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Flash Fiction

I'm reading this book I discovered at the AWP conference in April titled, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field, and am using it to generate new material in the form of flash fiction.

Some of the contributing authors spoke at the Flash Fiction session at AWP where Flash celebs like Randall Brown (Smokelong Quarterly), Kim Chinquee (Oh Baby and Pretty, Online Writing: Best of the First Ten Years, Pushcart and Henfield prizes), Sherrie Flick (I Call This Flirting and Reconsidering Happiness), Robert Shapard (Sudden Fiction), and Lex Williford (The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction) shared their experiences and insights.

What I like about this book is that it's a collection of essays from different writers, teachers, and editors that when put together makes a varied and well rounded discussion on a somewhat fluid genre.

The format for each contributor is an essay followed by a flash example and a relative exercise. Simple and to the point, yet still creative and thought stimulating.

I'm taking my time to read through this and actually do the exercises as a way to generate new material over the summer. I can create a <1,000 flash and leave it at that, or I can go back to that initial flash and use it as a jumping off for a larger work. We'll see what transpires!

So, to leave you something to mull over while you're waiting for your own copy of Rose Metal Press's book, here's one highlight from the AWP flash fiction session:

What makes a flash stand out?

  • Realist pieces
  • Poetic flash
  • "Hands are unprepared by the sudden drop [at the end of the story] - HEAVY little thing."
  • Sound, rhythm, image, conflict
  • Word for word--every word counts
  • Strong sentences
  • Ability to condense time and space
  • Poinancy not replicable in a longer story
  • Compression in word & structure



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