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


Friday Flash Prompt: Take On A Subject You’ve Been Avoiding Writing About

Think long and hard about why you avoid this sub­ject. Then write about that sub­ject, so that your search is the character’s search, both of you search­ing for the same answer. Make sure you don’t know the exact rea­sons for your avoid­ance. See what you and your char­ac­ter dis­cov­er togeth­er.


Thursday Flash Craft: Writing the Monomyth into the Short Short, Part II, The Inciting Incident

Plot, Peter Brooks argues in Read­ing for the Plot, is a “form of desire that car­ries us [read­ers] for­ward, onward, through the text” (37). In oth­er words, for plot to work, both read­ers and char­ac­ters must be “stim­u­lat­ed from qui­es­cence into a…tension, a kind of irri­ta­tion, which demands nar­ra­tion.” If plot, as Brooks argues, occurs in both the text and the read­ers, then the writer must be con­cerned, not only with inspir­ing with­in the char­ac­ter the desire to do some­thing, but also with arous­ing with­in the read­er the inten­tion to read. Both char­ac­ter and read­er sit qui­et­ly, yes, but also poised for some­thing to hap­pen. The known world doesn’t do it for them any­more. A dead­ness per­vades the every­day. They’re ready for some­thing to happen–and some­thing does, the incit­ing inci­dent that demands a sto­ry.


Monday Guest Flash Blogger: Talkin’ ‘Bout Joe Campbell & The One Way To Write a Story

Here’s what Camp­bell did. Begin­ning around 1930, he broke his day into four four-hour peri­ods, of which in three of the four-hour peri­ods, he would be read­ing sto­ries from all cul­tures and times. He stud­ied San­skrit, French, Ger­man, Japan­ese, Old French, Carl Jung, James Joyce, myths, and rites of pas­sage. But main­ly he read, hun­dreds and hun­dreds of sto­ries, from ancient to mod­ern. In the 1940’s, when he began to write about his decades of read­ing, you’d think he’d release “Campbell’s 101 Ways to Write a Sto­ry.” But he doesn’t. Instead he dis­cov­ers the Mon­o­myth. The Sin­gle Myth. The Lone Way. The One.


Sunday Micro Fiction: Of Kings, Queens, and Ron Carlson’s “Grief”

Out of this quote comes Ron Carlson’s “Grief,” a micro fic­tion piece from The Mis­sis­sip­pi Review that is one of my all-time favorites. Your task today is write a piece around 250 words that do what Carl­son did with a famous quote about some aspect of the (short) short. Have at it, and let us know how it goes.


Saturday Flash Interview: Tell, Don’t Show in (Short) Short Fiction

So, by inter­view­ing the inter­net, I’ve learned that the rule “show, don’t tell” doesn’t quite work as an all-encom­pass­ing rule. There must be some times when we should “tell, don’t show.” Yes?


Friday Flash Prompt: Giving You a Hand with Image Patterns in Writing (Short) Short Fiction

As a fol­low-up to Thursday’s craft dis­cus­sion on image pat­terns, here’s a sug­ges­tion I received from my MFA advi­sor at Ver­mont Col­lege, Abby Frucht.
Cre­ate a list of words unique to a spe­cif­ic field–such as words from cooking–and then use these through­out a piece (sub­tly of course) in a way that both com­ple­ments and cre­ates meaning(s). Music, med­i­cine, art, hors­es, and on and on. Pick your field and begin the plant­i­ng.


Thursday Flash Craft: Image Patterns, Repetitions, Motifs, and How They Can Make You Deep & Literary & All That Stuff

Image pat­terns play a par­tic­u­lar­ly strong role in sup­port­ing the plot of flash fic­tion. For exam­ple, as I draft­ed a flash piece about a germa­pho­bic woman con­fronting a work­er who has crapped on her lawn, the image of dirt, of waste, a brown­ness popped up here and there, like a sym­bol of a wast­ed land. 


Wednesday Writing Therapy: What Rejections Mean

Each rejec­tion says to me, “We didn’t love your sto­ry enough.” The dan­ger for writ­ers is replac­ing the [your sto­ry] with [you], so that each rejec­tion says, “We didn’t love you enough.” That has nev­er been the case for me as part of an edi­to­r­i­al staff.