It was finals week last week for my classes. Finals week is a double edged sword for me: on one hand I end up with a mountain of grading, on the other I have plenty of time to think as I walk around the classroom and pretend to pay attention to make sure the students don't cheat.
Don't worry, we professors and instructors have other ways of making sure cheating doesn't happen. Secret ways. We're kind of like ninjas that way.
Anyways, as I made my rounds, I was really thinking about my new short story I'm working on. As of now I"m pleased with it and the direction its taking. Of course there are parts I'm frustrated with--right now there is a transition that's annoying me so much I wish I could set it on fire--but I like the idea and couldn't help comparing it with the past two works I've written, both flash pieces.
It's amazing how different a few thousand words can make to the experience of a story. Writing a longer short story made me realize how much flash is a concentrated story, its this sudden strong sweet bitter burst of story. It's this quick flash of emotion so strong it can knock you on your back. It's like lightning. It's pure, raw, story.
A short story is a slower dance, a longer romance, a different complex twining of threads. It builds and like a fine aged wine gains richness from each layer you add to it.
I had forgotten that difference at first and wondered, with my short, if it would get boring. But then I remembered both kinds of stories require different mindsets, different approaches, and one isn't necessarily better than the other, they are simply different. I can't get frustrated by those differences and just write the story as needs to be written.
In other words, while you can compare flash and short stories, both on content and quality, it's important to realize that the experience you get from the two will be different just by the essential nature of what they are.