It’s very short, it’s catchy, and every word counts. This is a ‘bite-size’ piece of fiction that must be a self-contained story and leave the reader satisfied. It may be charming, gruesome, or anything in-between, but it must contain that all important factor – impact; conveyed, for example, through images, snippets, single words or suggestions.
Usually the length is under 500 words. Some competitions ask for variations on this, even a maximum word count as low as 40. Try writing some – it’s great fun and a good challenge for the writer to try and create something that is literally bursting with energy.
Here’s one of my early attempts. I’m going to keep practising and get a file going to keep for the many flash fiction competitions that now appear.
The dog races towards me, scattering the cats, ears outspread like aeroplane wings, lip curled. Then she brakes, body dissolving into a sleek, black sphinx with dancing eyes, and I know that the butterfly she holds is fluttering its last.
[Note: Pila Pala is Welsh for ‘butterfly’. The dog is Taran – Welsh for ‘thunder’. Catching butterflies was one of her favourite pastimes.]