Really Short StoriesXXX

In a Current Comment item in the America issue of March 2, 2008, the editors commented on microfiction, the venerable subgenre of fiction that forsakes the traditional short story length, usually multiples of thousands, in favor of extremely brief tales that are sometimes even less than one hundred words. Also known as flash fiction, sudden fiction and short shorts, microfiction normally includes the typical elements of a short story but has to achieve much by allusion, implication and evocation of outside elements. In the Current Comment item, the editors referenced what is perhaps American literary historys most famous example of microfiction, Ernest Hemingways six-word short story: For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn. Few facts are present in that sentence, but the readers imagination fleshes out the tale in rapid fashion, conjuring up a protagonist, a conflict, and a resolution without much effort.

In an era when many people do their reading in front of a computer rather than in front of a crackling fire (pace Amazon.coms new Kindle electronic reader), microfiction will only grow in popularity, since its format is ideally suited to the single page and the quick read. Some online stories and helpful tips about reading and writing microfiction are linked below, as well as two journals devoted to microfiction and its literary cousins.

The Essentials of Microfiction by Camille Renshaw;
Micro Fiction: The Mini Site by Craig Snyder;
Flashes on The Meridian: Dazzled by Flash Fiction by Pamelyn Casto;
SmokeLong Quarterly
Flashquake.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

An explosive device was detonated outside the offices of the Mexican bishops' conference, directly across the street from the country's most visited religious site, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. walks from the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, as he steers the Senate toward a crucial vote on the Republican health care bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Republican proposals “exclude too many people, including immigrants,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said in a statement.
Without quite knowing it, I had begun to rely on the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
Elizabeth BruenigJuly 25, 2017
A demonstration for affordable health care in New York City on July 13. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate July 21 to fix problems with the Affordable Care Act in a more narrow way, rather than repeal it without an adequate replacement. (CNS photo/Andrew Gombert, EPA)
The sisters say that they are “most troubled by the cuts it would make to Medicaid by ending the Medicaid expansion and instituting a per capita cap [on spending].”