Many Types and Styles of Flash Fiction

Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative on

   Keeley Duffy 

Stories can be written in all kinds of ways. However, many people might think of longer pieces, like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter or Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight novels. But what about flash fiction?   

Flash fiction, which has become especially popular in the last twenty years or so, is a genre of fiction writing consisting of very short stories that are no longer than 1000 words. In Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook, David Galef not only writes about the many different kinds of flash fiction, but he also provides examples by a wide variety of writers. Here are just a few examples of some types of flash fiction stories, and what Galef advises fellow writers to do when creating them:  

Vignette: A short piece that uses imagery to describe a subject in greater detail. Galef suggests that writers “dramatize the writing, do more with fewer words, to go for evocative, concrete details, and to make your piece mean more than what it seems on the surface.”   

Fable: A short narrative that exemplifies a moral or principle of human behavior. Galef mentions that fables should “emphasize simple character traits rather than complex psychology, a quick unfolding of events instead of a suspenseful tale.”  

There are other kinds of flash fiction that only have one rule, and that’s the word count. Here are a few that Galef does not mention:  

Drabble – A 100-word story  

Hint Fiction – A 25-word (or less) story 

Fiction Fragments – A one-sentence story   

The shorter you go with your stories, the more difficult they become. Writers must carefully decide what details to keep and what to take out. It is a difficult, exciting challenge to see how few words you can use to tell an exciting story.   

If you’re interested in learning about how to write flash fiction, check out Galef’s Brevity:  

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