A Letter from Laurie Stone

Dear Flashers,
 
I am looking forward to seeing you in Bristol this July and learning about your writing. I will be hosting a workshop on hybrid narrative and crafting sentences that work at the level of separate stories. Festival director Jude Higgins has asked some of us to post ideas ahead of our rendezvous.
 
I have an idea for a new book based on my Facebook posts. The working title is, Postcards from the Thing that is Happening, September 2016 to June 2018. Can social media generate literary writing? I use Facebook in four basic ways: to comment on political developments, to share a critical response to a work of art, to share a personal account, to try out short literary pieces often in the form of lists and broken narratives. I also post captioned images and photos, same as everyone. Facebook is, after all, a visual platform. I have created several hybrid texts by splicing these sections together, alternating criticism, fiction, memoir, and social commentary. The sense of wholeness derives from the consistent narrative voice.
 
In creating this kind of collage, you have to experiment for a while, swapping out the “tiles” and discovering a rhythm or sense of connection in the “jump cuts.” The connections can be sounds or images. Composing this way is like writing music. The order of sections does not have to make logical sense to arouse an emotional response in the reader and also create momentum in the piece. It’s helpful to think in terms of the visual art technique of collage. Also of filmic techniques such as “jump cuts,” “fades,” and “montage,” where meaning leaps across the border between sections. Proximity more than plot in the conventional sense connects section A to section B. In writing posts, I try to look out rather than in, the same way you do in writing dramatic narrative. I try to conjure an experience instead of using summary and analysis.
 
If you want to construct a piece this way, try posting in the various categories I’ve outlined for a while. Once you’ve built up an inventory, you can copy the pieces into a Word document and look for thematic links or other forms of affinity. The Festival organisers are copying examples from my posts to give to my workshop participants and to anyone else coming to the festival who is interested. The hybrid piece linked below, constructed from Facebook posts and other notes, was published on the Tin House website in October, 2017:
 
See you next month!
Laurie Stone

Laurie is running a workshop on ‘How to Write a Hybrid Narrative: Beyond ‘Fiction’ and ‘Non Fiction’ on Saturday morning from 11.05 – 12.35 pm

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Sculpting Flash Fiction with Nancy Stohlman

I’m so excited to be part of the second annual Flash Fiction Festival!

I’m going to be teaching two classes that both come primarily out of my 15 years as an editor. The Sculpting Flash Fiction class is my love letter to the art of editing—for me this is where the real magic happens. My own first drafts are fast and uncensored, but the sculpting of those ideas is the real dance and my favorite part. I hope to not only give some concrete tools for editing flash fiction but also to inspire an appreciate for this part of the process, which I fondly call the “puberty” of our work, where everything changes and starts to find itself.
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Flash Fiction and the Loss of Ego
John Brantingham

In late Spring in the High Sierra where I live in the summer, the snow melts off and turns the mountains into a world of mud. In those places of recent fires, this is the season for morel mushrooms, which love the nutrient rich ash. I have a ranger friend who hunts them through the soggy mud, and she cooks them on a portable stove right there in the dark shade of the giant sequoia trees. Fire is an important part of the pulse of the forest. Without it, the giant sequoias would not reseed. Without it, new growth would never have enough light to thrive.
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Flashing Historically – Nuala O’Connor

I’m an Irish novelist, short story writer and flash writer. At the Flash Fiction Festival I’ll be facilitating a workshop on Historical Flash Fiction. The last two novels I’ve written have been set in the nineteenth century, and my novel-in-progress is Edwardian, so for a few years I’ve been steeped in the language, social history, fashion, mores and environment of those times. I love research and, in the throes of it, often come across snippets that can’t be used in the novels, but that I know might work as flash. So, more and more, I’m writing historical flash as well as historical novels, though I’m always pleased, too, when an idea for a contemporary flash hoves into view.
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Review of Flash Fiction Festival One
Al Kratz

The 2017 anthology Flash Fiction Festival, One published by Ad Hoc Fiction is power packed into a tiny package. These seventy-four works of micro-fiction, all under 250 words, showcase the work of a vital community made up of publishers, readers, writers, and lovers of flash fiction. The work comes from or was inspired by lectures and prompts discussed at the first literary festival entirely dedicated to flash fiction held in Bath last June.

Just like flash fiction at work, where much of the story is set in the implied, the anthology is an iceberg of what happened at the festival. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The life of those stories goes beyond their words and also suggests the thriving energy present at the festival, the communion, the growth.
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Help for low-income writers – in 1,000 words or less
K. M. Elkes

Ken reading at the launch of Flash Fiction Festival One.

Though I may not have as many hats as Bartholomew Cubbins (apologies if you are confused by the Dr Seuss reference here), I’m wearing a fair few for this year’s Flash Fiction Festival.

In the run-up to the festival I’m trying to get media coverage of the event (so if you’re reading this and maybe have a show on Radio 4 or write a literary column for the Guardian, then feel free to get in touch!).

During the Festival I will be popping up as Editor of The A3 Review – a short poetry and prose magazine that folds like a map – which I co-edit alongside Writing Maps publishers Shaun Levin. We’re aiming to provide all festival-goers with a selection of back issues absolutely free.
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Christopher Allen has Something to Say

I’m getting pumped about the UK’s second annual flash fiction festival, and it’s only March. Last year was inspiring, and I’m sure this year will serve up more of the same.

This year is particularly exciting for me. I’ve just published a collection of flash: Other Household Toxins (Matter Press), an eclectic grouping of 48 stories from the last 10 years that I hope shows the breadth of what’s possible with flash. I’ll be reading from the collection and also signing books at the flash fiction festival in July.

I’ll also be leading the workshop “Do You Have Something to Say?” because I think this is one of the most important topics we can discuss these days as writers of flash. In my opinion, our best stories reveal something about our nature and purpose while challenging us to see these often tragic subjects from fresh angles. I’ve made a commitment to myself starting in 2018 to write only stories that rip me apart—even if this means I write only a few. At the workshop in July, we’ll be talking about how difficult it is to write stories like this and how to avoid their pitfalls.
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A Flash Guide to V. Press with Sarah Leavesley

In summer 2018, V. Press celebrates its fifth birthday. It’s a very, very delightful coincidence that it also marks the publication of our fifth fiction title!

The press was originally set up and launched at Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2013. But it only really got going in 2015, with three poetry pamphlets. In 2016, V. Press published three poetry pamphlets, a poetry collection and our first flash pamphlet. This increased to nine titles in 2017, with a similar schedule for 2018.
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