Tag: flash fiction

Exploring Length in Fiction

As I learn more about fiction, I’ve found the different types of fiction very interesting. Normally, the “types” of fiction refers to genres: whether a piece is literary fiction as opposed to romantic or sci-fi. However, I’m talking more about length in fiction. There are about four general lengths in fiction: flash fiction, short stories, novellas, and novels.



Flash Fiction

Flash fiction refers to short works that are, usually, under 1,000 words. This includes Dribbles, Drabbles, and six-word stories. Flash fiction is like a burst of juice on your tongue; something short and sweet. These short, short stories truly pack a punch, somewhere between a sour candy and an actual hit, when it comes to their emotional toll. Stories like The Visitor and A Story of Stolen Salamis, by Lydia Davis are steeped in memory and care. They make you smile in a wistful way as you think of your grandpa or something you hold dear. Jamaica Kincaid also packs a heavy hit with Girl, the story of a young Caribbean girl and the lessons her mother gives her. You think of social expectations, whether you’re on the good side or the bad side of what your mother wanted.


Image via Genius

Short Stories

Short stories are, almost always, significantly longer than Flash Fiction, spanning from 1,500 to 10,000 words. These stories are like short films in their ability to tell a full, detailed story in a short amount of time. There fun to read on the go; great for snacking. Bullet in the Brain by Tobias Wolff is just that. This compact little story, gives context to the death of a book editor and does a great job of giving you just enough. There’s just enough detail, just enough dialog, just enough of insight on the main character’s life. It’s a little bag of perfect.



Image via Goodreads


Novellas are usually around 15,000 to 60,000, even though the word count is not set in stone. Think of them as a dinner plate; it’s enough to fill you up without making you full. Novellas are satisfying in that way. They’re full of detail, all without dedicated pages to setting or description. John Steinbeck seems to be a good chef when it comes to novellas. He wrote Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, The Pearl, and Lifeboat, with the first being his most famous Novella. Of Mice and Men is the perfect example of what a novella could be. It presents a full, satisfying story that is, like a short story, easy to read wherever you are.

Image via Amazon


Novels are the most common form of fiction around, the full course meal of fiction. These stories can stretch from around 50/60,000 words onward, even though readers usually prefer novels that don’t pass 250,000 words. Everyone has their own favorite novel, but every good novel has one thing in common: it’s extremely engaging. Because a novel has to keep a reader’s attention over a longer coarse of time, it’s more important they are engaging from the beginning. Another thing about novels is that they give you the room to build an entire world. It is perfectly acceptable to spend a significant time on setting and world-building. Take the Harry Potter series for example; those books are long and spend a lot of time setting up the scenery. That works in a novel because it gives depth to the world and keeps the story interesting.



Now that you’ve gotten to see the full spread of what fiction has to offer, go out and read. Have a novella on the train; read a short story with breakfast; enjoy the variety of fiction because it is truly endless.


Feature Image via HGTV.


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Finest Twitter Flash Fiction to Lighten Up Your Feed

From puppy pics to political news, Twitter is a wonderful place. It’s also home of a wave of flash fiction writers. Here are a few to follow to add some fiction to your feed, even when you don’t have time for short stories.


1. T. R. Darling


Image via Twitter


The absolute best Twitter flash fiction has to offer. Fantasy, mystery, and magical realism combined and intertwined in full stories under two-hundred-eighty words, with a philosophical bend that’ll make you contemplate the combination of genres.

Soon to be a book even.



2. Mythology Bot


Image via Twitter


This little bot may not know much, but it certainly has bizarre and whimsical grasp of mythological elements. At the risk of feeling like you’ve thrown a bunch of fantasy books in a blender, follow this bot for some strangeness on your feed.


3.The Ghost of M.


Image via Twitter


Ominous and dare I say emo, this twitter provides story snippets of only a few lines. If you like horror or even just vague unease, follow for these tiny ghost stories.



4. Ritter Coldriss 


Image via Twitter


For moody magical realism, look no further. Brief character sketches build strange and unlikely worlds, sci-fi flare, and elegant prose that are sure to have you excited for these stories on your feed.


5. King Talib


Image via Twitter

Here, moody landscapes combine with strange stories, told one line at a time in a threaded feed. Moody and atmospheric, these stories will leave you questioning their reality and even your own.




Featured image via iStock 


Private Investigator

Flash Fiction Friday: ‘Sleepless’ by Hilary Schuhmacher

It probably won’t surprise you to find out that I have my Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. One of my favorite exercises during undergrad was Flash Fiction Fridays. At the beginning of each Friday’s class we would have twenty minutes to knock something out. 500 words or less was the only condition, otherwise we were free to explore any topic we desired.


I thought that might be fun to bring to Bookstr. So without further ado, here’s a flash fiction short story that I’m particularly happy with.



By Hilary Schuhmacher


I’m lying in bed, resisting sleep, distracting myself with thoughts of thunder and conversations between frogs and how the waves on the beach sound when it’s a bit too windy. This sort of calming, soothing, soft and slow. I’ve been doing it since I was old enough to remember, around the time my mom stopped putting me to bed. She taught me her secret, her secret to stop the world from spinning so she could finally catch a breath.


I’m conducting my own coastline symphony and it’s ninety-two degrees even though the sun’s been down for four hours. It’s Death Valley in early November and I’ve been running my air conditioning on Arctic Blizzard for three days straight just so I can keep myself swaddled in the down comforter she kept locked in that trunk so moths wouldn’t eat the already worn-thin fabric into Swiss cheese.


It’s the heat. The heat is making me crazy. And no amount of nighttime soothing sound effects are going to make a difference, but I’ll do it anyway because this blanket and that advice are the last two things I have left of my mother’s.


As I finally close my eyes and drift to sleep, everything stops. For the first time in a long time, I’m completely and totally calm. I’m fine. I’m unconscious, and everything’s fine. The air conditioning stops blowing and my brain stops searching for a reason why my mother disappeared and the raccoons outside stop banging on trashcans, frozen, hovering over day old bread crusts and half eaten strawberry yogurts.


Parked outside my house in a beat to shit 1986 Toyota Corolla, a private investigator points his camera down the street. He’s been there for an hour and so far he’s flossed twice, named the raccoons he’s watched dig through my garbage with their little human hands, and eaten most of his snacks. The moment the raccoons stop moving, the moment time stops at my house, he doesn’t notice. He’s singing along to the radio and doesn’t notice the pigeon on the hood of his car has paused mid liftoff. He’s wiping off his camera lens and doesn’t see the mosquito frozen in the air inches away from his nose. Once he does, it’s too late. When time stops, it runs extra quick to catch up.


The mosquito shoots up his right nostril. The pigeon might as well be a hummingbird, wings so quick you can only see torso. Raccoons tumble over each other in a blur. The moon sets and the sun rises and suddenly it’s nine in the morning and I’ve walked up to that beat to shit car and that man looks up at me like he’s seeing the second coming of Jesus and I’m it.


He snaps a photo and judging by the size of his lens he has a fantastic close up of my incisors and not much else. His tires spin as he hightails it down the street, past the couple he was surveilling. All three now wearing that same dumb shocked look on their faces as he speeds away, turning and looking for someone, anyone following him.


No one’s following him. No one cares. No one cares because it’s too god damn hot to give a shit.


Featured Image via Discreet Investigations.