Writing flash fiction

A lot of what is called “sudden” or “flash fiction” relies on the Ernest Hemmingway idea of the “tip of the iceberg”; the author should only report what is happening without adding the reasons or background to the events depicted. A flash fiction supposedly written by Hemmingway is: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Today with the ever-growing influence of the web-based social networking sites such as “Twitter” the way we are communication with each other is changing.

Shortened messages issued “on the fly” are becoming the norm and although some may abhor this development the move seems unstoppable and may even offer opportunities to those who are able to keep their writing short.

Perhaps the shortest story ever written (and perhaps the longest palindrome which makes sense) is:

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.

First published by Leigh Mercer in the 1948 the sentence is witty and has a progression which tells the story of the Panama canal in the barest of bones.

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