Sudden fiction is a type of creative writing mostly characterized by its significantly low word count. This kind of short fiction can take the form of a short story, prose poetry, or other kinds of creative writing. Often, it is referred to by several other names, including flash fiction, micro fiction, and postcard fiction. Since there are not yet any hard-and-fast rules regarding sudden fiction, it is usually up to the publisher to determine the word count and even the exact name used. Writers who wish to publish short fiction can look for literary magazines and publishers hosting submission calls and contests, or even consider self-publishing.
Sometimes, sudden fiction is called by another name solely because of the publisher’s preference. Publishers might call for submissions or contest entries asking for flash fiction, micro fiction, smokelong fiction, postcard fiction, or short-short stories. Also, it is not unusual to see calls for short stories referred to as short shorts. Usually, writers know these are all just different names for a similar kind of short fiction. To fully understand what a publisher is requesting when he asks for a certain kind of short fiction by name, the writer must read the submission guidelines.
Typically, the main difference between sudden fiction and other kinds of fiction is the word count. Pieces of this kind of fiction have significantly fewer words than pieces of other kinds of fiction, and sometimes this even includes most kinds of short stories. Still, writers must remember that not all types of sudden fiction require the same word count. Some publishers consider short stories of fewer than 1,000 words to be short fiction. Others are more specific, calling for short fiction that does not exceed 55 words.
Generally, there is not as high a demand for sudden fiction as there is for longer types of creative writing. Still, writers can publish their short fiction pieces in many of the same ways they can publish other kinds of creative writing or prose poetry. For example, literary publishers often compile short story collections and sell them as anthologies, and writers might see calls for submissions. At the same time, a literary magazine might accept submissions of short fiction for regular publication, or might even hold contests for publication and other prizes. Some writers of flash fiction choose to compile their own collections and self-publish or market them all at once in a book format.