Monday, September 16, 2013

Off the Bookshelf: The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction

Edited by Tara L. Masih.
Printed by -- of course -- Rose Metal Press.

I never heard of this book until the intrepid publishers of Splickety magazine spoke at the Realm Makers conference in August (and if you get a chance, read Splickety and go to Realm Makers -- you won't regret a second of it!). What is Splickety? Well, it's .... drumroll ... a magazine of flash fiction.

What's flash? Usually around 1,000 words, although some places want shorter pieces. And sometimes flash fiction can be as short as a few sentences. Ouch. I can't trim my work down that far. Or at least, I haven't tried yet. Because, confession time here, I'm having fun learning to write flash fiction. Trying to tell a coherent story in essentially two single-spaced pages. It's a challenge that I highly recommend for anyone who wants to improve their writing.

The Field Guide contains essays on the history of flash fiction, the concepts of flash fiction, theories, writing prompts, and exercises. And more important, examples of what the many contributors consider excellent flash fiction to read and think about and learn from. If you want to try writing flash -- or all the other different labels used for the form since it first began -- read this book. You'll get ideas, you'll have those wonderful "Ah ha!" moments, and something that's been sticking in your head might just un-stick. Well worth the time of reading and thinking, and well worth the investment. Even if you don't write flash fiction, this is a writing book worth reading, just because it will impact how you look at your writing, no matter the genre, subject matter, or length.

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