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by Jim Harrington

jimharrington2

Markets added

Editor Interview Added

Contest added

View the complete markets list here.
View the complete resources page here.

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Jim Harrington began writing fiction in 2007 and has agonized over the form ever since. His stories have appeared in Every Day Fiction, Liquid Imagination, Ink Sweat and Tears, Near to the Knuckle, Flashes in the Dark, and others. He serves as the Managing Editor for Flash Fiction Chronicles. Jim’s Six Questions For . . . blog provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.” You can read more of his stories at http://jpharrington.blogspot.com.

by Aliza Greenblatt

Tina Wayland

Tina Wayland is a freelance copywriter, part-time fiction writer and full-time mom to a great wee kid. Her story, Red Handed, was the top story for July.

Aliza Greenblatt: I’m always curious about what drives authors to write, so can you tell me a bit about that? Do you typically write horror or do you venture into other genres as well?

Tina Wayland: Good question. I don’t know what drives me to write—the curiosity to see where the story will take me? The challenge to get a good piece of writing down on paper? I’m not a writer who’s driven to write. It takes a lot to get me to sit and put stuff down. But I’m always fascinated by the outcome.

I used to write horror way back when I studied Creative Writing. It’s something I haven’t done in about 20 years. This story was supposed to be about a simple conversation, but it took a wrong turn down a back road somewhere and I just had to follow along.

AG: When you sit down to write a new story, what is your process like?

TW: Haha! Fiddle, fiddle, get a glass of water, check my emails, fold some laundry, check my emails. At some point I focus and start writing, and in those rare moments where the writing stars align I find that perfect groove and I’m lost in the writing. For me it’s more about overcoming the obstacles than following a process. But somehow it works.

AG: The desire to escape was a major theme in the story and the two major characters in the story were desperate for a way out. But it slowly became apparent that the boy would use any means possible to do so. Did the characters’ desperation carry the momentum of the story as you wrote it? Do you think the boy will ever stop running?

TW: I don’t know if I saw them as desperate. I think they both believed they would win—that they’d get what they wanted, in the end. In my mind, the boy never questioned that he’d escape, and the detective never questioned that he’d get his answers. But the boy knew better. I don’t know if he’ll ever stop running. All the story gave me is this small glimpse into his life. Once he was out the door in the wall, he was gone—out of my control. I’d like to believe he’ll keep running, though. I don’t know what else he’d leave in his path.

AG: This piece used language very deliberately, and I loved how almost all of the sentences in the story were short and concise. Did you have a reason for writing in this particular style? Was it a conscious decision?

TW: No matter how I start off, I always end up writing like this. Economical. Deliberate. It’s about the words but it’s also about the rhythm of the words. I love the poetry of it. I can spend a whole lot of time looking for the perfect two-syllable word to balance out a sentence just right.

AG: From your bibliography, this is not your first flash fiction story. For you, what is the appeal of flash? What are some of the challenges you face when writing stories with such a limited word length?

TW: I think my writing style lends itself most easily to flash fiction. I cut and cut and cut until I’ve excavated the right sentence, the right words. By the time I get to my third draft, I’ve lost more than half of what I started with.

For me, the challenge of flash is to get the story right, and quickly. It’s less of a build-up to your characters and more of a quick look into one moment of their lives. There’s no time, and no words, to waste.

AG: What other projects are you currently working on? Are there other stories of yours, either upcoming or published, that you can point readers to?

TW: I have a handful of stories desperate for a second draft. I’ll have to dust one off for my writing workshop soon.

I also have a poem just published in From the Depths. You can read it in here, free.

Plus I have a small collection of published stuff on my work website at http://tinawaylandcopywriter.com/fr/published-fiction.php.

A few of my stories are up on EDF, and it is a great honour to be published alongside so many wonderful authors on such a great writing site. What a thrill that Red Handed touched so many readers! It was unexpected and truly wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to ask me these great questions about writing. It was great fun to think about the answers and pass them along!

AG: Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with us. Best of luck with all your writing endeavors.

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 Aliza profile-pic-2Aliza T. Greenblatt works in a firmly non-writing field when the sun is up and writes under a desk lamp at night.   Fueled by a sheer love of books and a tyrannical imagination, she writes the stories that appear over her morning coffee and won’t leave her alone until they are put down on paper.   She writes, raves, and blogs at http://atgreenblatt.com. and on Twitter  @AtGreenblatt

 

by Jim Harrington

NSLF Organizing Committee

2014 NSLF Organizing Committee

I learned about the National Schools Literature Festival a few months ago and contacted them for further information. Below Sharon Quek, the media and communications contact for the group, provides responses. Pictures from the event can be viewed on their Facebook page. More information can be found on the NSLF website.

FFC: What is the National Schools Literature Festival? Where did the idea come from? What is its purpose? When did it begin?

Sharon Quek: The National Schools Literature Festival is a ground-up initiative developed by Literature teachers in Singapore who want to encourage the study of Literature as an essential subject in the national curriculum. It started in 2004 when a group of Singapore Literature teachers came together to organise competitions at the national level, in which students could participate to sharpen their skills in critical reading, debate and dramatisation. The festival allows teachers and students to network with their peers, jointly build their understanding and interpretations of the Literature texts they are studying, and deepen their understanding of and love for Literature.

FFC: There are six sessions listed in the programme. Do students participate in each one, or do they get to choose?

SQ: Students can participate in any of the six events (Debates on Unseen Texts, Set Text Debates, Poetry Slam, Book Trailer, Book Parade and Flash Fiction). To allow more schools to have the opportunity of participating in the festival, the organising committee has requested each school to send a maximum of two teams (one each for lower secondary and upper secondary) per event.

FFC: The list of participants includes 80 schools. How many children from each school participate? How are they chosen?

SQ: An average of about 20 students from each of the 76 schools participated in the festival this year. The selection of student participants is left to the schools. In the last seven years, the number of student participants has been in the range of 1,000 to 1,500.

FFC: One section is for flash fiction. Why flash?

SQ: Flash Fiction is a new event organised to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the National Schools Literature Festival this year. The event seeks to encourage students to write in a succinct and original manner that will engage the interest of readers.

FFC: Stories must be exactly 200 words. Why 200?

SQ: 200 words is an appropriate length for students to include sufficient details in a story while sustaining the attention of any reader. The organisers hope that the word limit will also challenge students to think carefully about their choice of words.

FFC: What else should we know about the festival?

SQ: Ten winning flash fiction stories were selected by a review committee. These were subsequently published in notebooks that were given to every participant at the festival.

Currently, the festival caters to secondary school students in Singapore. We hope to expand the festival to include primary school students in the future to promote a love of reading and Literature among the younger students too.

FFC: Thank you, Sharon, for responding to my questions, and thanks to all the teachers who organize and participate in this wonderful effort to bring literature to their students.

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Jim Harrington began writing fiction in 2007 and has agonized over the form ever since. His stories have appeared in Every Day Fiction, Liquid Imagination, Ink Sweat and Tears, Near to the Knuckle, Flashes in the Dark, and others. He serves as the Managing Editor for Flash Fiction Chronicles. Jim’s Six Questions For . . . blog provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.” You can read more of his stories at http://jpharrington.blogspot.com.

 

by Andreé Robinson-Neal

Andree-New

Like the tinder box that it is, FFC kept things all a-glow during the month of July. Jim Harrington got us started by sharing thoughts around the answers posted to the Facebook FFC New and Emerging Writers Group about music and the muse it draws or chases away. Susan Tepper ignites our collective spirits of justice in her UNCOV/rd with Pat Pujolas as they share around his book, jimmy lagowski saves the world.

And speaking of sparks, Sarah Crysl Akhtar took us back to a gem that caught her eye (and breath) in this month’s From the EDF Archives. She gives us a tantalizing sample of a morsel called Jellyfish. Go check it out for yourself.

We got a glimpse into the writing persona (and more) of Christine F. Anderson in a July publisher’s interview, where she shared her thoughts on marketing. John Towler then did a bit of marketing for Every Day Fiction, by way of a personal top 10 list of memorable stories (note that he passed the 5,000-story mark back in March!). Len Kuntz got us to the middle of the month with an insightful Why I Write Flash Fiction, in which he reminds us of the value of creamy bullets.

So, why do you write? Rohini Gupta answered the question in a way that delights writers: she answered it with more questions, each of which was insightful enough to spawn a post of its own.

Writers worth their salt will tell you that an important part of the process is reading. Fortunately for us, Gay Degani provided a list of readings that will certainly inspire. She offered a 103-entry list of readers’ choices from the 2014 Short Story Month entries.

Resist the urge to slap something on your story because you’re facing a deadline or just want to mark it as completed. You don’t want any child you love to go out into the world ill-named.

Now if that bright flash of wisdom did not get your attention, you need to go read all the others offered in a post that was chock-full of goodies from Sarah Crysl Akhtar about naming your story. As the month moved toward its end, we met Krystyna Fedosejevs, who shared her thoughts on what happens after you name that story and what her journey has been like in the world of flash fiction.

As you plan your next submission, why not learn something about Submittable? Christopher Bowen got some time with Submittable’s co-founder, Michael Fitzgerald. If it’s been a while since you have used the platform to send in manuscripts, you’ll be interested to read what Michael and his team have planned for Submittable’s future.

Julie Duffy brings us in sight of the end of July with her “nuts and bolts” approach to understanding genres. This month’s offering provides some thoughts on science fiction: what it is, what it isn’t, and what it can be.

It was a full month to be sure, and FFC never closes on a low note. Aliza Greenblatt interviewed Jessi Cole Jackson, the EDF Top Author for June. Jessi shared insight on her flash fiction work, as well as what it really means to live in the Garden State.

Be sure to stop by Flash Fiction Chronicles to catch up on all the articles, advice and information from last month and get ready for an exciting August!

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Andreé Robinson-Neal got bit by the writing bug back in the late 1970s while watching Rod Serling and reading Ray Bradbury–both of whom are everyday inspirations; although she has worked in education for more than a quarter-century, she has never been cured of her penchant for speculative fiction. Find some of her flash fiction at starvingartist.com. She writes under the name AR Neal, who will hopefully one day be identified as a famous NaNoWriMo participant.

 

 

 

 

by Sarah Crysl Akhtar

Sarah Akhtar

My kind of horror story: a quiet progression towards doom. Nothing’s harder to write. One false note in the voice and the mood vanishes; built-up tension can’t be reclaimed. I haven’t seen it done better than in Lydia S Gray’s In Return (1/8/12).

Gray states the impossible right at the beginning of her story, which takes confidence and nerve. She doesn’t answer any of our questions but we can’t stop following, wondering and dreading right alongside the narrator.

I love when the writer respects the reader’s intelligence, knows that life doesn’t tie itself up in neat resolutions.

The story earned a respectable 3.7 stars after 57 votes; twenty readers commented, most of them finding In Return creepy and effective. A few found it flat, and some wanted more details. I think it’s considerably underrated.

The inexplicable is at the heart of horror fiction. Yet readers sometimes accept rampaging zombies and the inconveniences caused by monthly full moons without a quibble, but insist on being told the “why” of less gory but more atmospheric stories.

Remembering it this long after my first read, and revisiting it, my pleasure in Gray’s story hasn’t diminished. I think In Return is worthy of a place in any anthology of great ghost and horror tales–alongside masterworks by M. R. James and Algernon Blackwood.

Take a look for yourself–see if you agree.

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Sarah Crysl Akhtar‘s shtetl forebears gifted her with the genes that impel her to make much from little. So of course she writes flash fiction, cultivates orchards on her windowsill and bakes fabulous shortbread. Her son gives her what’s immeasurable–the best of all possible worlds. Less miraculous fruit of her labors has appeared on Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Online, 365tomorrows and Perihelion SF Magazine.

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