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Flash Fiction–Short Short Story or Prose Poem?

January 8, 2015

michaelalexanderchaney

1 Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 10.38.27 AM  I am still getting used to flash. Not merely as a genre, but as a concept. It takes some getting used to. Just listen to the name. Flash. Whoosh. Pow. Any artform that sounds like an audiographic ejaculate from a superheroic comic — well, that would make anyone nervous.

When mining the interior of a concept, one can work hands-on from the perspective of a practitioner or with idea from the perspective of a philosopher who keeps his intellectual distance. I have approached flash’s friction warmly, doggedly, and from both vantages.

There are clearly two schools. One derives from Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour.” It wants flash to be just like other great short fiction, only shorter. It wants character, story, tension, plot, development–the whole enchilada–but it wants it in an economical, Totino’s (gross!) bite-sized delivery system of one thousand words or less.

The second school has a…

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