Standing in line at the grocery store? Stuck in a traffic jam? Waiting for a friend to get out of the bathroom? All perfect times to get a little reading in. However, it can be hard to pick up where you left off in a larger story—by the time you get back into it, it’s time to put the book back down. The perfect solution: FLASH FICTION STORIES (short, self-contained stories that take only a few minutes to read)!
The average reader can read about 300 words per minute and still retain the information of the work. The average piece of flash fiction hovers somewhere between 500 and 1500 words.
That makes flash fiction pieces the perfect antidote to those tiny pockets of boredom that pop up in your life. If you want to add more reading time into your day but can’t commit to a big chunk of time, here is a handy-dandy list of flash fiction pieces online for you to read next time you (literally) only have a minute or two.
Flash Fiction Stories For When You are Stuck in a Traffic Jam or in a Waiting Room (Stories that will take about 4–6 minutes to read)
- “Riddle” by Ogbewe Amadin (1159 words)
- “Three is a Rational Number” by Michele Finn Johnson (1057 words)
- “The Comedian” by Yoko Morgenstern (994 words)
- “The Wife on Ambien” by Ed Park (1027 words)
- “Last Long Night” by Lina Rather (992 words)
- “This is How You Fail to Ghost Him” by Victoria McCurdy
Flash Fiction Stories For When You are Standing in Line at the Grocery Store (Stories that will take about 2–3 minutes to read)
- “Possession(s)” by John Smolens (877 words)
- “John Redding Goes to Sea” by Zora Neale Hurston (741 words)
- “The Virgin Mary” by Adesuwa Agbonile (720 words)
- “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid (681 words)
- “Unnecessary Things” by Tatyana Tolstaya (662 words)
- “War of the Clowns” by Mia Couto (571 words)
- “The Uprooted” by Cristina Peri Rossi (506 words)
Flash Fiction Stories For When You’re Brushing Your Teeth, Waiting for the Coffee to Brew, Etc. (Stories that will take about 1–2 minutes to read)
- “Curriculum” by Sejal Shah (488 words)
- “Sticks” by George Saunders (392 words)
- “The Huntress” by Sofia Samatar (374 words)
- “Miracles” by Lucy Corin (369 words)
- “Unlikable” by Deb Olin Unferth (331 words)
- “Baby Dolls” by Becky Robinson (174 words)
- “Give It Up” by Franz Kafka (134 words)
- “Asthma Attack” by Etgar Keret (127 words)
What are your favorite flash fiction stories? Find even more recs from women writers here.