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What is Flash Fiction?

“Flash fiction” is a term that was coined in the 1990s for very short stories, generally under 1000 words. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, such stories in English were often referred to as “sudden fiction” or “short-short” fiction. The concept, however, has been around for much longer, dating back to the fables, folktales, myths, and parables of the ancient world.

Here at Flash Fiction Online, we categorize “flash fiction” as a complete story of 500-1000 words.

A complete story is one that has:

  • a character
  • some sort of problem or conflict
  • a satisfying resolution, which finds the character(s) somehow changed

We love sharing stories across a variety of genres, from hard sci-fi to slipstream to literary. Flash fiction is all about the form, not about the genre, which makes FFO unusually suited to explore those in-between tales that don’t fit quite nicely into a genre box or that experiment with voice and style and structure.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a handful of stories that readers have enjoyed enough to include on the 2020 Nebula Reading List: