Thursday, December 07, 2006

Flash Fiction

I love to write flash fiction, but truly it isn't good for me unless I can develop the short pieces into longer ones. I have some nice shorts from Flashing in the Gutters that I'd love to work on but many sites frown on stories that have appeared in any form. I guess I could get around it by sending the short pieces to referreed journals too and then they would feel more finished. Or would they?
There is something so democratic about sending them to zines that put them up without the fuss. Also here is an opportunity to experiment, to try something new. I am so ambivalent.
This follows an invitation by D.Z. Allen to submit some flash to his new site. I probably will do it 'cause I love flash. What do you think? Do you regard stories published indiscrimately on zines as valuable as ones that go through a selection process? Do you use the flash as a blueprint for future longer stories?


Christa M. Miller said...

I write whatever story pops into my head. If it's flash, I consider sending it to a flash zine. But often it turns into something longer as I go along, which is why I don't have much flash published. LOL

When you say "referreed," do you mean more than one person reads and makes a decision? All the zines that I've subbed to have at least two people reading and weighing in. Even if they don't take long on a decision, there is still *some* review.

Sorry, sleep deprived and thus confused here....

Anonymous said...

"Do you regard stories published indiscrimately on zines as valuable as ones that go through a selection process?"

Do you mean valuable in terms of pub credits? Then, no. They don't carry the weight of a refereed journal.

I was reading on Miss Snark's blog that when she gets someone mentioning an online publication she checks to see if it's open to all or there's a selection process. That makes sense to me. In trying to build up a portfolio, I'd much rather find my way into Ploughshares. (An extreme example, but...)

But valuable to me as a reader? You gave me a journal once, New Letters, I think it was. I'd much rather read Flashing in the Gutters than anything in there, or Mudflat Quarterly. They're just better stories. Very few clunkers.

This divide between what's Respected and what makes your life happier for the reading is just something that's causing me a lot of grief lately. There's a rift between what my livejournal friends love and praise and the restraint and reserve necessary for the ivory tower. When the truth is, I'm just a white-trash fanfic writer at heart.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

I wouldn't worry about it. Write the pieces. If you expand on a flash fiction piece, so what? It hasn't been printed before. Something like it has, but this is now a different story.

If someone has a problem with that then obviously that piece is not right for their publication. Send them something else and send the new piece somewhere where it will be accepted. God knows there are a lot of places that are dying for new material. You just have to find the ones that fit your stories.

Hmm. I find it interesting that I think of this as finding a lpace to fit the stories rather than finding stories that fit a place. Something to think about.

As to Anonymous' comment on the difference between what's respected and what makes your life happier to read here's something to think about.

Literary writers win awards. Genre writers get paid. Not to hammer on lit fic, because I happen to love the stuff (sometimes), but it tends to be a somewhat insular world.

I'm reminded of a story by Neal Stephenson who wrote Snow Crash and a number of other NY Times bestsellers. He was asked to go to a writer's conference and speak, essentially because they wanted someone who would bring in the massive geek crowd.

It worked. He was so popular that the place looked like a ghost town when his panels were done.

So, he's talking to one of the writers, a woman from a university and she asks him where he teaches. She can't quite grasp the fact that he doesn't teach, he just writes. Full time. It's his job.

This idea was so alien to her because her entire experience of writers was based on the academic lit fic MFA model. She didn't know who he was, in essence, because he was famous.

There tends to be a lot of bashing on lit fic because it's often perceived as snobbish. I think, rather that it's isolated.

Sure, I'd like to find my way into Ploughshares, too. But until they start taking stories about hookers with coke problems who decide to kill a john because he's trying to cheat her, I probably won't be.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I sent a story out to lit journals today where a fourteen year old is seduced, used as a drug courier, and eventually discarded by an older man. Interesting to see if they reject it as a genre piece or just plain reject it. I could have sent it to the crime zines, but it may be not f..... up enough for them. Right in the middle.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Now that's a good question. How f'd up does it have to be to fit into crime?

Underage seduction, a drug mule, discarded by the older lover. Sounds pretty noir to me.

And now you've got me wondering how much more f'd up my novel needs to be. It's not nearly screwed up enough to be noir, I'm thinking. God knows I kill enough people, but there aren't nearly enough twisted sexual situations.

Need to work on that.

Oh, and if they don't take the story, I'd love to read it. Always dig your stuff.

Steven said...

I write what I like and try to find a home for it. I have bunches of stories that aren't going anywhere any time soon. I thought sending stuff in to Tribe's Flashing in the Gutters might be a bad experience because he's willing to put up material without editing - that is, he puts up what gets sent in without exceptions (or at least not many of them). It turned out I edited myself as stringently as anyone ever had. It looks like everyone who submits to that site does the same.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sadly, I too have bunches of stories going no place. And sometimes I never do figure out why 'cause they seem no better or worse than the ones that get published.

anne frasier said...

i've just written a story for D.Z. Allen's blog. i'm a flash fiction addict. as soon as i got his email i could not shut off my head even though i really didn't want to write one!! i knew i wouldn't get a decent night of sleep until i came up with a story. i'm pathetic! haven't sent it yet. maybe tomorrow.