Tag Archives: Library

Library Writers Group: Flash Fiction

11 Jul

Another yay for the library writers’ group! We talked about two things this time; July writing goals and Flash fiction. So, I’ve decided to set a goal for the month. I’ll report on it in my posts and in the monthly wrap up. I’ve started already, so don’t think I got a late start. Here’s my goal, short and simple: EDIT! I have a huge pile of critiqued stories and poems on my desk that are doing nothing for me. I’m going to get through the pile and then start revising my NaNo. If you follow me, you know I finished reading through it a while ago and now I’m going to make it a point to re-write the first 20. Hopefully they come out to more like 35 pages, but we’ll see what happens. The story now is 96 pages, so this will be a good solid chunk of the editing. Wish me luck!

The second thing we talked about was flash fiction. We shared this awesome article from the New York Times. One of the main things we got from it was the Iceberg Analogy. In short, it says that only 10% of the story is written, the other 90% is implied. A good example is the one given in the article, Ernest Hemingway’s story:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

We can get a lot from those five words. Why weren’t they ever worn? Were they the wrong size? Did the baby die? Were they stolen? We can make a story in our heads from that simple beginning.

Nicole commented how a lot of five-word stories like this are more poetic than they are prose. I can see this extending to short works because the Iceberg Analogy has to be used more. Poetry tends to give us less concrete detail and we have to rely on our imaginations to fill in the rest.

A member commented how he’s always been taught every story must have conflict and that in flash fiction, that was hard to do. But is implied conflict enough? There are several ways one could assume conflict in the example story. Does a writer have to state the conflict, or can it be implied?

We took a hand at our own flash fiction. I’ll share a couple here but I’m wondering if I should try submitting the rest to flash fiction magazines. We ere challenged to do stories no more than three sentences in length. Enjoy!

She measures, measures, again, makes a small mark, measures again, marked again, and finally with great trepidation, makes a short cut, defiling the polka-dot pattern with her will; her imposition. Again, again, and once more she repeats the process before she can lift up the perfect shape; the quilters’ ideal parallelogram with sharp edges which will ultimately be hidden in seams. With tears of joy in her eyes she lifts the scissors and ruler again to repeat and repeat and repeat.

Hearing that zipper finally go up makes me cry because the voice in my head is so loud as it screams, “YES! I DID IT!”

Do you write flash fiction? What do you think of mine?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

My Recent Bookish Quandaries

28 Mar

As the life of a bibliophile progresses, there’s bound to be a few stumbling blocks. I’ve had two recently that I’ll share with you, Reader. Maybe you can sympathize. Or maybe you’ll laugh at me. Either way, you can leave a comment (hint).

My first one was trying to find a gift for my father-in-law. My husband’s family are faint decedents of John Brown, an American abolitionist. When I heard that the winner of the National Book Award was about a young slave boy traveling around with Brown, I knew I wanted to get it for my father-in-law’s birthday. My problem is that I couldn’t remember the title… or the author.

I was that person that ever Barnes & Noble employee hates. I walked up to the customer service desk and said what I’m sure their least favorite words are: “I don’t remember the title but…”

Lucky for him, my ‘but’ wasn’t the color of the cover or what happened in it. I said, “…but it won the National Book Award and has the word ‘bird’ in the title.” <Insert funny look from employee here.> His internal groan became a shrug and he asked me if it was Alice Munro. “No,” I said. “She won the Nobel Prize for literature.” I like to think I re-gained his respect here. He was able to Google the 2013 National Book Award and found James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird on the Award Winner’s shelf. (If this just had a bigger sign, we wouldn’t have had this problem in the first place.) Quandary #1 solved.

My second quandary is something I discovered on Wednesday and I know many of my other bibliophiles have this same issue. Library holds ALWAYS come in all at once!



Here’s my hold list. I checked out Cabin Pressure because I saw that The Cuckoo’s Calling by ‘Robert Galbraith’ wasn’t due until 5-April. I needed an audiobook in the meantime. I’ve been waiting for this one since October so you could say I’m a little excited to get it. BUT THEN the library noticed how long the hold list is for And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and finally ordered a second copy of it, moving me very quickly from third to first on the hold list. This was quite unanticipated. I’ll get the copy as soon as it’s ordered, which could be any day now.

So I’m in the early middle of Cabin Pressure and I’m feeling some library pressure to put it aside for these holds because of the waiting lists. I know this isn’t a real problem, like hunger and oppression are real problems, but my OCD bookish side is freaking out.

Reader, have you ever had this problem? Or have you ever been on either end of the “I don’t remember the title but…” question? Leave me a comment and let me know! I can’t be alone in this world!

Until next time, write on!