Flash Fiction Advice: Words on An Abiding Addiction
I often find myself scribbling tiny little pieces on my phone or notebook as I travel or do my chores. Sometimes, it is a voice, at others, a character sketch. Often it is just a place, or a little quirky or weird tick I noticed in someone I passed by, or stayed with for a while. I often forget about these, and don’t regret that. If it is important enough to my sub-conscious, it will re-surface, I tell myself.
It often does, as flash fiction. Most of these bits and pieces from paper notebooks and notebook apps begin as flash fiction prompts, and then flourish into a flash. Sometimes that flash would turn into a short story like this one, at others it would turn into a novel like The Blue Bar.
Want Flash Fiction Writing Advice from a #flashfiction expert? #IWSG (David Swann)
Would you agree with the line of thought that flash fiction is easier to read, given our fast lifestyles? Is a collection of good flash fiction easier to read than a good novel?
It depends. Reading a good, big novel is like being a guest at a huge wedding in a strange, diverse family — it offers many moods and emotions, and it’s full of many different kinds of people, food, and activities. That can seem intimidating when we first step in, but the longer we stay at the wedding, the easier it becomes to find a comfortable place and to understand the wedding’s flow, and to appreciate its ‘rules’ and variety… Read More
When compiling an anthology, what factors do you keep in mind?
You want variety. I don’t like collections where all the stories seem similar. Harder to pay attention. You want each story/essay to stand on its own, but work together and flow together so the reader feels like they have taken a journey… Read More
Your stories have seen wide publication, been shortlisted for, and won various awards. To an aspiring writer submitting to magazines, what would be your advice?
….submitting, and submitting a lot, is the only answer. After a story exceeds a certain level of quality, getting accepted is basically a random process. Good stories get rejected all the time for reasons that have nothing to do with their quality—they are too long or short, they didn’t fit thematically with other stories in the issue, the slush pile reader was hungover and in a bad mood that day—the whole process feels like playing roulette a lot of the time. And when we are faced with a random process, the only solution is to repeat it until we get the results we want… Read More
What does your typical writing day look like?
I’m glad you asked me this question in August 2017, because I can reply truthfully that I write every morning. Until I’ve written at least 120 words, or a complete flash – that’s my rule for the time being. I used to get up very early in the mornings so as to write before going to work – one job, for instance, started at 7am, so I got up at 4, leaving the house at 6.15… Read More
Other than length, is there a difference between a piece of flash fiction and a short story?
‘I compare the novel to a mammal, be it wild as a tiger or tame as a cow; the short story to a bird or a fish; the micro story to an insect (iridescent in the best cases)… Read More
You specialize in flash fiction. Could you link us to a few articles that might help a writer attempting the genre?
Many people have “rules” about writing. For me, there are no rules about what a short story – or a poem, or a flash story – is, has to be, and the more you read the more you see everything it can be. Then you can attempt your own take on it! That said, there are some good articles here… Read More
If all that advice works out, and you’ve produced a piece of flash fiction, the next step is to revise and submit it. Here are a few flash fiction venues to choose from.
Are you a flash fiction fan? Do you read or write flash fiction? What does flash fiction mean to you? Do you have any flash fiction advice?
My own crime novel, The Blue Bar will be out this October with Thomas & Mercer. It is already available for preorders. Add it to Goodreads or pre-order it to make my day.
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