Flash fiction: the art of telling stories in few words

by | Aug 30, 2018 | Fiction, Flash fiction | 2 comments

While selling books at the 2018 Sonoma County Fair with other members of Redwood Writers, I offered to write a story from 30 to 60 words for book lovers who signed up for my newsletter. They picked the number of words, and if they wanted to, they selected two words for me to incorporate into the story. One of the terms used for tiny stories is flash fiction. People have differing opinions on what the maximum word count for flash fiction should be. The longest suggested length I’ve heard is 1,000 words.

I’m going to share some of the stories I like here. I think it’s excellent practice to do this kind of writing. Sometimes my flash fiction turns out to be intriguing, revealing, chilling or surprising; other times it doesn’t quite work.

From the Clouds

He’d run the nation into the ground but seemed unstoppable—until he choked on an almond cookie while entertaining a Chinese delegation. He grabbed his throat, pointed to his guests, and said they’d poisoned him. They were as surprised as anyone when, through a window, they saw almonds falling from the clouds.


The scene was cozy. Fire in pot-bellied stove, calico kittens romping on braided rug, chocolate chip cookies fresh from oven, hot chocolate with espresso in ruby-red mugs, a mother reading The Runaway Bunny to three unruly tots. I took it all in before turning off the power.

Come Home

The coffee-colored chihuahua was on the front porch. Waiting. Like he belonged there. Like he’d come home. She shooed him away, then went inside. He returned again and again. She rebuffed him every time. That was years ago. He waits inside now, on the couch.


She smelled almonds, her favorite scent. Curiosity piqued, she turned around. She wished she’d never met his penetrating blue eyes. He was a bad actor, out to slice her heart.

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  1. Mary

    Dee-lightful. It’s 4 a.m.

  2. Laura

    Thank you, Mary!

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