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Flash Fiction: In 55 Words

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Richard is a freelance writer and blogger who enjoys all forms of entertainment, including movies, music, and television.

55-word-flash-fiction

My 55 Word Flash Fiction

55 word flash fiction was introduced to me on the now-defunct website, Extreme Writing Now, headed by my friend Alex Crabtree.

So, what is 55 word flash fiction? The writing of short stories has become very popular over recent years and flash fiction is a big part of this genre. Usually, it is composed of writing which has a 750 word count, developing a story within the confines of this limit. Now, imagine writing a story or a piece of fiction with a beginning, middle and end in just 55 words. It can be daunting.

Daunting though it may be, this style of writing does focus your thoughts and your creativity. Below are five recent examples (or attempts, at least) of my own 55 word flash fiction which were previously published at Extreme Writing Now.


Rising, she scanned the room. Everything appeared normal on this abnormal day. Thoughts of past happinesses flashed through her mind, but it was her angry present which now consumed her.

Minutes later, she nervously shut off the engine and checked the vest, convincing herself this was right. Closing her eyes, she muttered a last prayer.


Usually, they try to swat me, but this Psycho was trying to stare me down.

Relatives reported that his mother was extremely tasty. Tied to that chair, she made easy pickings. A veritable feast.

Norman had his mom's eyes - but not for much longer. Another chair awaited, and those eyes would make a fine dessert.


Doc Holliday, c.1882

Doc Holliday, c.1882

The Doc knew this was going to be no holiday. He pondered his title for a moment, smiling and appreciating the contradiction. He swigged down another whiskey. Pain came easily to him.

The pistol gleamed in the sunlight of high noon. They were awaiting him. There was a score to settle. Let the killing begin...


She exhaled. Her final breath. A new life was beginning.

Her eyes opened, a white light blinding her momentarily. She blinked, trying to focus. Sitting up, she looked inquisitively. This was not her body. She no longer felt pain.

In the distance: movement. Faces she recognized. Her father, brother and niece were welcoming her home.


He used to write of horror, but now his pen was full of grief. As the tears of ink hit the page, he paused, staring ahead. He recounted that day. The words on the page could never do justice to what was on his mind.

He used to write of horror. Maybe he still does.


Questions & Answers

Question: What is the dominant mood?

Answer: The dominant mood is how a story makes you feel. If you're asked to describe the dominant mood, you simply need to support why it makes you feel a certain way.

© 2010 Richard

How Do You Feel About Flash Fiction?

Cole on January 21, 2019:

So fun!!!!!!

Frugal-UK LM on May 22, 2014:

very good

Ruthi on August 16, 2013:

I enjoy both reading and writing flash fiction. I have enjoyed your 55 word stories here and will have to check out your Extreme Writing Now.

receitadebrigadeiro on August 13, 2013:

I had never heard about this. Living and learning! I liked the "Showdown".

Monica Lobenstein from Western Wisconsin on January 05, 2013:

I haven't written flash fiction for a long time, but have been thinking about getting back into it a bit. It's a fun genre! Thanks for the information!

Amelite on November 01, 2012:

I learned about flash fiction when I first started to get back into writing, a few years ago. It is challenging to tell a story in so few words, but that forces you to be creative.

The stories in this lens were a joy to read. And I really like the idea of flash-fiction t-shirts!

anonymous on July 11, 2012:

You are an expert.. I can see that.. Newly arrived at Squidoo and well pleased to find another flasher... !!

BuddyBink on December 24, 2011:

I have never heard of Flash Fiction. This is very interesting, I will have to try it. Thanks

EEWorkouts on December 23, 2011:

Great lens! I really like Looking Back At Norman.

fightordinary on November 26, 2011:

I've never heard of this. Very interesting. My favorite one was 'The Horror of It All'. Keep writing!

sherioz on November 23, 2011:

Never heard of this before. I can see where writing squidoo lenses would be great practice for flash fiction.

beadbait on November 17, 2011:

no but i think i will be looking into it.! thank you for the lens

UtopianDreamer LM on October 23, 2011:

Hi I really like your flash fiction stories. I particularly enjoyed 'The Horror of it all'. I enjoy the inferred meaning shorter flash fiction; I think it can make it particularly profound. I've had a go at some flash fiction myself: http://www.squidoo.com/flash-fiction-story-bus-sto... I've added you as a related lens and am off to have a look at 'extreme writing' now!

anonymous on October 01, 2011:

I'd never heard of this--it's a very interesting concept. Your examples are amazing. Great lens!

agoofyidea on September 04, 2011:

I look forward to trying this expreme fiction. I love stretching my writing muscles. Great lens.

HeatherTodd1 on September 03, 2011:

This is really nice lens..

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on August 10, 2011:

It takes real talent to write 55-word flash fiction. This is almost like haiku fiction -- strip away everything but the essence. Very creative... you. My favorite piece was "Veil of Destruction."

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on August 09, 2011:

Wonderful 55 word fiction, if a little sad.

VBright on August 09, 2011:

I've heard of Alex' site, but after reading this, I may have to hop on over! Thanks for explaining it.

CCGAL on August 09, 2011:

I have not attempted Flash Fiction yet ... but I sure did enjoy reading yours.

kimmanleyort on July 20, 2011:

Wow, you have done a beautiful job putting together this page on flash fiction, extreme writing now, and presenting your own work. Flash fiction is a great tool for writing. Keep up the great writing, Rich. Blessed.

Prezewalski on July 18, 2011:

Love this concept!! And all five are amazing.....i totally agree that writing short fiction is so very difficult...you just pulled it off here, great!! And thanks for sharing EWN...it is awesome!! :)

Leodegraunce on November 29, 2010:

I enjoyed reading your flash fiction. You have a definite talent!

Tonie Cook from USA on November 26, 2010:

You have a way with words. Great writing here.

Yume Tenshi on November 21, 2010:

This is amazing! I never heard of flash fiction before. Mind, I recall a story I came across once, by some super-famous author. It went something like: "For sale: Baby Boots. Never used." It is almost like flash fiction, isn't it? Two-three phrases telling a complete story. Amazing! :) I think that I'm going to join the EWN website. :) Thank you for sharing this Richard!

kimmanleyort on November 21, 2010:

Wonderful way to introduce flash fiction, showcase some examples, and let people know about Extreme Writing Now. You are a master at this type of writing, Rich. ** Blessed **

anonymous on November 21, 2010:

I have never tried this style of writing but I find it fascinating. There is so much conveyed in so few words! I did, however, try an exercise or two when I got stuck. Pick any 3 verbs and write like crazy for 5 minutes. I was absolutely astounded by what I managed to come out with. I particularly enjoyed 'The Horror Of It All'. I think that was one of the best you featured here. Great lens, and very interesting! Thank you!

justholidays on November 21, 2010:

Wow! This is fantastic! Now flash fiction writings are things I could read without a problem (since English isn't my mother tongue, lol). Seriously, I think anyone who's looking into starting a writer career should start with such writings! I'm really happy to have come here!

purplelady on November 21, 2010:

I think that I shall have to check Flash Fiction out as I am a person who usually tells people more than they want to know. Very interesting lens and your short tales as well.

Indigo Janson from UK on November 21, 2010:

I'm a rambler but flash fiction would give me some discipline. Love seeing how it's done!

dustytoes on November 20, 2010:

I really enjoyed your little stories and wanted more! I've never heard of this but you do it very well.

drifter0658 lm on November 20, 2010:

Fun and addictive! Who'da thunk that 55 words could be such a hit? And you my friend write some top notch stuff!!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on November 20, 2010:

I really need to figure out a way to fit Extreme Writing into my life. Your flash fiction is outstanding, Richard! You've inspired me - and moved me with your personal stories. And I thought 140 characters on Twitter was a challenge!

WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on November 20, 2010:

I'm not familiar with Extreme Writing. Great way to challenge yourself and try writing on new sites. :)

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on November 20, 2010:

Wow - what a challenge to develop an entire 'story' in only 55 words. This is a new concept to me, but an interesting one. Thanks for sharing. It's terrific learning new things like this.

PS: I'd probably never be able to do it -- my family says I'm very 'wordy' (think they mean I 'talk a lot') :)

aishu19 on November 20, 2010:

These are very interesting writings. And I think a great exercise too. Makes you think out of the box when you look at something around you.