Story Lengths – Flash

Since it’s been fun (while hopefully not too boring) for me to provide thoughts on the many aspects of creative writing, I thought I’d attempt story lengths next. This mini-series will describe the word count of each category that I adhere to when completing a story. As well, I’ll take some time to describe how I use each story length when writing. You can find many length variations of these categories out there but this is what I generally stick to.

First up is Flash! I’ve always considered flash stories to be any prose under 1,000 words. These stories are for the busy reader. Many publication sites have a flash section as they are easy to consume while on the go. There’s quite a few contests which use this length cap. They even sometimes make word counts 100 or lower to see how creative writers can be.

Many of the pieces I wrote during the first few courses at UTM fell under this category. In general, flash length is great for delivering a tale quickly and concisely as it forces you to choose each word carefully. They tend to focus on a single scene or thought and are very punchy. Of all the story lengths, these tend to contain the most experimenting – trying techniques or structure that would be too awkward if used for any extended length of time.

In general, I do like to write within the confines of flash length every now and then but it isn’t my favourite. I’ll use it more-so for creative non-fiction as world building isn’t really required. My proudest single sentences usually show up in these very small stories because of the need to edit and cut down many times over but, overall, they make description very difficult. I’ve posted an example of flash fiction in my ‘stories’ section so feel free to check that out.

That’s all for now. Next week – Short story!

Keep turning the page,

Chris

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