NATIONAL STORYTELLING WEEK: FLASH FICTION

Gather round readers, for it’s National Storytelling Week. From the 27th January to the 3rd February, events promoting the tradition of storytelling are held in theaters, museums, schools and care homes across the UK. According to the The Society of Storytelling, ‘wherever the events take place, the web of stories will be spun with sufficient magic between the breath of the teller and the ear of the listener.’

In honour of National Storytelling Week, our Editorial Team experimented with flash fiction. As the name suggests, flash fiction is really, really short stories (restricted by word count) that still offer character development and plot. There’s a rise in restricted word count fiction, from the tiny ‘Twitterature,’ to micro-fiction at 100-300 words, to short story flash fiction at 1000 words.

Our writers were set a task: summarise the plot of an iconic story in 6 words. Retaining the essence of the tale was an interesting challenge, but our editors did an amazing job. Probably because they’re so skilled at translating emotions into short yet impactful greeting card editorial! You can read the summaries – and test your own knowledge – in the quiz below.

Creative Editor Angela Stone also shared her (fantastic) micro-fiction tale, ‘New Email’ – which she kindly let us feature on this blog. In just 100 words Angela raises questions about remembrance in our increasingly digital age. Although we’d love to read an extended version of this tale, we think it works perfectly as flash fiction. What do you reckon?

 


‘New Email’ by Angela Stone

Subject: A Request

Robert skims the email and three words stand out: Funeral, Poem, Tuesday.

He reads further. In her school days she had played the clarinet. She had enjoyed walking. She was a mother.

Three days to write a poem about a shadow.

Robert sits back. In the Victorian times, you’d be sent a letter edged in black for this kind of thing. The thought strikes him that one day, someone will be summoned by a flashing light on their phone. They will be sucked inside a digital world where a message awaits them, demanding attention. Subject: Robert North.

 


Quiz: 6 Word Story Summaries

Can you work out the iconic tale from its 6 word synopsis?

  1. Meet the parents gets pretty awkward.
  2. Fraud has parties – falls in love.
  3. When boys go bad (includes pigs).
  4. Kids murder each other. Few LOLs.
  5. Large man breaks things by accident.
  6. Miser changes ways following quadruple haunting.
  7. Cunning mouse envisages monster to survive.
  8. Escaped orphan rescued from enforced criminality.
  9. Woman doesn’t have affair. Dies anyway.
  10. Man plays flute and steals children.
  11. Poor boy eats chocolate, wins factory.
  12. Scottish addict steals money from friends.
  13. Everyone’s guilty. Still beats daily commute.
  14. Frodo and pals defeat evil Sauron
  15. Clock strikes thirteen, time for trouble.

 

Answers

  1. Romeo and Juliet
  2. The Great Gatsby
  3. Lord of the Flies
  4. The Hunger Games
  5. Of Mice and Men
  6. A Christmas Carol
  7. The Gruffalo
  8. Oliver Twist
  9. Othello
  10. Pied Piper of Hamelin
  11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  12. Trainspotting
  13. Murder on the Orient Express
  14. The Lord of the Rings
  15. 1984

 


Feel free to create your own flash fiction. You can choose any style: surreal, poetic, funny, or dark. It just needs to be fully formed with a beginning, a middle and an end.

Happy writing!


Image rights:
The Society for Storytelling