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Best flash memoir collections

These are books I would classify as flash memoir collections and great reads: – I Remember by Joe Brainard (1975) – Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman (1995) – The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard (1998) – My Life as a List by Linda Rosenkrantz (1999) – Safekeeping: Some True Stories […]

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What makes a flash story?

Flash refers to a very short story. Think of them as elevator stories – a quick smile or flash of diamond, a peek of thigh and whiff of cologne. Read in five minutes, but remembered for a lifetime. You’ll find varying definitions of the length of a flash story, but 300-2000 words is common; a […]

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You know you’re a flash writer when …

– You get peevish reading a preamble. – You know eight synonyms for “short.” – You guzzle Brevity magazine like a morning cuppa joe. –  You can whack 2000 words down to 800 words in 10 minutes flat. –  You couldn’t write in passive voice to save your mother. –  You have 500 publishing credits. […]

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From vignettes to book

I’m pulling this post from July’12 back to the top of the blog because it’s such useful and inspiring information, and it was mentioned in today’s Nat’l Assoc of Memoir Writer’s telesummit. If you missed that, you’ll be able to download an audio file soon from http://tinyurl.com/k4fwf84. —————————————– Guest post by Kathleen Pooler As I […]

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Hitchhiker’s guide to flash stories online

“Vignette” is a word that originally meant “something that may be written on a vine-leaf.” It’s a snapshot in words. It differs from a short story in that its aim does not lie within the realms of traditional structure or plot. The vignette focuses on one element, mood, character, setting or object. It’s descriptive, excellent for […]

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Go small to go big later

Memories, moments, scenes, nothing longer than a few pages, some only a line or two. These bits and pieces kept flying out of me, and I kept writing them down. ~Abigail Thomas, author of Thinking About Memoir With most projects, I find that breaking them down into small specific pieces makes for greater success, and […]

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How to craft the twist

Aside from word count, the most distinctive trait of a flash story is the twist. You know, that sudden change in meaning or surprising detail that makes you smile or gasp or read out loud to the nearest bystander. The twist is arguably the toughest part of the story to craft. One way to create […]

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11 editing tips

Early drafts are notorious for repetition, indirection and overdevelopment of the trivial. ~Pamela Erens in The Joy of Trimming Now that you’re done free-writing your first draft, you’re ready for more writing – yes, revising is writing. Does the first sentence grab your reader? Beginning with action or a compelling piece of dialog is a […]

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From journal entry to flash memoir

I recently wrote a guest post for Mary McCarthy’s Personal Growth Journaling Blog that discusses the value of your journal to provide raw material for your flash stories. The in-the-moment account of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences are the key to the richness of your personal stories. The post also outlines my favorite exercise for […]

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Why free-write the first draft?

“Don’t get it right, just get it written.” ~James Thurber “Rewriting in process is usually an excuse for not going on.” ~John Steinbeck I’m a big fan of free-writing the first draft, which means you don’t pick up your pen until you’re done – or at least you don’t look back and start revising until you […]

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Use distinct nouns & verbs

The more specific you are, the more universal you are. ~Nancy Hale A good trick for making your flash stories more compact and meaningful is to choose just the right nouns and verbs. When you’re referring to an orchard, what type of orchard is it – apple, pear, orange? When your character is walking, is […]

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Samples of flash memoirs

If you need some inspiration or just a few good samples of flash memoirs to help you get started with your own, here are a handful of my favorites.  If you are easily discouraged by great writing and can’t help but compare it to your own lousy drafts, then definitely do not read on. <wink […]

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