In my last post I wrote about the written form shortening in media and the rise of micro-blogging. But this condensation can also be seen in literature, with the development of micro-fiction, also known as short short stories or flash fiction. There are endless arguments as to what classifies a piece of writing as micro-fiction, but the most widely accepted is that of a piece of less than 1,000 words. Short short stories are popular as they provide more intense flashes of a scene, emotion, event or whatever the writer wants to portray. They are open to a lot more interpretation as not everything can be fully written out and explained making them layered with meaning and more challenging to understand as a reader.

Micro-fiction has been taken to the extreme with stories made up of just six words. Ernest Hemmingway famously wrote one, calling it his best work:

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn”

Long story short, (see what I did there) short short stories have been around since Aesop’s fables, so the condensation of literature is not such a recent trend. However the internet has brought new life into this with the increased demand on concise and compact writing bringing it back into the modern era. There is also more opportunity to be paid for this form of writing now than ever before. Even twitter is getting involved with the development of “Tweet the Meat” a weekly submission of “horror/weird/speculative” writing, often with a weekly theme. The only limitation being that each story has the restriction of 140 characters.

So why not pick up a pen and join in? It won’t take long to write.