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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Flash Fiction: Very Short Stories

This winter to get some credits between semesters I took a short story class. It was one of the best college classes I've had. Nothing turns my gears faster than looking at symbolism, story structure, theme and character development in literature. A few of the indie writers I follow regularly publish flash fiction either on their own sites or on sites like Brevity.

Flash fiction is a short story that is no more than a page or two long. It usually doesn't include all of the elements of a literary story, it's hard to do a lot of character development alongside exploring a theme. Done well they either explore a mood or character and make you think a bit. Done poorly they are a one page Twilight Zone episode that depends on a twist ending.

This book contained some fantastic stories, most of the very good ones were from literary authors that are already established at longer forms of literature. Pumpkins from Francine Prose was my favorite story which did a little exploration of a relationship. Most of the stories though were quite forgettable. The good news is that each of them took less than five minutes of my life to read. Even the episodes of Law and Order and the prison shows on MSNBC that I have watched can't claim to have taken less of my time.

Short stories were invented to uniquely fit into the American lifestyle during the industrial revolution. Each was designed to be read in a single sitting after a long day's work. Flash Fiction is the genre of the Internet age, designed to be read while iTunes is updating. This book showed me that this genre has potential, but we're not quite there yet.

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Hey I appreciate you leaving your thoughts behind! Be well my friend.