Flash fiction is shorter than a traditional short story. There doesn’t seem to be a universal definition of the length, but it’s generally considered to be stories that are less than 1,000 words. Some definitions say it’s stories less than 1,500, words, and a few places mention it’s under 2,000 words. There are even subcategories of flash fiction, such as drabble, which is a story that is exactly 100 words. If you plan to write and submit flash fiction, be sure to check the publication’s guidelines to find out which length they are interested in receiving.
Just like all stories, flash fiction needs a plot with a beginning, middle, and end. These stories drop the reader into the action, which often takes place in one scene, with very little backstory. There isn’t room for much character development, and the tension must build quickly. Since there isn’t time to gradually build up to a climax, twist endings are common.
Flash fiction has been around for years, but has become more popular with the growth of online magazines. The pay for these stories isn’t usually a lot, and the market is highly competitive, but selling them to reputable magazines may help beef up your author’s bio on a query.
Here are a few sites I think are helpful:
http://www.fictionfactor.com/guests/flashfiction.html Gives tips for writing flash fiction
http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/flash.shtml Describes flash fiction
http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Flash-fiction Explains the term and gives a history of flash fiction
Do you write flash fiction? Is it easier or harder for you than writing a typical short story?