Why some of the best fictions of 2019 are 1,000 words or less
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I have written about my love short forms in the past, both with short stories and chapbooks. But there is an even smaller shape than these, bite-sized and delicious. With social media, the flash can be broadcast more abundantly, shared like pieces of mysterious candy with whispers of “Have you tried this?” “And” Taste this, it’s Divine! ”There is nothing nicer than stumbling upon a new piece of flash fiction with“ Wow! ”And“ Shit, that piece! ”In the comments and then having that story explode my volcano of love for the short-short form.
Let’s be clear: just because it’s short doesn’t mean it’s easy. Flash fiction, to be well done, must contain a whole story, with exquisite depth, in as few words as possible. In 2019, I read flashes that bend genres and reflect the zeitgeist. All in less than 1000 words. Sometimes in less than 500 words. Flash writing is an unattached spacewalk. He swims among sharks with blood on his hands. It’s risky as hell. Flash writers are free solo climbers, drag racers, and fictional paratroopers. Here are some examples:
Let’s start with a piece of flash released in early 2019. Paper Darts is an amazing magazine that combines his writings with illustrations, creating a chemical reaction of impressive art. In January, Paper Darts published “Baba Yaga’s Delaware YouthBy Katie Depasquale, and it’s a triumph. Depasquale mixes the fantastic with the total humanity of a hangover and telltale signs of grief. Here is an excerpt, practically imbued with artisanal magic:
“They’re whispering down the line, old-fashioned phone game, as I wonder if you left before or after the feet appeared.” Did you slip on one of those weird legs to make your way to your usual lonely breakfast, or did you just walk down the two rotten porch steps? Do you know what you left me?
That last question in this paragraph sounds like an anvil, right ?! There is a rhythm to the questions that I love; I like rhythmic writing, especially in flash fiction. There’s more, and it’s ready for you on the Paper Darts website. Jeremy Anderson’s paired artwork is * The Chef’s Kiss *.
Ok donkey is one year old! He published some flashes lit while starting his press with the publication of the book by Cathy Ulrich Ghosts of you, a complete collection of flash fiction from his Murdered Ladies series. This book has been on my TBR for Ok donkey First announced it, and I can’t wait to pick up a copy.
But I digress. My favorite flash of Ok donkey this year is “A huge head, uncomfortableBy Nell Ovitt, which was published in May. This was Ovitt’s first published story, and it’s a doozy. Let’s start with the beginning :
“The blue light on the bedside table woke me up again. Like a hole that I have filled keeps emptying. Eagle and the liver guy, it’s me. I don’t remember his name, but I understand him very well.
The voice in this room is loud and clear. You might think you know what the play will be about, but Ovitt uses his talent to shake your mind and emotion. It’s biting and sad. It is relevant. I shared this article, I reveled and raved about it, and I think you should too.
I have a penchant for SmokeLong for a multitude of reasons. It is one of the first flash fiction journals that I followed. I also had the great honor of having them publish one of my own flash fiction stories, for which I am extremely grateful.
In addition to my overflowing love, SmokeLong has published and continues to publish outstanding flash fiction. Amber Sparks, who has an upcoming collection titled I do not forgive you: stories and other revenges (it’s already the best title of 2020. I said it.), is one of the writers who inspired me to write flash fiction in the first place. She has published several articles in SmokeLong Quarterly it should be part of everyone’s TBR. Read Amber Sparks for both enjoyment and study. His flash “Everything is terrible but you should read this story”Is a balm for my soul. Released in September, it’s a beacon of history in 2019 that we should hold onto too, and it’s a testament to the power of history as a whole. I think the first two lines of the story say enough, and please select the link to read:
It is a story born out of a need. This is the story you need right now.
Sparks has a style that welcomes you in their stories. She warmly takes you by the hand and takes you to the heart of the story. Sometimes it’s a scary place, like in the Sparks Horror Flash “Noises from neighbors upstairs: a night newspaper“And sometimes it’s a fire that you didn’t know you needed in your heart.
RADIOGRAPHY also had a fantastic year posting a great flash, and also released a special horror issue titled Boneyard, which was edited by the extremely talented Megan Pillow and Joaquin Fernandez. Boneyard has a delicious range of spooky reads so if you are looking for a horror flash I highly recommend it take a dip. I recommend Keef’s “A Specter Lurks at the Putt-Putt on Riverside”.
Let’s end with a story with a mean structure, because I love to use and read the structure in flash. I had my nose on the computer screen because I was so immersed in the language and the world. I knew I had to list it. “Notre-Dame enters the city [in Three Attempts]” by Sarah Arantza Amador builds a world and distinctive images in less than 750 words.
“At the bottom of the catwalk came the parade of the king’s disheveled men, the king’s bags of raw gold powder, the king’s parrots and anemic pink flamingos, the head of a dried royal palm and selected varieties of nightshade. in moldy hemp sacks. And, finally, she: gift of the Holy Ghost, she came down the catwalk, in chains, more precious than the contents of any war chest.
Damn, it’s alive. Read this paragraph aloud and tell me it doesn’t taste good on your tongue. The whole damn room is that good. The momentum does not stop. This whole story is built on one moment (that is, the three attempts) and it grows and grows. As readers, we skip lush details of a “corroded chain” and “withered royal palm” at the end that begins with “They say …” and includes “They say the city soldiers cried as they lowered the big chain. They put their hands over their faces and washed their foreheads with their tears at the sight of him. “He is tremendously successful at playing with so many devices in a limited space. Ugh. I can’t even get it. not with this coin.
Since I have now gone * checking the word count * over 1000+ words to profess my love my flash fiction, it is probably appropriate that I finish. My hope is that the above recommendations act as a starting point and that you can fall down the rabbit hole by clicking on other flash pieces, other issues, and other literary magazines. Hope you have an idea of what Flash can do in the hands of such inspiring writers. Hope you share these stories, any other story that resonates with you. Support flash fiction magazines and authors. It is a form that deserves to be constantly digested, shared, and held in the bright light to be admired.