Flash fiction is short, short story — a tale told in just a few words. For example: “If Christ has not been raised, our faith is futile.”
“For Sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”
That’s one of the shortest stories ever written.
It’s an example of something known as “flash fiction.” That particular example — all of six words in length — has been attributed to Ernest Hemingway, although scholars are doubtful. The legend is that he wrote it in order to win a bet.
Whether the six-word story came from the pen of Hemingway or someone else, its back-story is engrossing.
The thing about flash fiction is that it draws you in. It does so not by what it says, but by what it doesn’t say. Our six-word example is a very compact mystery novel. To whom do the baby shoes belong? Why are they for sale? And how did it happen that they were unused? Was it because of some sort of falling-out between the person who purchased the shoes and the baby’s mother? Or was the mother so desperate for money she had to sell them? Or, did something terrible happen to the baby?
The story, like a ...
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