Flash fiction is the belle of the ball, the flavour of the moment, the soup of the day and apparently well on its way to mainstream acceptance as a separate and unique form of writing. With so much attention coming flash fiction’s way, it made me think – did Juliette hit it on the head when she said what she said about roses or does that only apply to flowers?
Well what is it that you are submitting – flash fiction, postcard fiction, sudden fiction, short-short fiction, micro fiction, palm of the hand story, vignette, or a I was going to say a prose poem but then things would get really out of control. Vignette is often used as an example of a piece of flash fiction done wrong so we can knock that off the list; leave it for the playwrights. However, that still leaves about half a dozen names in a writer’s jargon. Who cares? If everyone is talking about the same type of writing then does it really matter if we call it something different as long as we are talking about the same thing? I guess Juliette was right after all.
Or was she? For example, when someone produces a piece of short-short fiction it is expect to have the same basic structural components as a longer piece of fiction, exposition, conflict and resolution, but there will be a greater need for the reader to assume or hypothesize in order to build the narrative arch into a whole in the brain. Calling that short-short fiction makes sense, after all it is a short story condensed into a shorter form, which asks for a little presuming, by the reader.
However, there was no flash. The piece is asking the readers to do something but they do not have to; there is not an uncontrolled neuron flash in their brains if they do not put their brains to it. This is what flash fiction should do, it should present text based on previously constructed mental associations in the reader’s brain in order to create a gestalt piece of writing which comes alive inside of the reader’s brain.