Just got back from reading an interesting article about a somewhat “new” fiction fad: Hint Fiction. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Hint Fiction refers to any story of twenty-five words or less. Of course, in the article, the debate centers on whether or not these are actually “stories.” While I appreciate the article for bringing this up, I’d like to weigh in with my two cents, hoping to find some middle ground.
I think a distinction needs to be made between a narrative and a story. A narrative, as I define it, would require a traditional “beginning, middle, and end,” though not necessarily in that order. A story, however, seems to have at the heart a conflict, or tension. It is really that conflict, that tension, that carries a narrative. No one reads a story if there are no obstacles for someone to overcome.
With hint fiction, the story can exist without a traditional narrative. Hence, the term “hint” fiction. It merely hints at a beginning, middle, and end.
So then, why micro-fiction? Why flash? Why hint? What’s the point?
Some say that the ADD pandemic is calling for the short form. I disagree. I say poetry has been around for centuries. I like to think that the short form is highly demanding. The shorter the limits, the more the challenge. And, as always, when we face challenges successfully, it makes us better. What professional baseball player practices with a whiffle ball? If your goal is to tighten up your writing, to eliminate any useless words that drag your prose down, then challenge yourself.
There are those who dismiss the short form as meaningless and trivial. They think, because the work is short, that it is without merit. They want to champion what it is they read, what they write. And why shouldn’t they? That’s what they love. But it doesn’t mean a new, different form should be ridiculed. It’s a different discipline. Plain and simple.
You can find the article here: