This entry is about "flash" (or "sudden") fiction. What makes a great flash? How would you define this popular genre? I was talking to one of my Mad Hatter editor friends, Liesl Jobsen, who's writing a thesis about flash fiction. Let's see if we can help her out. Some of my favorite examples of excellent flash can be found in Mad Hatters' Review (see, eg., current issue stories by Antonios Maltezos, Ranbir Sidhu, Barbara Jacksha & Girijia Tropp). Then there's the flash by Raymond Carver (in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?) called "The Father." I've written lots of flashies. Here's the one published in Newtopia, to be republished on 2/1 in David Coyote's Den (http://www.dcoyote.com). I hope that you'll take a look at a longer flash (still under 1000 words) called "Demonica," published in the print mag Cellar Door, but very soon to be republished in online Big Bridge (http://bigbridge.org). Someone who recently read "Lady in Waiting" told me it made her cry.
Lady in Waiting
Then a very strange thing happens. The new attendant is reading the local paper one day and I happen to see something on page 27, and there’s the Arab’s picture; well it looks like her but they look alike, so I’m not sure. Anyways, she’s splattered on the ground, eyes open, and there’s the headline: “Widow with Six Children Jumps to Death.” And the article goes on to say how the woman had recently lost her job and she was suffering from depression, according to a neighbor, and how she and her husband came here for a better life, and other stuff like that. So I ask Maureen for the page and I check with the manager ‘cause I never knew the Arab’s name and it’s her. And I feel sorry, I really do, but you can never be too safe. All of us girls agree.
copyright Carol Novack 2004-2006.
So now --- here's my flash definition of 4 different types of effective flash fiction (not precluding overlaps):
A drop of acid rain on the brain, a belly laugh, an unexpected, deep caress, an electric shock to the heart.