No, this post is not about Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. It is about the passage of time in the flash fiction short story.
Time slows down in the best flash fiction stories. That’s because the writer wants to capture those few moments when something significant is about to happen, is happening or has just happened.
The “happening” is the significant event of the story, and without it the story has no reason for being.
And the significant event should be played out in “minutes.” Not hours. Not days and certainly not weeks, but in minutes.
Sure, there are always exceptions to every rule; but the more time your story tries to cover, the more it will read like an essay.
A time frame of minutes is usually the best way to present your story. Oh, you can divide your story let’s say into one or two blocks of minutes, but minutes are the best. If your story is, let’s say, 1,500 words long (and it covers several hours or days) it could probably support three or four blocks of minutes. If it’s 600 words long, one or two blocks will probably be enough.
If you divide your 200-word story into more than two blocks of minutes, the story will probably start to fragment. You want the story to feel like a whole.
(The Old Soldier hopes he’s not confusing you. We will cover time in the flash fiction story again.)
Keep reading and keep writing that flash fiction.
The Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette is an online magazine of serious writing and brazen sexuality.
- How To Think Like A Flash Fiction Writer (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)
- Greta Garbo, Dialogue And The Flash Fiction Story (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)