Flash Fiction: What the Flash?
Flash fiction is defined as very short fiction, usually less than 1000 words. In some cases, less than 500, 300 or even 100 words. Sometimes people call it short-short story or microfiction. Other names include postcard story, fast fiction, or minute fiction.
I once had a prose poem published as a “shorty story”. You can read a version of that publication, Abandoned House, here. Personally, I don’t consider Abandoned House a story at all because it doesn’t have a plot. But, someone wanted to publish it. They could call it whatever they wanted!
Whatever name you give it, a postcard story is challenging to write.
One of my favourite writing exercises is to take one of my short stories (usually around 2000 words) and edit it down to 1000 words or less. This requires precision. I’ve learned to be concise as a result. This exercise hasn’t just helped my short story writing, but my long form writing as well!
Challenge yourself! Here are five literary magazines in Canada that accept flash fiction.
Two of them run flash fiction/postcard story contests with deadlines coming up.
- Filling Station: Based in Calgary, founded in 1993, dedicated to supporting emerging writers.
- Geist: A magazine based in BC dedicated to “the weird and wonderful from the world of words.” They offer the “Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest” with a deadline of January 15.
- (parenthetical): A bi-monthly literary magazine published by a Toronto-based arts collective words(on)pages.
- Pulp Literature: One of my favourites! A digest sized magazine based in BC. They offer a “Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest” with a deadline of February 15.
- untethered: A bi-annual journal based in Toronto dedicated to emerging and established work.
Read more flash fiction on Dreamers Creative Writing.