Tag Archives: short story

Summer writing prompts

I’ve been enjoying reading Abilgail Thomas’ book, Thinking About Memoir. It offers many succinct and thought provoking observations as well as a boat load of compelling writing prompts, and all in a slim 108 pages. One reviewer writes this perfect assessment: “If [you] aren’t afraid to dig deep, zero in on details, write an honest […]

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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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Add some crackle

It’s called onomatopoeia and it’s words that bring sound to your stories.  Merriam-Webster defines it as 1) the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (buzz, hiss)  2) the use of words whose sound suggests the sense (hiccup). Make a list of word sounds you like.  […]

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Economize with setting descriptions

With length of prose being the perennial challenge in flash storytelling, making setting descriptions crisp and meaningful is paramount.  A great description of place can be helpful in compressing a story by serving double-duty and illuminating a character or other necessary story element. For example, a thoughtful description of the contents of your dad’s desk is […]

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Fans by Sue William Silverman

If you haven’t checked out Brevity magazine online yet, you need to bookmark it post haste and visit often. My chosen featured story this month is published there, called Fans by Sue William Silverman. The format is graceful and the motif of the fans is exquisitely deft.  The story shows off the characteristic zinger of all […]

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The Wheels of Fortune by Peter Hessler

This story perfectly captures the charm of a village and its people, a cultural trait illuminated by the routines of the wider world, and the author’s hilarious ex-pat take on it all. I discovered it via Longform’s compilation of 25 Favorite Unlocked New Yorker Articles, which quickened my pulse at first glimpse. Please take a […]

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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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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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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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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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I Quit Smoking (Again) Today by Johnny Moore

Look what I found at Squalorly lit magazine this week. This well-crafted story by Johnny Moore is also a good study in the comingling of present and past tense, and repetition.  Be sure to read the whole story to see what I mean.  Here are a couple excerpts: My parents used to smoke with life […]

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Make Love Not War by Sarah White

This month’s featured story is an intoxicating tale of cultural encounter, romance, and missed opportunity by Sarah White, president of the Association of Personal Historians.  It will likely remind you of your own ‘un coup de telephone’ which I hope you’ll write about post haste. This story was just released in the Seasons of our […]

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