Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Flash Fiction Course Filled, My Article Byline Restored, Flash Fiction Quotes

Flash Fiction Online Course Filled for October
(Next Course in January).

My online four-week course in Flash Fiction has filled again (it begins October 30th). I limit the number of participants in order to give everyone in the course the personal attention they deserve. I'm pleased that so many are interested in learning more about how to write these fascinating stories.

I probably won't be teaching another course on flash fiction until January 2007. Stay tuned for the next course date sometime in the first of the year. Or you can check the course schedule at flashquake for updates.

I look forward to Monday, the start day of my new course, when I'll get to work with a whole new group of creative people eager to learn more about writing flash fiction. (I recently finished up teaching my four-week online course in haibun writing and was very pleased with the results. I got some good feedback from participants and I always like and appreciate that.)

My Flash Fiction Article Byline Restored

Some of you are aware that my online article, "Flashes on the Meridian: Dazzled by Flash Fiction" (originally published in Riding the Meridian and other places under other titles), was "lifted" and claimed by someone else for use in another publication. Well, the fine editors of Kavitayan, where the incident took place, took remedial action and have replaced the undeserved byline with my own. As it should be since I'm actually the one who actually wrote the article.

I'm so grateful to editors who make things right again when someone decides to call someone else's work their own. That particular article has been published (with my byline) at numerous publications (Riding the Meridian, Net Author's E2K, Writing World, Fiction Fix, Whim's Place and several other places) so I don't know what made the person who took my article think she/ he could get away with claiming it as her/ his own! Thanks to fine and caring editors, this person didn't get away with it. If you're not familiar with my article you can now see it at Kavitayan where it has MY byline now.

Flash Fiction Quotes

Joyce Carol Oates says in her Telling Stories: An Anthology for Writers:"One way of approaching the miniature narrative is to read it backward, for the final line is everything. And one helpful way of composing the miniature narrative is to write the final line first, and see how swiftly and gracefully one can move to it."

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (in 1897) said: "A good short story is a work of art which daunts us in proportion to its brevity.... No inspiration is too noble for it; no amount of hard work is too severe for it."

Joseph Farley, editor of Ax Factory Review (I found the quote in Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2000), says this: "A good story can work on a number of levels. A story can be a prose poem at heart that bases its success on language and imagery over plot. It can be a teaching tool that edifies the reader and editor. Or, it can be a damned good yarn."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Flash Fiction Quotes

Following are some quotes from three outstanding anthologies of flash fiction. I highly recommend any of these three (for those who want to learn more about writing flash fiction or for those who want to read excellent pieces).

Making Shapely Fiction (Jerome Stern, Ed.) W.W. Norton &Co., New York: 1991):

"The shorter the piece of fiction, the less need for a plot. You can write a fine story in which little happens: A man curses his neighbor, a widow quits her mah-jongg group, or an unhappy family goes on a picnic. Simple shapes work better than something fussy and complicated." (Jerome Stern)

From Sudden Stories:The Mammoth Book of Miniscule Fiction. (Dinty W. Moore, Ed.) DuBois, Pennsylvania: Mammoth Press, 2003:

"The jewel of the sudden story is the gap. A lot of words are missing, not because they are extraneous, but because their absence speaks the unspeakable.The writer of the sudden story has to weigh the efficacy of each word. Knowing what to include -- often the details -- and knowing what not to include -- often everything but the details-- that's not a gift. It's a practice that involves trusting the written word more than yourself." (Quote by Lori Ann Stephens)

From Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories. (James Thomas, Denise Thomas & Tom Hazuka, edd.) New York: W.W Norton & Co., Inc., 1992:

"These stories are not tricks, or trills on a flute; rather they are very short stage presentations or musical pieces that play to the full range of human sensibilities--some evoke mood while others provoke the intellect, some introduce us to people we're interested to meet, while others tell us of unusual but understandable phenomena in this world, and some of them do several or all of these things, the things good fiction of any length does." (James Thomas, editor of Flash Fiction)

There are several other fine anthologies/ collections and I'll be talking about these others later on. A few fresh- off- the presses anthologies have found their way to my office, too, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Flash Fiction Miscellany

I sent out a new issue of the Flash Fiction Flash Newsletter today. If you subscribe soon then I'll forward you the latest issue (it's free and distributed via email each month). To subscribe send a blank subject header message to This month's Featured Market, by John Young, is The Iconoclast. So subscribe right away to see this and several other flash fiction markets along with other flash literature news.

My next Flash Fiction Course starts October 30, 2006. It's a four-week online course I've been teaching for a few years now (two or three times a year). There are only a couple of spots still open so sign up soon to assure your place in the fast-paced course (number of participants is limited and the course fills quickly). See course syllabus and other information at flashquake

This summer author Mary Rosenblum from Long Ridge Writer's Group did a live chat interview with me on flash fiction. See the transcripts at (click on "online interviews with experts")

You can also see my further reading recommendations/links at along with links to various really fine flash fiction pieces on the 'net-- including one of my own flash fiction pieces which was published in the inaugural issue of flashquake

Soon I'm going to post a review on a new flash fiction/ prose poetry anthology. One you'll certainly want to read. Stay tuned!