Flashbang fiction is a complete story in 150 words.
Every year a Flashbang contest is held and many talented short fiction writers come to light.
The story below, We Changed Our Minds, by Jason Whittle, was a runner-up at the 2012 Flashbang contest.
it is a memorable example of the power of the plot twist inside short fiction.
For the plot twist to work, you have to build up to it.
And each paragraph of this story does exactly that.
It leaves us readers with a question, which is momentarily left unanswered.
As the number of unanswered questions grows, so does the conflict these create inside us.
The plot twist is not just any old resolution to this conflict.
It is the resolution.
The plot twist changes our understanding of the story by transforming the context, and ultimately surprising us.
The plot twist is retroactive.
It changes our understanding of all things that come before it.
A Plot twist is a rewind but to a different storyline.
WE CHANGED OUR MINDS
by Jason Whittle (2012 Flashbang fiction contest runner-up)
The five men and four women were hot and cramped in the back of the van, but didn’t complain. They’d made a terrible mistake and needed to make amends, even if the withholding of vital information meant they hadn’t been entirely blameworthy.
When the van stopped they opened the doors, picked up the trussed-up bundle from the floor, and threw it to the ground, where it landed with a grunt.
One man and two women emerged from the van’s cabin. The younger woman removed the hood from the prone figure to reveal a man’s face. It was handsome, despite the bruising.
She held a knife to his throat. ‘You stand accused of the murders of seven women. ‘
‘I’ve been through this,’ he protested. ‘I stood trial and was found not guilty. ‘
‘I know; it was us who gave the verdict,’ she said, severing his jugular vein.
‘We changed our minds.’