I DON'T HAVE TIME TO WRITE YOU A SHORT LETTER,
SO I'M WRITING YOU A LONG ONE INSTEAD.
I love the challenge of writing flash fiction and all its cousins - micro, hint, etc. So many people - other writers, included - think short fiction is easy. Why? Because it's only 500 words and not 5,000?
Picture a giant house with a media room, a man cave and an outdoor kitchen (can you tell I watch some HGTV?) You've got plenty of room to make the space inviting and interesting. Now, take an apartment the size of a stamp and you've got a bit more of a challenge. You can only put so many pictures on the wall and place so many pieces of furniture in the space - you really have to choose carefully. In a longer story/bigger house, you can move some of the scenes/furniture around, maybe even put it in another section/room. In a flash piece/small apartment, you really have to choose between the bright yellow chair with painted purple butterflies or the well-worn brown recliner. Whatever you don't pick has to go, so you must pick the best word/chair for that space.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying one form is better than the other or that one form is easier/harder than the other. In full disclosure, it's been quite awhile since I've written a longer short story. My point really is that writing is not easy and we should respect and revel in a great story whether it's told in 5, 50 or 50,000 words.