Flash Fiction: A Unique Writer-Reader Partnership

Laila Al-Sharqi, Irum Saeed Abbasi


The proliferation of an unconventional miniature story, in the digital age, is a testament to its rising popularity. In response to the expanding demand for very short stories, writers have delivered the briefest possible stories falling under the short-short fiction umbrella. Short-short fiction is identified with various labels; however, flash fiction is more commonly used in America. The term ‘flash fiction’ was initially used for short-short stories of up to 750 words. However, since then, stories ranging from 50 words to 1,500 words have also been included in the classification of the flash fiction genre. Flash fiction is a hybrid style that mixes verse with narrative to form a story that captures a ‘moment’ of a larger narrative sequence akin to a series of still photographs taken from a movie. Flash Fiction is not plot driven and precisely includes only essential information in a compressed manner. Flash fiction writers deliberately sketch scenes with strokes of ambiguity to keep readers fully attuned to each word. They also withhold details regarding the story’s characters, events, scenes, and atmosphere that watchful readers try to compensate with an active imagination. Apparently, the readers also are inclined towards making sense of each word based on their individual experiences and perceptions. Typically ending with an ironic twist, flash fiction’s ending surprises the readers and leaves them stimulated that encourages multiple re-readings for closure. This paper argues that flash fiction uniquely draws the reader into a partnership with the writer and it is with their combined contribution that the story is completed and remains


Brevity; Compressed narrative; Hybrid-genre; Short-short story; Flash fiction; Writer-reader partnership

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/n


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