Ekphrastic Lit and Microfiction
Microfiction means how it sounds: very small stories. It is a subset of flash fiction, which is usually understood as stories under 1000 words, and takes it even shorter.
Writers like Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway, Anton Chekhov, Richard Brautigan, and Kate Chopin were writing very short stories before it was known as flash.
Flash fiction is sometimes thought of as a new phenomenon that gained popularity in the '80s. It was often called "sudden fiction." Shorter and experimental forms that followed were called microfiction, drabbles, 100 word stories, and more. In fact, very short fiction has roots in antiquity at the origin of writing, including parables and fables. The very short story is also found in a variety of cultural traditions. Zen koans, Spanish microrrelatos, Panchatantra tales from India, Syria's al-qissa al-qasira jiddan, are a few examples.
In 2019, Meg co-founded the annual Best Microfiction Anthology series, along with Gary Fincke, recognising very short fiction 400 words and under.
Ekphrastic literature is a very old genre of writing that originally aimed to give a description of art or artefacts to bring the piece alive to those who couldn't see it. ("Ekphrasis" means "description" in Greek.) In contemporary times when it is easy to share images, ekphrasis means "writing inspired by visual art." The work can be about the artwork or about something else that it inspired, or a combination of the two.
Ekphrastic literature goes way back into antiquity with Homer and Philostratus of Lemnos, and has been used ever since by Ibsen, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Melville, Wilde and more.
Contemporary ekphrastic fiction and poetry is growing constantly as writers explore the intersection of word and image. In 2015, Lorette founded The Ekphrastic Review, which has grown into the flagship journal of ekphrastic literature and an archive of contemporary ekphrasis.