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Three Extremely Short Flash Fiction Stories by cam

Updated on June 5, 2016
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Chris has written more than 100 flash fiction/short stories.Working Vacation took 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

About Very, Very Short...............Stories

Author's Note

Many flash fiction writers find it both amusing and challenging to write the shortest story they can manage while still having all the elements of a story. Of course a lot of information has to be implied by the writer and inferred by the reader, but the basics should be present in the story.

Here are two older stories of mine and one new one. I hope you enjoy them and I look forward to your feedback, especially on the one called Disparity, which is my newest story.

Whiskey Bottle Blues

Source

Whiskey Bottle Blues-56 Words

Bruce slept in the driver’s seat with a whiskey bottle between his knees as Tina stared at him, then at the school of fish outside her window. She lay her head back and closed her eyes, thinking about how they would laugh at this dream later, even as the first drop of water struck her forehead.

Just a Little Rock

Source

Just a Little Rock-30 Words

The couple talked on the pier until sunset. He opened a small box followed by a kerplunk.

“What was that?”

“Just a little rock,” he said as he dove in.

Elements of a Story

How is such a short story written? Editing is the key. I find it helpful to write the first draft as fully as I want and then begin taking out adverbs, unnecessary adjectives and any other superfluous words I can find. Whole sentences soon fall prey to the delete button.

This exercise teaches me to pay attention to what I'm writing, what words I'm using, how I'm describing action. I can then carry this over to all my writing, making everything much more streamlined.

Go back up and look at my stories. Can you see anyplace I could make changes so that they would be shorter, yet still tell the story? Let me know, I'd love to edit some more.


Disparity-28 Words

Joe looked into the eyes in the mirror.

“I’m not wearing glasses!” Alarm in the other’s eyes revealed he had also seen the disparity.

Each turned and fled.

The Challenge

You give it a try now. See how short a story you can write, yet still tell a whole story. What are the elements to a complete story? Lists of story elements generally contain the following points.

  • Characters
  • Setting/place
  • Conflict, including resolution
  • Plot or unfolding events

If you try this, I'd love to see what you've done. Please leave me a comment with the title of your hub and I will link to it from here. It is difficult on HubPages, because if a hub is too short, it gets a warning. I've resolved the problem in this hub by doing some instructing about the process of writing short flash fiction. Use your imagination and get a hub with enough content to get by the hub police.


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    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 20 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Cam - Do the really short ones start in the middle and are some like riddles? The one with the glasses is difficult to figure out. I guess I have never read this kind of fiction, so the concept is new. They are very interesting, and I like the story about the submerging car. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Audrey

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 22 months ago from Cape Cod

      Hello Chris. I just challenged myself to write 3 stories of 100 words each and one of them had to be true. Poking around after uploading the stories I found this excellent hub. I am not very savy about computers like John is so I don't know how to put a link in here to my stories but my name is Bill Russo and the title of my flashes is "In a land where you cannot flip a coin." I would love to hear what you think.

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      You are most welcome.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Julie, I'm glad you liked this very short story. Thanks for visiting my hub.

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      "Just A Little Rock" is fantastic. Well done. I love the brevity and punch in this story.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      wingedcentaur, thanks for reading these short flash fiction stories and for the votes. Twilight Zone was what I was aiming for in the third story. Glad it came across that way.

    • wingedcentaur profile image

      William Thomas 2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Nice job, Cam! I voted this overall hub 'up,' 'useful,' as in instructive, and 'awesome.'

      I especially like the Disparity story. That story is some Twilight Zone stuff, for real!

      Take it easy. :)

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Deb, Yes, the first two have been around for a while. The last one is new and still needs some work. Thanks for reading.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I remember some of your shorts. Those are all quite good.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      amazing short stories with interesting facts to learn. Voted up

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Chris Mills, I have done my attempt at it and published it at 12 midnight as per my IST time. The link is here https://hubpages.com/literature/Three-Small-Flash-...

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Venkatachari M, nice to see you here today. Im glad you enjoyed my stories. Why don't you give these short fiction stories a try?

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Awesome challenge. So tiny flash fiction stories with full meaning. It's exciting to read them and know about flash fiction. Thanks for sharing it. Voted up and awesome.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ann, I already read your stories and left a comment. Thanks for taking part.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Hi Chris! I've had a go at this. Mine is entitled 'XXS Fiction.....'

      Thanks for the challenge.

      Ann

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Mary, a lot of editing is involved here. It really is a worthy exercise to see how many words we typically use that are unnecessary. It's also a lot of fun. I still encourage you to give it a try. I'm thinking about moving this challenge to the forums. The stories would be short enough to be posted there, read and commented on. Watch for it and maybe you will change your mind. Thanks for reading and for your comments.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Amazing! I can't believe how short and sweet these stories are. They make their point so easily.

      I love writing exercises but I'm not so sure I'm up to this challenge. A lot of talent is involved here and you have it!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Randy, I'm in Fox Chase/Burholme area, NE Philly.

    • Randy Horizon profile image

      Randy Hirneisen 2 years ago from Philadelphia

      Yes Chris we should get together before you leave. I live in Willow Grove and work in Warrington. Not sure where you live, but it takes me about a half hour to drive to center city, in good traffic. Not far at all. I'll send you an email. I started on a flash fiction last night, but can still make it shorter, as soon as I have some time to write again. Heading to work in a few minutes. I'll pop you an email later.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      John, I read your stories and left a comment. This is a lot of fun, and you did very well. I'm going to rewrite Disparity again, not so much to make it shorter as to make it read better. It might even gain a word or two in the process. Thanks for taking up the challenge.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Chris, I love these stories. I thought I had commented previously but obviously not. I had read "Just a Little Rock" previously. "Disparity" is good too. Anyway I have taken up your challenge. Here's my response: https://hubpages.com/literature/Small-Stories-Four...

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Randy, That photo was one I got off Wikimedia Commons. It was as close as I could get to what the story called for. Sorry that threw you. Definitely give ff a shot. By the way. If I understand your location, we are only about seven miles or so apart. We should definitely get together before I leave at the end of May.

    • Randy Horizon profile image

      Randy Hirneisen 2 years ago from Philadelphia

      Well done Chris, these are really short. The picture in Disparity threw me a bit because there are 3 images in the mirror and the way you did their faces is great. I liked the Whiskey Bottle Blues best. But Disparity made me think the most. You have a great imagination. Some day I may try my hand at flash fiction? If I do I'll ask your opinion.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ann, Disparity is definitely short on information. Both characters had their own worlds in which they lived. Either one could have been wearing the glasses and the other not. It was the fact that each thought the other was a lifeless reflection, that was the central point. Imagine looking in the mirror and seeing a neck tattoo that you don't have, or seeing different colored eyes or a movement you didn't make. It can get a bit creepy if I dwell on it too much. Thanks for reading.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ruby, Just for fun is one of the few reasons for writing stories this short. The other reasons are to teach ourselves to write tighter, more streamlined stories of any length. It teaches us how to edit mercilessly. That's why I do it. Thanks for reading.

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Eric,Maybe not a critic, but you are a great encourager. Thanks for reading once again.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Shauna, stories as short as these and the ones you attempted are nearly impractical as stories. I personally write them for the challenge and for what the process teaches me. I'm not so sure there is a future in writing twenty or thirty word stories. But I would encourage people to use it as a way of sharpening their skills. Thanks for reading.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I love all of these because they make you think, work it out, then go back to see if you've got it right or if any other interpretations can be made. Great!

      Disparity - this one, I thought that the disparity could be that the mirror person thought one of two things: 'I'm wearing glasses!' or 'I'm not wearing glasses!' I presume it would be the former. It kind of tied my mind in knots because the title infers that it could be either. (The photo confused with more than one person - but that is a disparity too!)

      Well edited because there is much info in each, in so few words.

      This is fun. I've seen such things before of course but I've never tried them. I'll see what I can do in between awaiting arrival of daughter's baby and helping out with the other two!

      Ann

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I liked the whiskey bottle blues better. I prefer short stories over flash fiction, although I do like a surprise twist at the end. I may try this just for fun....

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I ain't much of a critic. I just enjoyed all three. And I liked the information about short stories, I think it will help me appreciate them more.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      My favorite of the three is Whiskey Bottle Blues. I find it very difficult to write short, short stories. I sent a couple of entries in to Readers Digest, which asks for 100 words or less. I had a very hard time whittling them down. They also weren't accepted. :-(

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Frank, that's how I feel. It really is the most complete of the three. Thanks for reading the stories.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      this is interesting concept the woman in the car as a passenger that short story spoke more volumes than the others... so that one was anchored as a perfect example..yes?

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      pstraubie, I'm with you. These are fun to read and write for fun, but for pleasure, reading longer stories is very nice. Give it a try sometime, though. It's fun seeing where and how much things can be cut out.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      RQ, if nothing else, this is a good exercise for writing of all kinds. But you are right, applied to flash fiction, the stories become much more powerful. Thanks for reading.

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 2 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      An interesting read Chris. You've stripped these right down to the bone. I've heard that brevity is the soul of wit; if applied to flash fiction, it might provide an explosive combo.

      Best Wishes;

      R.Q.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Well they are short, sweet and to the point. A novel idea for those who wish to venture there...

      Maybe one day I shall.

      But really I like to read a story that goes on a bit longer D

      Thanks for sharing..quite clever

      Angels are on the way this evening ps

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