I found out about Flash fiction only about a year ago. Well, when I say I found out about it, I kind of knew what it was as it popped up in competitions and such, but I'd previously dismissed the concept.
I couldn't see the point of squeezing a story into a word count of 500 words or below? Some Flash fiction can be of a 1000 words, but generally it tends to be fewer.
It seemed to me as if the whole thing was just about playing a literary game for the sake of it. Some pieces of flash I read seemed meaningless and flat, yet others I began to realise were very well executed.
What made these better pieces stand out was that every word counted. Each word had been carefully selected and considered to create maximum impact. The writer of Flash is denied the luxury to faff and frill around the edges of a story because of the word count.In order to engender the reader's empathy, invoke emotion, or induce a belly laugh, the words used must be tailor made for the task.
I had a few cracks at it, and I must say I really enjoyed the challenge. It became more than a literary game for it's own sake, and I found it really helped me focus on the message/meaning of the story. I tend to always have a message/meaning somewhere in my writing as I guess if it means nothing to me, why should it mean anything to anyone else?
Words have the power to sometimes change lives, the course of history, or just bring a smile to a sad face. We should harness that power in many different ways to enrich our lives.
At the moment I'm enjoying the Flash experience!