"Three Reasons Why Flash is the Genre for You"

My spotlight article was published today at Women on Writing. Enjoy!

“Three Reasons Why Flash is the Genre for You”

By: Melanie Faith

 

Don’t let the small size of flash fiction and nonfiction fool you—there’s a ton to recommend this little-genre-that-could.

 

·        Got sci-fi? Got a personal essay? Got romance? Got magical realism? Great! Flash is diverse in subject matter. Just like its longer contemporaries, flash is a hot genre sought by many markets. I’ve seen seeking-submission ads just this week for flash fiction in anthologies, magazines, and for conferences. One market sought speculative fiction, which includes science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and slipstream subgenres. Another market asked for flash memoirs, romance, horror, adventure, and cowboy tales. Still another market seeks environmental and travel narratives in flash. I’ve seen (and submitted my own flashes to) markets for humorous flash as well.

 

Both fiction and nonfiction flashes are prized by editors, so whether you like to write about yourself or to create characters, there’s room in flash for either. Or why not try writing flash in both genres? In my craft book, In a Flash! Writing & Publishing Dynamic Flash Prose , I offer oodles of practical tips and prompts for exploring and marketing flash in fiction and nonfiction.

 

Clearly, just about any topic you could spend a novel, novella, (auto)biography, or short story writing about can translate well as a subject for flash, too.

 

·        Another advantage of flash is that most markets want multiple flashes at once. This is great news, because if they want three or five stories at a time, then you have three or five chances to wow them. Include what you think is your strongest flash first in the submission packet. Not sure which is your strongest piece? Ask a friend which piece stands out to them.

 

·        Worried about not having enough plot development within such a small space? No worries. Many of us writers are already used to writing texts and Tweets. Trying our hands at flash in its many styles should be a snap.

Flash is economical but also has wiggle room to fit any plot. While the top word-count for flash is often set at either under 1,000 words or 750 words, that’s not the only length markets seek for flashes they publish.

 

Ever head of the “drabble?” That’s a flash of exactly 100 words. There’s an excellent book by Michael A. Kechula, called Micro Fiction: Writing 100 Word Stories (Drabbles) for Magazines and Contests , that details more about how to write and submit these 100-word gems.

 

There are also fifty-word stories, two-sentence stories, and even six-word stories (you read that right). I’ve seen contests and literary magazines, like Narrative Magazine , that seek six-word stories and often pay for them.

 

Whatever subject, style, or word-count works for you, there’s sure to be a market eagerly awaiting your flash submission!

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Want to learn more?

  • Check out my upcoming online workshop that begins on Friday, March 15th. Here’s the scoop and the skinny:

In a Flash class

  • Signed copies of my book for writers that is chockfull of great tips and examples for nonfiction and fiction flash writers, In a Flash: Writing & Publishing Dynamic Flash Prose, available at WritePathProductions.

  • A sale book bundle, of both my flash- and poetry-writing books, is also available for book lovers at Etsy.

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Article Published Today at createwritenow :)

Thrilled to announce that my article, “3 Tips for a New-Year, New-You Journal at Any Time of Year,” was featured today at the createwritenow blog. Check it out for some writing inspiration.

While you’re there, please peruse Mari McCarthy’s motivating Journaling Power book (I’ve read it and found it super helpful on my own writing journey) along with her inspiring courses and authentic mentoring, guaranteed to kick-start your 2019 to new levels of awesomeness.

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Three Clover Keys Published (and an Impromptu Prompt for You)

A photo from my In the Green Series, “Three Clover Keys,” has just been featured today at Fourth & Sycamore.

In the series, I highlight at least one element of the color green in each photo. :) This can be a really fun exercise to give a whirl, both for writers and photographers. To begin: pick a color and integrate it into one element of the next scene, poem, or photo you take. Challenge yourself to include the color in the next three or four pieces you create, altering saturation, hue, or word-descriptors of the shade as you go. Making a series from color-connected pieces is a snap after that.

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"3 Tips for Developing Theme within Poetry"

My craft article was published at Women on Writing today. Enjoy! :)

“3 Tips for Developing Theme within Poetry”

By: Melanie Faith

I started as a fiction writer before discovering the wonders of poetry at the grand age of 17. (Thank you, Mr. B!)

 

One quality shared by resonant poems I read in literary journals, anthologies, and from my students' pens is a strong theme.

 

How can we explore theme to deepen our own poetry?

 

1. Imagery is where it's at. As poets, we are all about compression. Can we say it in fewer words? Can those few chosen words be rich in the five senses? Can the chosen diction include a symbol for a bigger idea? All of these questions help lead us to imagery that razzle-dazzles our readers.

 

If I wanted to write a love poem about tentative love, it's unlikely my readers will be as stirred by my flat-out stating, "We were on-again, off-again," as they would with a simple mention of a flickering candle on the windowsill.

 

Imagery is economical and meaningful. It also creates vivid pictures in your readers’ minds that they’ll remember long after reading your work and, in many cases, invite them back for further reads.

 

2. Characterization and setting can get the job done. I hear a boatload of discussion in fiction and nonfiction classes about creating realistic characters, and for good reason. This same technique can be applied to poetry to create fantastic engagement from readers and underscore your theme without the dreaded (drumroll, please) telling instead of showing [shiver].

 

Writers can create poems from numerous characters’ POVs to underscore theme. Persona poems develop a narrative and can be read as individual works of art, such as Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess,” or paired together to develop a longer narrative, conflict, and/or setting. Great examples include Edgar Lee Masters’ 1915 classic Spoon River Anthology, Traci Brimhall’s Saudade (2017 Copper Canyon Press), and poems in my most-recent collection, This Passing Fever (2017 FutureCycle Press).   

 

Paired poems may move back and forth through time and setting (as they do in Brimhall’s work and my work) or remain in one town or place (as in Masters’ collection). 

 

3. Subtlety is your friend.

  

Sometimes, once we have chosen a theme for our poem, we excitedly write lines that spell out our meaning with all the charm of a doornail. For instance, using the word “grieving” and “died” in a poem whose theme explores death, or stating “flowers always make me happy” in a poem about the therapeutic powers of gardening.

 

Many poems I see that run off the rails do so when poets begin to explain (or over-explain) rather than trusting readers to intuit the theme on their own.

 

How can we provide clues for our readers so that they will be sure to deduce the theme?

 

Glad you asked: figurative language aplenty. Figurative language is understated yet satisfying. Similes and metaphors are often great indicators of theme. As are usage of symbols and imagery. Incorporating sound effects, such as words with hard d sounds for dramatic or tense themes or words with soft m or n sounds for quieter or peaceable themes, can other excellent thematic indicators.

 

 

Try this prompt: Choose a poem where you have stated part or all of the theme directly in your poem. Make a list of three images, symbols, characters, or settings that could highlight your theme instead. Pick one detail from your list and, after omitting your theme-stating line, add in details related to your chosen image, symbol, characters, or settings. Compare drafts.

Looking for inspiration to jump-start your Muse in early 2019? Have I got a class for you! Vigorous and Vibrant Verse: an Online Poetry Workshop.

 

Photo courtesy of Eric Tompkins, https://unsplash.com/photos/B22JxzOkjYs

Photo courtesy of Eric Tompkins, https://unsplash.com/photos/B22JxzOkjYs