When a story teller only has 100 words to work with, they need to be tight with the words. But they also need to latch onto other aspects of story telling like a vice.
These tales are at their best when the mood of the story is focused. Whether it is happiness, love, fear, loathing, spite or anger, it does not matter. What matters is which emotion matters the most in the story.
Then you need to tackle the part where that emotion is expressed, displayed and examined. Will the anger come as rage, a blood curdling thrusting, or will it come across as a calm, deliberate expression that is as simple a pushing the victim in front of a bus and walking away?
Then there is the climax.
When confronted with a tight limit, the climax can be anywhere. Begin with the monster attacking only to resolve the attack in ways that keep the reader wondering how, or why it ended that way.
Or maybe spring it into the middle so unexpectedly that the reader has to read the sentence again to make sure their brain read it correctly.
And the end of a tale, the twist, the unfinished business with several possible solutions. Making the reader wanting more and encouraging them to contact the author with a stern message of “What the hell happened?”
And you do not have time to start the story in the beginning.
There simply is no time for beginnings. Start the story in the middle or at the end and give the immediate lead up.
The idea of flash fiction is to make an impact. Know which emotion matters the most and ignite it quickly and with conviction. Do not hold back, hit it hard and fast.
Bear in mind that flash fiction is not poetry.
It is a story told as a story, with the brisk qualities of poetry. The story matters. The character matters. There is a plot.
While I am open to exploring flash fiction, especially 100 word stories, as being able to be a descriptive piece, where the emotion is explored and described rather than a story exploring the emotion, for the most part the goal is to tell a story.
Should you be able to wrap up an entire story that contains these elements, you will have written a gem. If you need to know what a gem looks like, read as many flash fiction stories as possible. Get a feel for the style, take notice of how the stories begin and end, how a twist is added, which emotion is focused on and how that emotion is delivered.
Flash fiction, becoming more defined as stories under 1000 words, is adaptable. You can provide the reader with a scene, much like in a movie. It can explore tiny aspects of any topic in detail, depth and intellect without dragging reader into a long drawn out masterpiece. Flash fiction is not comparative to longer works, it is a style in itself that can do many things that longer works can not do. Novels show the entire ice burg, unhidden and exposed of the surrounding water. Flash fiction is the same ice burg in water, 95% of its bulk hidden. Making the reader feel the depth without telling it.
And that is good, it is another tool for story telling, another skill the writer can bring to their longer works.