Earlier this year, the Guardian ran a selection of flash fiction stories by renowned authors. The results were decidedly varied, proving that some writers can turn their hand to any literary discipline, while others are better at handling 60,000 words than they are the mere six they had to work with here. Few matched the standard of Ernest Hemingway's standard-setting flash work, a story he called his best ever piece of writing:
Untitled by Ernest Hemingway - For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
What the Guardian piece failed to offer, though, was a concrete definition of what flash fiction is. Wikipedia has flash fiction as "less than 2,000 words long", with "most flash-fiction pieces between 250 and 1,000 words long." This seems to stretch things a bit: for some writers 2,000 words can be an epic. For others it is just enough for an opening sentence.