Bacopa Literary Review 2017 submissions included "flash story," a genre we'll continue in our 2018 edition. "Flash" can include creative nonfiction, memoir, fiction or a combination of these genres in 750 words or less, including micro-flash which might consist of 250 words or even fewer.
The criteria I look for in a flash story submission include these:
- Creative nonfiction, memoir, fiction, or a combination of these genres
- Tiny plot or character driven
- Compression: almost every word counts or carries meaning
- A minimum of adverbs
- Focus on one scene or event
- A minimum of dialogue
- A great title
- Consistency of tense and point of view
- Fresh expressions without the use of cliches
- Riveting language or language that moves the reader
- Story structure: a purpose, a beginning, middle and end with conflict, conflict, conflict and resolution.
The first grain of sand to go slipped unnoticed into muddy seawater and high tide washed a small chunk from the base of Ponce de Leon's statue. Three teenage boys waded to the town plaza, climbed to the top of Ponce's helmeted head and practiced kissing his cold lips, slapping his face when Ponce didn't kiss back, and hanging upside down from the old head that bowed in shame at the youthful play. Perhaps Ponce felt jealous of young muscles and flexible limbs, or of the strength to climb statues and throw popcorn and peanuts from his slumped unyoung shoulders. He never did find the fountain, and with the Atlantic tide rising, rising, rising, his steel boots sucked down further, awash in brine. The boys knew, and Ponce knew, he was going under. Each evening the boys chopped off a finger, a thumb, a toe and the middle finger of the right hand became a tool to gouge out an eye, graffiti the shiny armor with she loves me, she loves me not, and scratch mud daubers and wasps from Ponce's ears. They removed one earlobe with the sawing up and down, down and up motion of a hacksaw, laughing at the crumbling little man as he lost one appendage at a time. The boys removed the mighty sword from the gallant gentleman and topped his head with the blade in a decapitation celebration, the step-by-step ritual of taking a great warrior down. Water washed over Ponce's knees while grains of stone fell away from the foundation in greater and greater chunks until Ponce leaned upside down, headless shoulders standing in water. One night, the boys stretched out drunk, across the rubble, across the broken fingers and toes, across the scraps of Ponce's heroic eyes, those eyes that once upon a time surveyed the fertile flowering of La Florida where surely his immortality lay.
The water rose and rose and rose during the hurricane of 2019, a category six travesty, off the grid, never before witnessed, never before seen by the boys who drowned that night, never before seen by the city of Saint Augustine that drowned that night, never before seen by Ponce de Leon, whose hopes for a bright future drowned in rising seas.
*The Gainesville Sun, Florida, May 10, 2015: "Sea rise threatens Florida coast but no statewide plan"
See also: "How Can a Mother?"
- Micro Fiction: An Anthology of Fifty Really Short Stories, edited by Jerome Stern. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Co., 1996. Print.
- The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field. Masih, Tara L. Brookline, MA: Rose Metal, 2009. Print.
- The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers. Moore, Dinty W. Brookline, MA: Rose Metal, 2012. Print.
- As this form can flash short and with impact, I refer readers to "Six One-Sentence Stories" by Bruce Holland Rogers.