flash fiction Archive

Tiny Stories: On Flash Fiction and Vignettes

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Flash fiction is normally defined as anywhere from five hundred to one thousand words. Within that relatively small range of words lies a huge gamut of what a flash fiction piece can entail. But is it possible for a writer to convey an entire story arc?

Review: WHISKEY, ETC.: SHORT (SHORT) STORIES by Sherrie Flick

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In her miniature portraits of a failed salesman transformed through food, a forgetful elderly woman, a young woman making dinner for a sometime-boyfriend at the same moment that he is dying, Flick examines seduction and heartbreak, the complications of new relationships, the dynamics of long-time ones, love, loss, and

On Questioning Narrative Sequence

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At the Contemporary Museum of Art in Montreal, Ragnar Kjartansson’s “The Visitors” plays on nine screens in a dark theater. Each screen features a single musician set to the backdrop of a room in a chateau, which is in disrepair: one woman in a pale lace dress plays cello

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Off Days” by Shane Jones

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In the flash fiction piece “Off Days” (The Adroit Journal), Shane Jones captures the comedy in the small moments characteriing his day-by-day struggles with memory loss before a full shift in his reality becomes manifest. We meet Ted and his wife Gina at the supermarket. Ted mistakes a younger

The Words Beneath the Sound: Music Inspired by Literature

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As Virginia Woolf famously observed, the best writing often begins with a rhythmical “wave in the mind,” an inner tempo around which syntax and diction are arranged, a guiding beat of artistic intuition that, when struck upon, makes it nearly impossible to set down the wrong word. Other writers

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Fatherhood” by David Rutschman

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How many words does it take to encapsulate a feeling? An experience? A story we looked at two weeks ago, “Love” by Clarice Lispector, spends just under 3,500 words exploring its title, where Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom takes well over 500 pages plumbing its own. While “Fatherhood” by David Rutschman

Pursuing Essence through Ambiguity: On Kawabata’s Palm-of-the-Hand Stories

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Among the known instances of writers reworking published material, Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata stands apart for his seemingly untenable decision to turn his acclaimed novel Snow Country (for which, along with Thousand Cranes and The Old Capital, he received the 1968 Nobel Prize) into an eleven-page story. Kawabata completed

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Shifts” by Dan Reiter

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Aldous Huxley once wrote, “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” In Dan Reiter’s “Shifts” (WhiskeyPaper), we’re introduced to a character in conflict over how to accurately perceive a series of strange events, as shown through the narrator’s language

Ten writers to watch for. No, seriously, watch the hell out for these writers.

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There are writers to watch for, and then there are writers to watch out for. A sampling of the latter, for your safety: 10) Jack Hogue is a great guy, but if you listen to him for more than five minutes, you’ll believe the publishing world, if not the

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Night Island” by Mary Helen Specht

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I’m a believer that some story shapes lend themselves more readily to pieces of different lengths. The shape of Mary Helen Specht’s story, “Night Island” (Prairie Schooner, Winter 2014), is risky and surprising, and might not work as well in a longer story or novel. But it’s what allows