If my students remember anything about me, it will probably be how much I love Flannery O’Connor, Robert Olen Butler, Pinckney Benedict, Charles Baxter and other literary heroes. If they remember anything I’ve said, it will probably have something to do with conflict, the accumulation of detail, change, meaning, or desire. Yearning, I remind them, … Continue reading On Desire
Faulkner warns that we should "kill our darlings," but I have a slightly different take on that natty piece of advice. Throwing out what feels like our best work is never easy, and in truth, I never actually throw mine away. Rather, I toss it into a virtual junk drawer where I can go back later and … Continue reading Cannibalize Your Darlings
The best source I've found for explaining how to write flash is this article by David Gaffney in the Guardian. When I discuss flash with my students, I follow this flash-fiction PowerPoint, which I built almost solely around Gaffney's advice. Then I share several of my favorite flash stories that can be found around the web. The … Continue reading How to Write Flash Fiction
In order to understand meaning in short fiction, you may also want to look back at "What is a Story, as Opposed to a Vignette?" whereby I attempt to define a short story, and "The Intersection of Pity & Fear: A Look at Endings in Short Fiction" where part of what I attempt to unravel … Continue reading What We Mean When We Talk About Meaning in Short Fiction
It has been several years ago now that I workshopped what I was then referring to as a "story" called "Barry Gibb is the Cutest Bee Gee" at the Tinker Mountain Writers' Workshop at Hollins University. I had whipped it out quite fast and at the last minute, as we are sometimes apt to do. But … Continue reading What is a Story, as Opposed to a Vignette?