Archive for May, 2011

Thanks to all of you who spent the time tracking down your favorite stories,  we’ve created a long list of “Readers’ Choices” on line which I think is a very good thing.  There are STILL many many many terrific stories out there not on this list so we will have to do this again. Just a reminder.  These stories are in random order as FFC received them.  No one story is considered better than another.  That’s for YOU to decide.  (But don’t vote for them here. This isn’t a contest).

Please take the time to scroll through the list and read some pieces you might not have read before.  Let the author know if you loved it.  Share with others.

  1. ACTION by Daryl Scroggins suggested by Alexander Burns
  2. OUR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD by Becky Margolis suggested by Erin Kelly
  3. THE WAY WE SPEAK NOW by Angi Becker Stevens suggested by Erin Kelly
  4. HEART SOUNDS by Dale Phillips suggested by Virgie Townsend
  5. BETTA FISH by Tara Laskowski suggested by Gay Degani
  6. WITHOUT NAPIER by Michael Ehart suggested by Alexander Burns
  7. SEVEN ITEMS IN JASON REYNOLDS’ JACKET POCKET, TWO DAYS AFTER HIS SUICIDE, AS FOUND BY HIS EIGHT-YEAR-OLD BROTHER, GRADY by Robert Swartwood suggested by Gay Degani
  8. LOLITA’S LYNCH MOB by Sarah Hilary suggested by Camille Goodenham Campbell
  9. ABOUT ME AND MY COUSIN by Scott Garson suggested by Tara Laskowski
  10. ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE LOST AND THE PLACES THAT THINGS GET LOST by Andrea Kneeland suggested by Erin Kelly
  11. NIGHTTIME PENGUINS by Jen Gann suggested by Erin Kelly
  12. THE BET by Anton Chekhov suggested by Jim Harrington
  13. THE CHRYSATHEMUMS by John Steinbeck suggested by Dennis Vanvick
  14. XARLES, XAVIER, XENOS by Matt Bell suggested by Gay Degani
  15. THE HARVEST by Amy Hempel suggested by Gay Degani
  16. GOOD COUNTRY. PEOPLE. by Heather Fowler suggested by Michelle Reale
  17. WE CANNOT CROSS THE RIVER by Jensen Beach suggested by Joe Kapitan
  18. THE LITTLE ROOM WHERE WE’D FIT by Nicole Monahan suggested by Barry Graham
  19. REMEMBER HOW THEY GO BACK TOGETHER by Liesl Jobson suggested by Karen Jennings
  20. THE TERRIBLE OLD MAN by H.P. Lovecraft suggested by Brenda Blakey
  21. SAVING DARTH VADER by Kip suggested by J.C. Towler
  22. COG-WORK CAT by Joyce Chng suggested by J.C. Towler
  23. THE DESTINY OF ARCHER DEFT by Douglas Campbell suggested by J.C. Towler
  24. TEARS OF THE ANDROID by JR Hume suggested by J.C. Towler
  25. BOTS D’AMOR by Cat Rambo suggested by Kim Montgomery Offenburger
  26. THE SHORT HAPPY LIFEOF FRANCIS MACOMBER by Ernest Hemingway suggested by Kim Montgomery Offenburger
  27. JUST LIKE EARTH GIRLS by Randall Brown suggested by Nicole Scarpato Monaghan
  28. RICE by Dorothee Lang suggested by Susan Gibb
  29. HARRY’S CATCH by Vanessa Gebbie  suggested by Heather Fowler
  30. THE TATTOOED PEOPLE by Seth Harwood suggested by Barry Graham
  31. THE HOUSEHOLD POISONS by Thomas King suggested by Barry Graham
  32. A BETTER ANGEL by Chris Adrian suggested by Barry Graham
  33. BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE by Jeanne Holtzman suggested by Douglas Campbell
  34. THE STEPS MY LOVER BUILT by Michelle Garren Flye suggested by Jeff Brown
  35. DREAM HOUSE by Rachel B. Glasser suggested by Kyle Hemmings
  36. HOW BIG A BOAT by Terese Svoboda suggested by Joe Kapitan
  37. THIEVES by Len Kuntz suggested by Michelle Reale
  38. NOTHING TO FLAWNT by Meg Tuite suggested by Michelle Reale
  39. BLOWN by Stephanie Freele suggested by Michelle Reale
  40. SLOW MOTION RIDERS by Richard Osgood suggested by Jeanne Holtzman
  41. ALICE DROWNING by Dessa Wander suggested by Aubrey Hirsch
  42. JACOB’S CHICKEN by Milos Macourek suggested by Nancy Stebbins
  43. JEALOUS HUSBAND RETURNS IN THE FORM OF A PARROT by Robert Olen Butler suggested by Nancy Stebbins
  44. ABOUT THE FLOWERS by Digby Beaumont suggested by Kate Hutchings
  45. LIGHT IS LIKE WATER by Gabriel Garcia Marquez suggested by Christopher James
  46. RESCUING SID by Digby Beaumont suggested by Kate Hutchings
  47. THE MAN OF THE CASA by Ethel Rohan suggested by Gay Degani
  48. KNIVES by Susan Tepper suggested by Susan Gibb
  49. ROSE PERIOD by Jimmy Chen suggested by Nicole Scarpato Monaghan
  50. A SHANTY FOR SAWDUST AND COTTON by Sarah Hilary suggested by Gay Degani
  51. MY MOTHER, MARILYN MONROE by Len Kuntz suggested by Dorothee Lang
  52. COMA by Kyle Hemmings  suggested by Cynthia Litz
  53. DRIVING KAKEK by Christopher James suggested by Zin Kenter
  54. FAMILY THERAPY by Pamela Painter suggested by Randall Brown
  55. HOW YOU KNOW YOU’RE AN ADULT by Steve Almond suggested by Anna Peerbolt
  56. I USE COMMAS LIKE NINJA STARS by Sam Nam suggested by Zin Kenter
  57. IT DOESN’T by Randall Brown suggested by Anna Peerbolt
  58. JUST ANOTHER STRANGER by Douglas Campbell suggested by Elizabeth Creith
  59. ON THE ROAD TO KIRKUK by Beth Thomas  suggested by Richard Osgood
  60. PIE by Beverly Akerman suggested by Barry Friesen
  61. SPARK by Mary Miller suggested by Thomas Kearnes
  62. THE MICE by Lydia Davis suggested by Anna Peerbolt
  63. THE WIG by Brady Udall suggested by Randall Brown (available in Letting Loose the Hounds)
  64. WHAT FILLS A BALLOON by Ross McMeekin suggested by Randall Brown
  65. MY LIFE WITH THE WAVE by Octavio Paz suggested by Susan Gibb
  66. 10,000 DOLLAR PYRAMID by Robert Vaughan suggested by Meg Tuite
  67. BOYS IN DRAG by Roxane Gay suggested by Robert Vaughan
  68. ALMOST THERE by Michelle Elvy suggested by Robert Vaughan
  69. DEAD PEOPLE I HAVE KNOWN by Charlie Taylor suggested by Gill Hoffs
  70. HEAVY WATER by Kirsty Neary suggested by Gill Hoffs
  71. CHARCOAL/VANILLA by Spencer Dew suggested by Linda Simoni-Wastila
  72. MARRIED WOMAN, AND OTHER DEGENERATES by Stephanie Bryant Anderson suggested by Meg Tuite
  73. HEMOPHILIA by Jesse Bradley suggested by Meg Tuite
  74. HELEN AND ALL HER PROPERTIES by Sheldon Lee Compton suggested by Meg Tuite
  75. STAND-OFF by xTx suggested by Robert Vaughan
  76. VETERANS by Kate Thornton suggested by Gay Degani
  77. A VERY QUIET EVENING by Foster Trecost suggested by Susan Tepper
  78. MOTHER BURNING by Marcus Speh as suggested by Susan Tepper
  79. NELSON by Michael Hawley suggested by Susan Tepper
  80. BE BOP by James Robison suggested by Susan Tepper
  81. RETREATING, I RETREATED by Tania Hershman suggested by Christopher Allen
  82. BRIMSTONE AND LIARS by Stephanie Scarborough suggested by Erin Brinkman Kinch
  83. BABYFAT by Claudia Smith suggested by Robert Vaughan
  84. THREE STORIES by Amy Clark suggested by Robert Vaughan
  85. WHAT KIND OF PERSON GIVES SECRETS TO THE SKY by Kathy Fish suggested by Robert Vaughan
  86. APOTHEOSIS CAKE by Alexander Burns suggested by Stephanie Buchanan
  87. A MILLION FACES by Erin Kinch suggested by Alexander Burns
  88. HEAT by Joyce Carol Oates suggested by Pat Pujola
  89. RISING LAUGHTER by Dave Pescod suggested by Digby Beaumont
  90. MEMORY FREEZE by Meg Tuite suggested by Susan Tepper
  91. BROT UND KASE by Matt Potter suggested by Susan Tepper
  92. VILLA MONTEREY APARTMENT, BURBANK by Meg Pokrass suggested by Susan Tepper
  93. SIGNS AND SYMBOLS by Vladimir Nabokov suggested by Virgie Townsend
  94. ADOBE RAIN by Donna D. Vitucci suggested by Gay Degani
  95. GIRLS WITH BARRETTES by Michelle Reale suggested by Gay Degani
  96. SUNDRESS* by Terese Svoboda suggested by Tiff Holland
  97. SHAME by Thomas Kearnes suggested by Gay Degani
  98. ALL THE IMAGINARY PEOPLE ARE BETTER AT LIFE by Amber Sparks suggested by Gay Degani
  99. THE EASIER OPTION by Collen Higgs suggested by Karen Jennings 
  100. BODY-SNATCHING by Gay Degani suggested by Nicole Scarpato Monaghan
  101. FROM DARK by Karen Jennings suggested by Gay Degani
  102. THE HAMBURGER STORY by Lauren Becker suggested by “Jason” at Bark

*Although not available online, we’ve provided an Amazon link.

by Jim Harrington

Flash Markets

Added editor interviews

  • MiCrow
  • Short Humour Site
  • Journal of Microliterature

Deleted

  • Flash Party to cease publication with next issue due to lack of submissions

______________________

Jim Harrington discovered flash fiction in 2007, and he’s read, written, studied, and agonized over the form since. His Six Questions For. . . blog provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.” He’s also the Markets Editor for Flash Fiction Chronicles’ Flash Markets Page. He can be contacted at jpharrin [at] gmail [dot] com.

by Rumjhum Biswas

A man of many interests and prodigious energy, Benjamin C Krause finds time to edit three journals, and now is on the verge of launching new minimalist magazines in other languages, beginning with one in Bengali!

An Indophille, Benjamin wants to run as many minimalist magazines in as many Indian langauges as possible. That’s the latest news since I interviewed him. Honestly, I wish I had that kind of drive.

Rumjhum Biswas: You have a passion for minimalist poetry and prose. Why?

Benjamin C Krause:Passion has nothing to do with it. I’m a perfectionist, and it’s easier to get 5 words exactly right and in the right order than 5,000. Similarly, when editing, it’s easier to make sure 20 words are exactly right and in the right order than 2,000.

RB: Who or what were your early influences in writing prose and poetry that need to be pared down to a handful of words and less?

BCK: Anton Chekhov, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, and my Craft of Short Story professor, Susan Perabo, all helped teach me about “the chopping block,” but as far as flash fiction and especially writing of 20 words or fewer go, it was territory I explored largely without a guide, except for Hemingway’s 6-word short story, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

RB:Any favourite writers who you like to emulate or consider a guru?

BCK:I’ve gone beyond emulating favorite writers. I like to emulate writers I find in the dark corners of literary magazines that no one reads, or maybe take two or three such writers and combine their styles. Or even more likely, I’ll emulate Glenn Beck, or the College Board SAT tests, or a car commercial. Always subversively, of course.

I once considered John Berryman my guru, but to mix metaphors by borrowing a Japanese term, I’ve become a ronin, a samurai without a master… somewhere along the way, I lost him, and instead of committing ritual suicide, I now wander in disgrace, doing whatever work I can find.

RB: Twenty20 Journal was inspired by, to quote you,” a variant of cricket which is faster and harder hitting.” Is there a story here? Longer than twenty words, please.

BCK: There’s no story; the variant is 20/20 cricket, which is the shortest form of cricket in international competition, shorter than both one-day and test cricket. Because they only play 20 overs, outs mean less, so they are more likely to take risks by hitting the ball harder, which will either lead to more outs on a bad day or more fours and sixes on a good day. I guess there is a related story: when I was in Bangalore in 2009, I was watching an IPL match and saw Gilchrist hit six sixes in one over. It was the first time I’d ever seen that, and this from a guy who hadn’t played professional cricket in a year. He will surely go down as one of the greatest batters ever to play the game.

RB: What do you look for in a twenty and under word poem or story?

BCK: First: that every word is necessary, the best word to use, and is in the right place. Then: that it says substantially more in 20 words than any average writer can express in 5,000.

RB: Do you have any words of advice for writers of minimalist poetry and fiction?

BCK: Cut the fat. Eliminate unnecessary words, phrases, and images. Reduce when possible, reuse only when necessary, and never recycle. Choose the best words and put them in the right order: when it comes to short versions, this applies to prose just as much as poetry. Make sure everything from your words to your punctuation to your paragraph breaks has a purpose. And when you’re writing extremely short prose, don’t be afraid to use dialog. Some of the best 20-word-and-under prose I’ve seen has used dialog, but sadly, most submissions to twenty20 Journal still neglect it.

RB: You have two other journals – Liebamour and Muscle and Blood Literary Journal.  What inspired you to come up with three different journals?

BCK: I’m a man of many interests. I like longer forms just as much as I like shorter forms, and I like the experimental just as much as I like solid fundamentals. I can’t limit myself to one style in editing, but I recognize a journal has to have a focus. So I have three for different interests. If I had the time, I’d have more.

RB:How do you manage to run three? Is there a special formula? :)

BCK: I used to have a group of friends with whom I’d go to the bar and get drunk and talk about how we could never find time to write or accomplish any of the things we wanted to get done. Once I stopped going to the bar with them, I suddenly found myself with a lot more free time. I keep in touch with them, but I’ve mostly found that periods of near-solitude with the occasional break to get out and see the world and find inspiration for writing are necessary to the life of a disciplined writer. It gets stressful at times. Right now I’m spread pretty thin, and I barely find time to write. Other times, though, I find plenty of time to write. It all depends what’s going on with the magazines at any given time

RB: Please tell us a bit more about them, more than what the About page reveals.

BCK: About the journals? I’d love to tell you more about them, but if I were willing to do that, it’d already be on the About page. I like to see my About pages as prompts: you read them, and see what you can come up with. I have no set criteria for selection beyond whether they read the guidelines, whether they seem to have at least read the About page, and whether they’re good. I could write a book on my criteria for “good,” and it’d probably be rambling nonsense. If it moves me, it moves me.

RB: As a writer and editor what are your future goals?

BCK: My immediate goal as an editor/publisher is to get Diamond Point Press’s catalog onto the Kindle, which will hopefully help ensure Diamond Point Press’s financial viability into the next year and perhaps beyond. My goal as a writer is to be read widely, by any means necessary. I don’t mind taking non-traditional routes, and that’s my plan: social networking, online journals, exposure through the press, chapbooks, and anything else my mind comes up with. But I’ve got the more conservative approach as a back-up; I’m being published in a very highly-regarded print journal this Summer, and hope for more such publications to come.

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Rumjhum Biswas is a writer based in Chennai, India. She blogs at Writers and Writerisms.

by Jim Harrington

I often wonder about the process authors use and what goes through their minds while they write their stories. Below I discuss part of my thought process for a story published in December of 2010 at LITSNACK.

The original idea came from a prompt at Zoetrope’s Flash Factory office. Every Sunday, Richard Osgood, the moderator, posts “The Sunday Five to Fifty (or Fifty-five)” challenge. The idea is to use the five randomly-selected words Richard posts to write a story of either exactly fifty or exactly fifty-five words. The prompt words that week were lavalier, taffy, sordid, babushka, and wedge. Yikes!

I wrote a story and posted it to the group. I also submitted it to another writing group for comment but didn’t mention that the story came from a prompt. Most readers in the second group commented on (well, groused about would be more accurate) the use of lavalier and babushka, which made me smile. I liked the original story, but decided to rewrite it ignoring the prompt words. The revision was well received, and I submitted the story to LITSNACK.

Dan Tricarico, LITSNACK‘s editor, accepted the story but felt it was “a bit slight, even for LITSNACK,” and suggested I write two more pieces of about the same length that captured a single moment between two people, as the original had. I agreed and got to work.

My story was about a woman who sacrificed her marriage for a fling. She referred to it as “a mistake,” but her husband couldn’t forgive her. I chose “Love Forfeited” for the title. When considering the additions requested, I also decided to use love forfeited as the theme.

Since the original story was based on a five-word prompt, I chose to continue with that idea. I selected five words from the submitted story (wistful, mistake, scarf, wince, and expression) to incorporate into each of the new paragraphs. It turned into a fun challenge as I considered other ways love might be forfeited (or not), along with variations on the prompt words.

After I was satisfied with the end result, I checked the word count. Interestingly, the first paragraph came in at fifty-seven words. The second contained sixty-seven, and the third seventy-seven. This was totally by accident–honest.

It might be interesting if some of you shared your experience with a recent story. I’m sure everyone would benefit from this “view from within.” So send in your post providing a brief glimpse into some aspect of your writing process entitled “How I Wrote [story title here]” and let us share it with our readers.

By the way, here’s the link to my story, “Love Forfeited.” And you can read my interview with Dan.

______________________

Jim Harrington discovered flash fiction in 2007, and he’s read, written, studied, and agonized over the form since. His Six Questions For. . . blog provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.” He’s also the Markets Editor for Flash Fiction Chronicles’ Flash Markets Page.

by Jim Harrington

______________________

Jim Harrington discovered flash fiction in 2007, and he’s read, written, studied, and agonized over the form since. His Six Questions For. . . blog provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.” He’s also the Markets Editor for Flash Fiction Chronicles’ Flash Markets Page. He can be contacted at jpharrin [at] gmail [dot] com.