of waiting in cryonic storage had involved strange adventures.

— Sue Burke