We all have those moments when there’s nothing to do but wait. Whether it’s in the line at the grocery store, your for doctor’s appointment (which can sometimes take longer than it should), or when you’re commuting to and from work. The go-to time-filler in these situations is social media, the latest meme review, or even catching up with the work emails.
But there are those times we have nothing else to resort to. When we caught up with all those latest posts on Instagram and Facebook or, to our surprise, ran out of YouTube videos to watch. In situations like that, we stand hopeless, wanting something more to fill in the time. Along comes little fiction stories for you to read and fill that time: they’re called Flash Fiction.
Flash Fiction are short stories, very short stories. They vary in size, most ranging between 500 to 1,000 words, others, even shorter, may have less than 500 words (some with as little as 150 words). Those super tiny stories are also called Microfiction or Drabble. Flash Fiction is an awesome filler for those boring few minutes of waiting that seem to drag when you have nothing to do.
Here’s a good analogy. Think of novels as TV series, in which every chapter of the book is comparable to an episode of the show. Using the same analogy, Flash Fiction is like a YouTube video, the short ones you watch while on the train on the way to work. They’re small doses of fun, tension, suspense, drama, and adventure that will take you no more than 10 minutes to read—about the average of a short YouTube video (meme review again?). In the case of Microfiction stories, you can crunch it down to about 1 minute.
Give social media platforms a pause and giving Flash Fiction a try. Who knows, you might get hooked. To get you started I prepared a list that you can read them by clicking the links below and opening them on your phone, tablet, or your computer browser.
If you like to read a clean formatted text, without the clutter that some website pages have, try out saving the stories in a read-it-later app—AKA bookmarking app. The ones I recommend, available on both Android and iOS, as well as on Kindle and Kobo, are Pocket and Instapaper. Those apps pull the contents of the article (text and images) and format them to your liking. You can also organize the content with tags, categories, etc. Both apps are free with options to go premium for extra features. Just keep in mind that some pages may not allow the apps to pull the contents, so the re-formatting may not work for all pages you save on them.
Now let’s dive into those stories and make that time you thought you were wasting more productive and fun. Here are 15 Flash Fiction stories to get you going, from the shortest stories (around 130 words) to the longest ones (around 1,160 words):
- “Give It Up”, by Franz Kafka: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/give-it-up
- “Baby Dolls” by Becky Robinson: https://pankmagazine.com/piece/baby-dolls
- “Spring Fever Dreams”, by Suzanne Vincent: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/spring-fever-dreams
- “Sticks”, by George Saunders: http://www.unm.edu/~gmartin/535/Sticks.htm
- “The Uprooted”, by Cristina Peri Rossi: http://canontranslationreview.com/2011/01/26/rootless
- “A Plea for a Haunting”, by Ray Yanek: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/a-plea-for-a-haunting
- “War of the Clowns”, by Mia Couto: http://www.massreview.org/sites/default/files/Couto%2C%20Mia.pdf
- “John Redding Goes to Sea”, by Zora Neale Hurston: https://www.narrativemagazine.com/issues/stories-week-2016-2017/story-week/john-redding-goes-sea-zora-neale-hurston
- “Possession(s)”, by John Smolens: https://pankmagazine.com/piece/possessions
- “Circle, Circle, Circle, Slash”, by Jason A. Zwiker: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/circle-circle-circle-slash
- “Pianissimo”, by Chelsea Hanna Cohen: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/pianissimo
- “Last Long Night”, by Lina Rather: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/last-long-night
- “The Comedian”, by Yoko Morgenstern: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/the-comedian
- “Three is a Rational Number”, by Michele Finn Johnson: http://www.hobartpulp.com/web_features/three-is-a-rational-number
- “Riddle”, by Ogbewe Amadin: https://firesidefiction.com/riddle
If you crunched that list down quick, great! But now you’re hungry for more. Fear not! I knew you’d be finishing that list in no time, so I came prepared. Here are five more sources for Flash Fiction, some of them have tons of stories:
- Flash Fiction – A series of very short stories for the summer (The New Yorker): https://www.newyorker.com/books/flash-fiction
- Stories (100 Word Story): http://www.100wordstory.org
- Issue Sixty-Two (Smokelong Quarterly): http://www.smokelong.com/archives/quarterly/issue-sixty-two
- Flash Fiction Magazine – Daily Flash Fiction Stories (Flash Fiction Magazine): https://flashfictionmagazine.com
- Featured Stories (Nano Fiction):http://nanofiction.org/category/weekly-feature/featured-story
So, no more excuses when you’re waiting and time seems to be passing slow. Read yourself some Flash, immerse yourself in those stories and speed up time! You’ll thank me later. Good reading.