Authors to Read for Flash Fiction Inspiration (…?)

I’m trying to gather more interesting flash fiction pieces, to inspire my brain to think in >1000 word narratives. Does anyone have any recommendations? In case anyone else is doing the same and also because it’s just fun to gush about writing, I thought I’d compile a list of authors/flashes I’ve found inspiring in the past – Sophia

  • Raymond Carver – ‘Mr. Coffee and Mr. Fix it’ – Because I don’t often read short story collections in order (shamefully, I search for the shortest piece and see if I like it) this was the first Raymond Carver story I ever read, and it utterly blew me away. It’s basically just a monolog of a man talking about his past, but because it’s Carver, the tone is magnificently moving, and authentic. Find it here online:
  • George Saunders – ‘Sticks’ – it’s fun, sad, hyper-condensed and like the flash above but even more so, it manages an almost impossibly moving journey for its teeny word count (392). Find it here:
  • Anything by Etgar Keret: Etgar Keret is an Israeli Author whose main focus is flash fiction – not surprising, as he writes it astonishingly well. To me, he’s the best flash fiction writer there is. His fable-like stories are playful, irreverent, bitter and profound. and more often than not, surreal. If you can easily find a copy of his collection ‘Suddenly, a knock at the door’ read it. If not, a liberal amount of stuff is floating around the interwebs: like these three: or those two: or this one:
  • Lydia Davis – everything from ‘Letter to a Frozen Peas Manufacturer’ to ‘Break it down’ Lydia Davis writes mostly extremely short fiction, mostly in the same dry, distinctive, weirdly unstorylike voice. The effect she achieves in stories like ‘Letter…’ is both absorbing and distancing. Occasionally, she uses the same techniques to create something simmering and claustrophobic, like her sad and linguistically angry piece ‘Break it down’.  Sometimes this style is irritating- personally, I think her stories are best read in their collections, as her voice is most appreciable once the reader has become imbibed in it. That said, for sampling purposes, here is the frozen peas thingamajig:  and a post of Break it Down:
  • Jenny Offill – Department of Speculation – this is a novel. So, no link. but it’s written in little vivid flash-like gems, and doesn’t feel much debt to explaining itself, in the same way short fiction doesn’t.

That’s it for me. If anyone has any flash fictions that astonished them, or tips on how to think in compacted ideas, I want to know about them!



2 thoughts on “Authors to Read for Flash Fiction Inspiration (…?)

  1. Thanks Sophia for all the suggestions and for giving the links! I had already investigated Etgar Keret online, after you mentioned him before, and I’m already a fan of Lydia Davis, but I have never heard of Jenny Offill and I haven’t ready ‘Sticks’ either. So looking forward….

    My off-the-top-of-head suggestion is from my much admired Julio Cortazar: The Continuity of Parks:

    And I’ll have a think what else…


    Liked by 1 person

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