Writing Tips & Sample Stories

Blind your inner editor

I was talking about Flash Memoirs at my book club the other day and a fellow writer/reader threw out a brilliant idea: To stun your inner editor into giving you a moment’s peace, use a symbol font such as Wingdings, or change your font to white, while writing on your computer.  When you’re ready to review […]

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Ars Poetica, Sort Of by Kathleen Lewis

This is a great piece, published in Treehouse literary magazine, about writing … and feeling … and …   Ars Poetica, Sort Of by Kathleen Brewin Lewis Because you think your poetry has become too full of clear skies and morning birdsong, you begin breaking your pills in half. There’s a little line in the […]

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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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Moving Water, Tucson by Peggy Shumaker

This is a story I read aloud in Flash Memoir 101 class, and is the first piece in the Short Takes anthology. It’s a great example of making a story out of something small and beautifully illustrates the traits of good flash stories. If you like it I hope you’ll read more from Peggy Shumaker […]

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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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Free memoir telesummit on May 9, 2014

If you don’t know about it already, there’s a free memoir telesummit coming up on May 9, hosted by the Nat’l Assoc of Memoir Writers, starting at 10am PDT. There are four segments, each with a different speaker and topic, and you can pick & choose your favorites. I will be presenting Flash Memoirs 101 […]

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Writing Wonder: Letter to a Friend

This writing exercise teaches you how to skip the preamble and background detail, which you so often don’t have room for in a flash story, and head directly into the intimate detail that makes the story most interesting. … Think of a significant personal event that you shared with a good friend or family member. […]

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Sweet Sixteen by Gary Wilson

I read this flash story out loud in nearly every class I teach. I can’t believe I missed posting it here for so long. It’s included in the Flash Fiction Forward anthology, which I highly recommend – and am convinced contains many memoirs posing as fiction. There are so many things to love about this […]

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Color of our words

In this piece, Rick Bragg uses the dialogue of the South to draw a beautiful illustration of place and character. I hope you miss half the fun on your first read through because you’re too busy thinking about how you’re going to do this in your next story … The Color of Words by Rick Bragg […] […]

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Pity the Man Who Doesn’t Travel by Philip Kelly

The featured story this month comes from Pushcart Prize author Philip Kelly in The Sun magazine. It’s a masterful flash story of place and painter, Irish Mike, and footfalls across Europe. Here’s an excerpt; be sure to click at the end to read the whole story … ———— I ARRIVED IN VENICE in a drenching […]

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Your memoir vs. your memory

Soon after we begin writing our personal stories in earnest, we all bump into the issue of not remembering or having access to certain necessary details. For the most conscientious writers, this can become a quagmire of delay and conflict.  At minimum, it spurs frustration and doubt.  If that isn’t enough, there’s also the issue of […]

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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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