I really like this quote from an interview with Vanessa Gebbie over at Smokelong Quarterly:
Great flashes are diamond stuff. Perfect. They don’t leave the reader hanging, or assume another role. Strong, resonant stories packed into non-safety matchboxes.
I have a strong emotional pull to the form. It feels very natural. I’m sure they are deeply seated in our psyches, these little stories, told in snatched moments. And it’s such a joy to read a really good flash.
It’s not a function of word count. It’s more to do with the magic of ‘scope’. Read a good flash and a whole world envelops you. You CAN’T turn the page and read another.
But I also see flash writing—the process—as a way of freeing up creativity. Of ‘defeating the sentinels’. Of allowing the mind free rein to produce what connections, rhythms, voices, colours and textures it wants, with as little interference from the writer as possible… no planning, no ‘conscious thought’.
If you don’t read Smokelong Quarterly, they’re worth a look. It’s a very different ‘zine from Flash Fiction Online — much more literary, in particular — but if you like that sort of thing then you should definitely check them out.