Thursday, April 26, 2012


Though I thoroughly enjoy reading them, I’ve come to realize that short stories—that form beloved by fiction writers—just aren’t for me. Years ago, before I knew much about structuring short fiction, I wrote vignettes/flash-fiction/list stories (i.e., stories under 2,000 words) without knowing that was what those forms were called. I liked the associations and abstractions I could play around with in those forms. Now, after years of trying to make my short fiction fit into a traditional story format, and suffering through workshops in which others tried to make my scenic/descriptive/abstract stories conform to that traditional format, I’ve decided to shed the idea that these alternate forms are somehow not “real” fiction and I’m once again experimenting again with list stories and vignettes. And, I have to say, it’s so much GD-fun.

I’ve got the beginnings of a few vignette-y pieces on my desktop and while they marinate, I started looking around at the current crop of short-short fiction journals. Poets and Writers lists journals that accept flash fiction, but I’ve also been checking out journals and website devoted to flash fiction entirely.

Among my favorite discoveries so far are Flashquake, a quarterly with the mission: “Words are meant to enlighten and to inspire.” and Six Sentences, which is exactly what it sounds like. There is also 3a.m., Vestal (“the longest running flash fiction magazine in the world”), and Freight Stories. I haven’t yet had a chance to delve fully into Double Room Journal, but am compelled by the fact that it’s both prose poetry and flash fiction, (the form that comes most naturally to me).

But my favorite by far was been Wigleaf, recommended to me by friend/novelist/writing teacher Susannah Felts, who has impeccable taste in pretty much everything. Read this one by Ellen Birkett Morris or this one by Delaney Nolan and you’ll be hooked too, regardless of your feelings on the short story versus flash fiction format.