Welcome to the Flash Fiction Fest
Flash like a bolt of lightning, it’s that quick.
Flash, the white light of lightning, it’s that intense. Not because people die or murder or rape and pillage, but because of the pressure of compression—how the words must do so much work, suggesting far more than what appears on the page. The density reminds me of a poem. Yet not like a poem because flash fiction usually invokes the craft elements of fiction—characterization and setting, point of view and structure, and so on.
Welcome to the 2012 Eratosphere Flash Fiction Fest. I’m Nina Schuyler, and I’ll be your host for the next five days, July 20 through July 25. I write in all of fiction’s forms—novels, short story, and short shorts. My novel, The Painting, was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. My next novel, The Translator, will be published by Pegasus Books in New York Spring, 2013. I currently teach creative writing at the graduate level at the University of San Francisco.
Let’s set some guidelines:
1.Length: 1,000 words or less. I know some places define flash or “sudden” fiction as longer than that, but let’s stay within this length.
2. Commentary: I’ll comment on at least one of your submissions. Depending on the number of participants, I’ll comment on more than one, noting strengths and revision possibilities.
3. Prompts: The hope is that by offering a prompt, it will relieve the anxiety created by a cold, blank page (or screen), which is really the big question—where to begin? Don’t be afraid to leave the initiating trigger behind. As Lucille Clifton says, “Art is a balance between intuition and intellect. It’s intellect influenced by intuition, and it’s intuition influenced by intellect.” So leave room for your intuition.
4. Peer Commentary: Reciprocity runs the show here—if someone comments on your work, please be a good neighbor and return the favor, commenting on that person’s work.
5. Revision: If there is a secret to good writing, this is it. Revise. And revise again. The version at the top of your thread will be your submission.
6. Winners: On the final day, whatever piece is at the top of your thread will be your submission to the contest. A first, second and third place winner will be chosen from the submissions.
7. Have fun. Write a lot. Play. Take risks.
Here’s your first prompt:
“I don’t think she told you we were coming,” she said.