“This is hilarious. You should write it up as a flash essay.”
This was the note that I got from one of my editors. She had embarrased herself by bemoaning a family situation with me. I told her not to worry. The situation was all too familiar. She wasn’t sure she believed me so, as any writer would do, I illustrated my point.
I told her that I’d think about it but essays don’t really do it for me. I love the form but I’m good at writing short. The last time I looked at essay markets, I nearly fainted. “The average length of the essays we purchase is 5000 words.” “15,000 words.” “Up to 10,000 words.”
Help! I write short. It’s what I do.
But I know flash fiction is short so I decided to look into flash essays. One market listed 1000 words. Another 350.
350 – 1000 words. That is something I could most likely handle so I started looking for information on flash essays.
- Also known as a micro-essay.
- A flash essay is written in first person.
- They generally only have room for an anecdote or two.
- It goes beyond personal narrative, pulling in ideas and data that broaden the scope of the piece.
A flash essay is to essays what a sparkler is to fireworks. Short, intense, and wonderful.
A great way to get a feel for a type of writing is to read it. Two places that you can go to check them out are The Christian Science Monitor’s Home Forum and concīs. Why only two? It seems like a lot of the places that publish essays charge reading fees. Me? If you have to pay for them to read it, that’s not a market. That’s a service. If, on the other hand, they read it without charging you and then pay you even a small amount. That’s a market and, at least in my mind, will attract a very different type of material.
Obviously, I’ve got some research and writing to do if I’m going to make this flash-essay thing work.