A: When it’s a short short story.
I was looking up something about flash fiction when I saw the term ‘drabble’ and had a frozen moment. I’ve since discovered there are a variety of different and very specific terms for short fiction. Here are the main ones I found thanks to Wikipedia and a little bit of extra net-surfing.
Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as three hundred words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction.
Other names for flash fiction include sudden fiction, micro fiction, micro-story, short short, postcard fiction, and short short story. France calls them nouvelles. In China they use several names: little short story, pocket-size story, minute long story, palm sized story, and the smoke long story (to be read in the same time it takes a person to smoke a cigarette).
A drabble is an extremely short work of fiction of exactly one hundred words in length, not necessarily including the title.
A mini saga is a short piece of writing containing exactly 50 words, plus a title of up to 15 words. Mini sagas are alternately known as micro stories and ultra-shorts.
Haibun (俳文) is a prosimetric literary form originating in Japan, combining prose and haiku. The range of haibun is broad and frequently includes autobiography, diary, essay, prose poem, short story and travel journal.
Vignette (literary) is a short impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or gives a trenchant impression about a character, idea, setting, or object.
A fable is a succinct fictional story that features animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature with human qualities that illustrates or leads to an interpretation of a moral lesson (a “moral”), which may at the end be added explicitly in a pithy maxim. A widely recognised publication of these are Aesop’s Fables.
A parable is a succinct story which illustrates one or more instructive principles, or lessons, or a normative principle. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human characters.
A frame story leads readers from a first story into another, smaller one (or several ones) within it.
A sketch story, or sketch, is a piece of writing that is generally shorter than a short story, and contains very little, if any, plot. The genre was invented in the 16th Century in England, as a result of increasing public interest in realistic depictions of “exotic” locales. The term was most popularly-used in the late nineteenth century. As a literary work, it is also often referred to simply as the sketch.
A story pun (also known as a poetic story joke or Feghoot) is a humorous short story or vignette ending in an atrocious pun (typically a play on a well-known phrase) where the story contains sufficient context to recognize the punning humor.
- Who likes short shorts? (simonsylvester.wordpress.com)