Comments from the judges of the 2023 National Flash Fiction Day competition
Flash fiction should emphasise compression, concision and language working at maximum force to convey a situation or scenario, or best of all some insight or epiphany transcending the mundane and the quotidian. Flash fiction needs to be good at suggesting the allusive, the allegorical, the metaphorical, the evocative in order to provide depth for repeated reading. So it is really quite a demanding form, thinking bonsai and ikebana, and because of this compression, with every word working strongly to convey meaning, it is closely related to prose poetry.
All ten short-listed stories qualify as doing impressive things within the form. For the NFFD 2023 competition, we favoured stories that controlled the tone that created the mood, be it rhapsodic or realistic, and were sustained towards a satisfying conclusion. We also favoured those with sophisticated twists and turns, or a sense of multiple scenarios and allusions at work.
The full set of notes, and the 2023 winning stories, can be found here.