I wrote recently about flash fiction, aka micro fiction. Since I’ve been doing it, I’ve noticed that my flash fiction is getting longer. Still not short story long, but longer.
Is it still flash or micro fiction at 800 words? At 600? 400?
I’m thinking about this tonight because I just entered a contest for “micro fiction” and the maximum word count was 100. 100 words to tell a full story. I only mention it because that is hard to do!
I have seen the fact that my stories are getting longer as progress, my stories becoming more detailed or something, but I realized tonight that part of the challenge of micro fiction is the brevity. Can you still tell a compelling story in 200 words? 100 words?
World building is easy when you can use hundreds or thousands of words to create imagery and build scenes. The brevity of micro fiction forces you to strip away everything that isn’t critical to the story. Who cares if your palms are sweating? Get to the thing that is causing the anxiety, you don’t have enough words for sweaty palms!
Does it matter to the substance of the story why a character is in the hospital? Isn’t the fact that you have been summoned to the hospital because a loved one is hurt enough to convey to the reader worry and anxiety?
How do you convey that worry and panic and still get to the conclusion in 100 words or less? That is the challenge. I’d say it’s much harder to convey all that you want to convey in such a small word count. It certainly makes you choose your words very wisely.