The difference between Short Stories and Flash Fiction

Many people have heard of short stories, but less have heard of, or tried to write flash fiction. We’re here to tell you the difference and inspire you to give both a go!

Short Story

A short story is exactly what it says on the tin – a whole story created and written in a much smaller word count compared to a novel or novella. Many short stories can be read in just one sitting, and while have characters and a plot like other, longer narratives, these tend to be less developed and elaborate to accommodate the short word count. It normally deals with just one theme, mood or issue through the story, and will usually have one singular plot, instead of the intricate subplots in many novels. Of course, you can have as many characters as you want, however this might confuse readers and be difficult to fit in. Writer’s Digest suggests short stories are between 1500 and 30,000 words.

Flash Fiction

So, if short stories start at 1500 words, what is a flash fiction? A flash fiction is a story of less than 1000 words. A pocket-sized burst of creativity to get the mind whirring and plunge the reader into a concise narrative. This is difficult, of course, but a fun and unique way to collect ideas and challenge your writing ability. Whilst 1000 words is the max, there’s no limit on how short your story can be. Ernest Hemmingway proved this with his six-word story: ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’. If you fancy giving flash fiction a go, why not consider setting the challenge of a story within the 280 character limit on Twitter? @MicroFlashFic is a twitter page dedicated to sharing some amazing flash fiction to inspire you. 

The key difference between the short story and a flash fiction is that flash fictions are significantly shorter than short stories, and both require different skills in order to craft a concise narrative given both word counts. They are both a fun, creative challenge and great way to shake up your current writing style, or inspire and motivate you to develop your writing skills.

We would love to publish any short stories or flash fiction you write. Send your writing to us at:

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