From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Accessible enough for pleasure reading but instructive enough for the classroom, this volume brings together brief essays by 25 writers known for their talent in flash fiction, aka the "short short story," roughly defined as a tale "1-3 pages and 250-1,000 words" long. Along with personal musings on the genre, each author provides a prompt, and their own short piece to illustrate it. Editor and fiction writer Masih provides a remarkably thorough history of flash fiction, dating the phrase "short short story" to a 1926 issue of Collier's Weekly. Contributors include award-winning writer Jayne Anne Phillips, who writes that "one-page fiction should hang in the air of the mind like an image made of smoke"; Shouhua Qi shares her thoughts on the Chinese short short, which they also call a "Smoke-Long story," as in the time it takes to smoke a cigarette; and Vanessa Gebbie, who reminds us of Hemmingway's famous 6-word story: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Robert Olen Butler and Steve Almond discuss the difference between flash fiction and prose poetry, the former remarking that "fiction is the art form of human yearning"; Almond, meanwhile, chronicles his journey from bad poetry to good short stories. An expansive list of further reading rounds out this smart, fun, provocative guide to an increasingly popular form.
A thoughtful and thought-provoking resource, casting fresh light on the practice of flash fiction. Each essay is a gem, encrusted with outstanding prompts and valuable exercises. Anyone who hopes to write (or teach) the very short fiction form needs to read this book. --Dinty W. Moore, editor of The MAMMOTH Book of Miniscule Fiction
There are many writing guides brought in on the wave of creative writing courses steadily multiplying across the globe. There are good ones and bad ones: the Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction
is definitely a good one; I would even say a very good one. It doesn't promise unparalleled success or anything else it can't deliver, but does provide real insight into how writers work in this medium doing by exactly what it says on the cover - providing guidance that gently leads the would-be flash writer along the path to making their own work truly shine. --Jacky Taylor, How Publishing Really
Works, online July 27, 2009