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The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field Paperback – 13 May 2009
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Top customer reviews
Although it is an American book, it has a very global feel with a chapter by Shouhua Qi on Flash Fiction from Contemporary China and also one by Peruvian native, internationally acclaimed critic, Julio Ortega which includes one of his own flash or sudden fiction pieces.
Chapters are grouped under the following umbrella headings:
1. In Defense of the Exercise
2. Contemporary & Historical Roots of Flash Fiction
3. Finding Freedom and Feeling in the Form
4. Beginnings & Endings
5. Imagery as Inspiration
6. Poetry versus Prose
7. Taking Risks
8. Focusing & Editing
9. The Future of Flash Fiction
10. A Call to Action
There are exercises, examples and prompts together with an extensive list of suggested further reading. One further book I would add to their list is Not So Perfect by Nik Perring as an example of the very best of English contemporary flash fiction witing.
The Table of Content are:
1) Contemporary and historical roots of Flash FICTION
2) Finding Freedom and feeling in the form
3) Beginnings and Endings
4) Imagery as isipiration
5) Poetry Vs Prose
6) Taking Risks
7) Focusing and Editing
8)The Future of Flash Fiction
9) A call to action
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Whether the writer is working on a novel, a true flash fiction piece, or something inbetween, this manual, edited by Tara Mashih, is readable and helpful.
The analogy of musicians playing scales on the piano or plucking them endlessly on the guitar, reminds writers that sometimes we need to warm up the writing part of our brain. In doing so, memories are released, our imaginations go places we have not considered before, and voila! a new story awaits us.
There are also definitions of what flash or sudden fiction is, what editors are looking for, and how to use flash fiction as a gateway to getting published.
As a frequent participant in flash fiction contests, I found many helpful hints in this volume. It is one I will turn to frequently when the Muse is not wafting my way.
In an irony to the subject, flash fiction, the introduction of this field guide is the longest chapter in the entire book, weighing-in at 26 pages. Despite its length, Ms. Misah provides the reader with an interesting history of flash fiction.
I found the essays within this guidebook to be useful and informative. Each essay ranged from 3-9 pages, which included a writing prompt and an example of flash fiction. As you could expect, the authors had some differences of opinion on what makes an effective short-short story. What they did agree on, was that each story should be thought-provoking and leave the reader with an indelible image.
I found most of the story examples, "thought provoking" alright. My usual responses were, "huh?" or even, "What was that all about?"
I guess I'm not the literary type. I'm not into deciphering an author's meaning and images in his or her story.
My favorite was "Inside Job" by Pamela Painter. In this flash--(warning! Plot spoiler ahead!)--a university couple are attending a party. After noticing her husband hit on another one of his graduate students, Marla goes into the kitchen to grab a drink, but accidently douses her blouse with seltzer water. One of Marla's graduate students tries to help dab off the water and she guides his hand--underneath her blouse.
Talk about an "indelible image!"
I rate this book a solid four stars. This is more out of personal bias. With the exception of "Inside Job," it's hard for me to get excited over a how-to book. However, for anyone interested in writing flash fiction, or improving their craft in this niche-genre, this is an invaluable guide.
Ashley Chantler, co-editor, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine.