I have had more flash fiction pieces published than any other story format (others of which include short story, novelette, novella and novel). So what is flash fiction? There are all sorts of definitions out there, and basically it is up to whoever is publishing the story to decide, but the general rule of thumb is less than 1,000 words.
You might think that is not many, but it is amazing how much of a tale can be told in so few words. There are even some flash fiction sites where the limit is 55 words, making 1,000 seem excessive!
The great thing about flash fiction is that it is easy to consume for busy people, especially those with small mobile reading devices. As a result there are a lot of websites which provide weekly or daily flash fiction for free. While this leads to many more publication opportunities for writers, it does mean that often you won’t get paid for your work, but getting out there is half the battle, so don’t let that put you off.
If you want to check out some great Australian Flash Fiction so you can decide for yourself if less than 1,000 words is enough to tell a story have a look at Antipodean SF –or just Google flash fiction.
Here’s my 55 word story City Loop, written after a trip into work back in 2007;
The usual crush of commuters pushed onto the train, their eyes downcast as they pretended to see no-one. The stink of wet wool recirculated through the carriages as dripping umbrellas poked strangers.
“We don’t have to be part of the system, we could just go home!” a man yelled.
A small gap opened around him.
Okay, not a story covering the intrigue of three generations of the same family, but it does give you an idea of what you can do with 55 words.