It’s all about the ending. Novels get quoted by their first lines; in flash fiction, it’s the last line that goes down in history. It carries the punch, like a bee sting.
With a flash fiction story, you don’t begin in medias res–you begin at the final scene. You leave just enough time for the reader to latch on to your opening, and then you are off. You don’t explain (you haven’t time) but you leave clues, and every detail is smoking-gun important.
The tone can be intense with foreboding or calm with post-catastrophic hindsight. Like an instant replay done in slow motion, the narrator rewinds us through the crucial scene, the climactic event, carefully re-examined because it decides the game.
The goal of flash fiction is to spin the reader around in a complete circle of transformation leaving us dizzy, or upside down. We look again at the title and it reads differently, its secret exposed. We are left to gasp into our coffee mugs, unsettled, and changed.
Last chance to enter our Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest is Friday August 15th!