Flash Fiction: for writers, readers, editors, publishers, & fans

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Flash Fiction Interview: Guy Hogan

GuyHogan.jpgGuy Hogan was born and raised in the Hill Dis­trict, the neigh­bor­hood that over­looks down­town Pitts­burgh. His book of flash fic­tion is titled Com­pres­sion­ism: The Pitts­burgh Sto­ries. His work has appeared in The Front, Flash Flood­ing, The Pitts­burgh Quar­terly, Flash For­ward, Ellip­sis and other pub­li­ca­tions. He received his MFA from the Uni­ver­sity of Pitts­burgh. Guy can be reached at AuthorsDen.com.

 

What about flash fic­tion makes it your genre of choice?

Because flash fic­tion is so short, I feel that I have more con­trol over it than I would have over say a novel or a reg­u­lar-length short story. This does not mean I can be lazy. It just means that I don’t have to focus for as long. I’m eas­ily dis­tracted.

 

Flash is about focus. How do you weed out the char­ac­ters and how do you select the sce­nes?

Flash is def­i­nitely about focus, total focus. How I select my char­ac­ters and my sce­nes is sort of a mys­tery. It’s the magic of cre­ative writ­ing. An idea will come to me and from expe­ri­ence I pretty much know whether or not I can work it into a story. The char­ac­ters and the sce­nes choose me. But my expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge of writ­ing will let me know if the char­ac­ters and the sce­nes are organic to the story. One has to add to the other. I choose char­ac­ters and sce­nes based on the life I have lived. I could not write about cow­boys because I don’t know about cow­boys. I was a col­lege stu­dent for a long time. So, I write about col­lege stu­dents and that entire scene.

 

You talk about com­pres­sion­ism and it is the title of your book Com­pres­sion­ism: the Pitts­burgh Sto­ries. Please explain your view on com­pres­sion.

Com­pres­sion is the use of words to paint a mov­ing pic­ture that tells a story. The idea is to cre­ate cin­ema on the page. This allows the reader to become part of the cre­ative process. The imag­i­na­tion of the reader will provide the mean­ing of what the words imply. This is why there is so lit­tle expo­si­tion in Com­pres­sion­ism. If I do my job, the reader will sup­ply the expo­si­tion from my visual sug­ges­tions.

 

Is the city of Pitts­burgh essen­tial to your flash? Would you still write flash about Pitts­burgh if you lived in say, Mt Gretna, PA?

I write about what I know. I know Pitts­burgh. And I know about the Viet­nam War.

 

Does flash need a twist-end­ing to be suc­cess­ful?

I don’t like twist end­ings. I leave twist end­ings to fans of O’Henry. There are three basic end­ings: the epiphany (real­iza­tion), the change in direc­tion and sum­ma­tion that makes what has hap­pened more under­stand­able. At least that is my under­stand­ing of the res­o­lu­tion in a flash fic­tion story. The end­ing must be hon­est which means it must be absolutely organic. This is also a part of Com­pres­sion­ism.

 

Who is your favorite author, and favorite flash author?

Hem­ing­way is my favorite author. Com­pres­sion­ism is based on his very visual style: but it was Ray­mond Carver who showed me just how min­i­mal a story could be and still be a story: the setup, the buildup and the res­o­lu­tion.

 

FF.Net Author’s Note
 

BrownGordon.JPGLorna Brown Gor­don is a poet liv­ing and work­ing in the Philadel­phia area. She received her under­grad­u­ate degree from the Uni­ver­sity of Pitts­burgh. She is cur­rently try­ing to mas­ter nar­ra­tive fic­tion.

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