Some new developments and extra responsibilities in my writing life have taken root over the past two weeks. I’ve been offered two new volunteer positions at Flashquake!
In case you don’t know, Flashquake is literary magazine that is both online and in print, specializing in flash fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction, as well as visual art and articles about the craft of writing. (Here’s the website – http://www.flashquake.org/ – go check it out!)
I’m all ready the resident interviewer for the magazine, a position I’ve held for the past year or so which allows me to peek into the minds of many talented artists and which I thoroughly enjoy. (Shameless plug – I even have my picture in the Editor’s section!) However, when two new segments opened up Cindy Bell, the chief editor, thought of me and asked if I’d like to head them. I, of course, said yes.
The new segments are thusly:
Critique-A-Flash – this is where writers of every sort are encouraged to submit their flash pieces (1,000 words or less) to Flashquake, I would then read their work and critique it then upload the flash submission and the accompanying critique on the website for all to see. There will be a new flash and critique up every Thursday evening. Yesterday (3/8/2012) the first one uploaded successfully – http://www.flashquake.org/critique-a-flash-overdue-by-jerry-guarino/ – go see! Now I know some writers may be a bit hesitant to submit since their work and the comments will be online (scary!) but we feel it will better their craft overall, better other writer’s skills, and give the readers something to peruse over until the next issue comes out. Plus I give fair critiques with both praise and flaws analyzed and discussed. Are you brave enough to submit?
Flash Book Review – this explanation should come as no surprise; each month I will read an anthology of flashes then put a review online. Hopefully it will encourage others to read more flash fiction (or steer clear of certain ones, depending on the content, haha). A new review will be uploaded each month but we have yet to decide on the day. Currently I’m leaning towards the end of the month, maybe on the 30th? I don’t know quite yet about the date but I’ll definitely keep you posted. I do have a book picked out for this month’s review … and now that I think about it I need to get cracking on reading it!
I’m excited to have these opportunities, it’s a chance to help fellow writers and better my own skill at the same time, a chance to read new works and review them! Plus I get to see the inside world of a literary magazine and a sneak peek at the competition too. Yes, they’re volunteer positions but I’m still getting out there, getting experience, getting to do what I love. It’s a good thing.
As a writer, I’m always surprised at what we put ourselves through for our craft. I mean, think about it, a flash is a piece that’s 1,000 words or less (we’re on the high end here, I’ve seen places where it’s less than 800 words) and within that confinement you have to somehow develop a plotline and a narrator, form relatable characters, include a twist, and end it gracefully. In 1,000 words – most likely less. Daunting is the word that comes to mind, like bungee jumping off a bridge with only water to catch you, you want to because of the rush, the excitement, but you desperately don’t want to as well.
I’ve only written two flash pieces in my life, both 800 words, both took me about a week and a million re-writes to condense down. I have yet to submit them to places but it was certainly an experience. One that I will most likely dive into again one of these days.
What’s your strategy, though, have you written flashes before?