Flash Fiction Stories: Examples of Lighting-Fast Stories

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Flash fiction stories, sometimes called micro-stories or short-shorts, are stories that can be told in 300 words or less. As the name implies, these are stories that are told fast, usually in a single sitting. Flash fiction has become a popular form of writing, especially among readers of modern fiction who enjoy the quick-hit of a complete story in one sitting, as well as among writers who appreciate the challenge of creating an entire story arc in such a small amount of words. In this article, we examine some examples of flash fiction stories, and what they can teach us about the craft of storytelling.

What Is Flash Fiction?   

Flash fiction is a literary genre that is defined by its brevity. The stories are usually told in 300 words or less, with some flash fiction stories as short as 17 words. These types of stories require a writer to be concise and expressive as possible in as few words as possible. As a result, these stories often contain powerful imagery and language, as well as making concise use of symbolism, irony, and metaphor.

Flash Fiction As A Teaching Tool 

Flash fiction stories can be used as a helpful teaching tool in both creative writing classes and language arts classes. These short stories give students an opportunity to practice summarizing and condensing their thoughts into a few sentences, as well as giving them an example of storytelling that can be done in a condensed format. Because flash fiction stories condense the typical story arc into a brief snapshot, they forces students to write critically and makes them think about the elements of narrative structure.

Benefits of Writing Flash Fiction 

For the writing-inclined, flash fiction stories offer a great way to practice writing and storytelling. The short format of flash fiction stories allows a writer to be creative and expressive in only a few words. It also can be a great way to break up the monotony of working on long projects and gives a writer the opportunity to work on tight deadlines. It encourages creativity and encourages the writer to think about their storytelling elements in a concise way.

Examples of Flash Fiction Stories   

Below are a few examples of flash fiction stories that offer a great illustration of how to write a compelling story in such a short space.

“The Perfect Gift” by Ruth Stiles Gannett 

This story follows a young girl who finds a mysterious package on her front porch. Inside the package is a small cloth doll that appears to be alive. It quickly becomes clear that the doll was sent by the girl’s grandmother, who is nearby and can hear the girl’s every thought.

“The Loneliest Road” by Neil Gaiman 

In this story, a traveler encounters a strange stretch of road on his journey. Off the beaten path, he finds himself in an area littered with abandoned cars, eerie warnings, and several stories from the locals about what happened to them there. This story shows how a seemingly simple premise can be used to tell an effective story.

“Lovers” by D.H. Lawrence 

This story tells the story of two lovers who meet at a dance and quickly become inseparable. Throughout their courtship, they come to realize that their love can never be consummated, and eventually they are forced to separate. However, they remain connected through the memories of their brief but meaningful relationship.

“The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf” by Katherine Mansfield 

In this story, a young girl is sent out one winter night to buy a loaf of bread for her family. She leaves the store and becomes excited by the feeling of being out and being able to walk on the snow without her parents’ knowledge. She loses her way and turns to a man sitting in a doorway, who offers her advice and protection before disappearing.

Flash fiction can be an exciting way to practice writing and storytelling, as it challenges the writer to create a compelling narrative in only a few words. The genres includes a wide range of stories, from humorous to eerie to romantic. By looking at examples of flash fiction, readers and writers can gain a better understanding of how to create a compelling story in a brief amount of time.

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