Beauty in Brevity: Capturing the Narrative Structure of Flash Fiction by Filipino Writers

Veronico N. Tarrayo*
Assistant Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Letters, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, The Philippines.
Periodicity:April - June'2018


The 21 century has witnessed the emergence of the very short story (or “short” short story) genre called flash fiction, which has been receiving considerable attention in the digital age. Although flash fiction is a short form of narrative that may be told in less than 700 or 100 words, it is assumed to have the essential story details, and stylistic and structural features compatible with its brevity (Ben-Porat, 2011; Guimarães, 2010; Nelles, 2012; Taha, 2000). Likewise, flash fiction has found its niche in various anthologies, magazines, websites, and even in academic courses. This paper endeavors to examine the narrative structure of ten flash fiction (or “short” short stories) works written by Filipinos in the anthology Fast Food Fiction Delivery: Short Short Stories to Go published in the Philippines in 2015. Using the schematic structure of short stories proposed by Wong and Lim (2014), the study aims to shed light on these research questions: (1) What is the generic structure of flash fiction written by Filipino authors in terms of moves and steps?; and (2) How does the generic structure of flash fiction reaffirm or detract from the structure of a regular short story? In regard to this first objective of the present study, it was found that generally, the flash fiction pieces under consideration incorporate the five communicative moves based on Wong and Lim's (2014) framework: Move 1- Establishing a context, Move 2-Indicating a rising action, Move 3- Delineating the climax, Move 4-Indicating a falling action, and Move 5- Providing a resolution. Four steps have been identified as obligatory: 'describing a setting,' 'describing a character,' 'describing a complicating event,' and 'describing effects of a complicating event.'The move-step analysis conducted in the corpus would likewise prove that Filipino flash fiction adheres to the traditional or regular short story structure. The generic structure of Filipino flash fiction provides a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end; thus, it has the story elements of context, which includes the setting and the character(s); rising action; climax; falling action or denouement; and resolution. Lastly, with focus on narrative structure, this paper discusses the place of flash fiction in writing pedagogy.


Fiction, Flash Fiction, Genre Analysis, Narrative Structure, Philippine Literature, Short Story.

How to Cite this Article?

Tarrayo, N. V. (2018). Beauty in Brevity: Capturing the Narrative Structure of Flash Fiction by Filipino Writers. i-manager’s Journal on English Language Teaching, 8(2), 36-56.


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