Alternative thesauruses

So, you know how much I love the thesaurus as a writing ...

Economize with setting descriptions

With length of prose being the perennial challenge in flash storytelling, making ...

Fans by Sue William Silverman

If you haven’t checked out Brevity magazine online yet, you need to ...

Writing Tips & Sample Stories

On hiatus – See you in 2015

My teaching and blog activities are on hiatus until 2015 while I attend to other business. Thanks so much for your participation this year and, in the meantime, please keep practicing flash creative non-fiction. What is read in 5 minutes can be remembered for a lifetime!

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Writing Wonder: Riff on a random Word

I’d like to share my ultra-favorite writing exercise with you. Pick up any book that’s close at hand. Close your eyes. Open the book and place your finger randomly on a page. Write a story using that word as inspiration (or move your finger until you can). Alternate: Start your story with an eye-catching phrase […]

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The power of family stories

I’m resurrecting this post because the article cited is so affirming.  Affirmation is welcome even when recycled, right? ——————————————— Storytelling hit the news recently, in the New York Times no less, with research regarding the importance of family stories on child development. Bruce Feiler authored the article about a study conducted by Marshall Duke at Emory […]

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The Wheels of Fortune by Peter Hessler

This story perfectly captures the charm of a village and its people, a cultural trait illuminated by the routines of the wider world, and the author’s hilarious ex-pat take on it all. I discovered it via Longform’s compilation of 25 Favorite Unlocked New Yorker Articles, which quickened my pulse at first glimpse. Please take a […]

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Summer writing prompts

I’ve been enjoying reading Abilgail Thomas’ book, Thinking About Memoir. It offers many succinct and thought provoking observations as well as a boat load of compelling writing prompts, and all in a slim 108 pages. One reviewer writes this perfect assessment: “If [you] aren’t afraid to dig deep, zero in on details, write an honest […]

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Create associations for your reader

This great advice is about the associations you create with the words you choose in your story, and the need for mindful precision. It’s focused on poets and adjectives, but applies equally to flash story writers and to nouns and verbs … Ted Kooser, in the Poetry Home Repair Manual, writes:  You may have been […]

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Blind your inner editor

I was talking about Flash Memoirs at my book club the other day and a fellow writer/reader threw out a brilliant idea: To stun your inner editor into giving you a moment’s peace, use a symbol font such as Wingdings, or change your font to white, while writing on your computer.  When you’re ready to review […]

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Ars Poetica, Sort Of by Kathleen Lewis

This is a great piece, published in Treehouse literary magazine, about writing … and feeling … and …   Ars Poetica, Sort Of by Kathleen Brewin Lewis Because you think your poetry has become too full of clear skies and morning birdsong, you begin breaking your pills in half. There’s a little line in the […]

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Best flash memoir collections

These are books I would classify as flash memoir collections and great reads: – I Remember by Joe Brainard (1975) – Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman (1995) – The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard (1998) – My Life as a List by Linda Rosenkrantz (1999) – Safekeeping: Some True Stories […]

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You know you’re a flash writer when …

- You get peevish reading a preamble. – You know eight synonyms for “short.” – You guzzle Brevity magazine like a morning cuppa joe. –  You can whack 2000 words down to 800 words in 10 minutes flat. –  You couldn’t write in passive voice to save your mother. –  You have 500 publishing credits. […]

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Moving Water, Tucson by Peggy Shumaker

This is a story I read aloud in Flash Memoir 101 class, and is the first piece in the Short Takes anthology. It’s a great example of making a story out of something small and beautifully illustrates the traits of good flash stories. If you like it I hope you’ll read more from Peggy Shumaker […]

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From vignettes to book

I’m pulling this post from July’12 back to the top of the blog because it’s such useful and inspiring information, and it was mentioned in today’s Nat’l Assoc of Memoir Writer’s telesummit. If you missed that, you’ll be able to download an audio file soon from —————————————– Guest post by Kathleen Pooler As I […]

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