FLASH!: Writing the Very Short Story 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
- Publishers Weekly
“[Dufresne] provides many samples of flash fiction, including graphic ones, by a wide array of writers . . . with some sharp critical analysis, prompts, and exercises along the way. . . . [A] good place to learn how to write some really, really short [stories].”
- Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
By John Dufresne
Reviewed by C. J. Singh (Berkeley, CA)
An Excellent Teach-Yourself Book on Writing Short Stories
John Dufresne, a professor of Creative Writing at Florida International University, has published several highly acclaimed novels, screenplays, and coaching books. Introducing his new coaching book, Dufresne writes, "I learned to write novels by writing short stories and learned to write short stories by writing very short stories before they had a snappy name" Flash (page xii).
In the 255-page book, replete with quotations and examples from many accomplished authors, Dufresne lucidly explains Creative-Writing basics, including: Choosing "Points of View" (pp. 80 - 113); Story Structuring in the chapter titled "A Formal Feeling Comes" (pp.115 - 186); Evoking Imagery in the chapter titled "The Art of the Glimpse" (pp. 187- 210). He coaches readers how-to write short stories, prose-poems, and shows graphic examples of illustrating them. Very impressive. I plan to assign this book as the opening text in teaching my creative-writing workshops.
Dufresne's writing that I first read was his coaching book "The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction," published in 2003. Studying this excellent book, I wrote my first 1500-word short story that was required for admission to the MFA degree program of my choice. Next, while I was in the MFA program, I read his second coaching book, "Is Life Like This? : A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months." The subtitle's "Six Months" enticed me. I posted my enthusiastic review on amazon.com. The review received 63 positive votes -- many more than the book's other amazon-reviews.
In his third coaching book, FLASH!, published in 2018, I saw Dufresne parenthetic note: "It might take years to write a novel (it does for me), months to write a story, but only weeks, maybe days, if you are lucky, a very short story" (page xii). Now, I know that even Dufresne "takes years to write a novel." Well, given that it took him years to write each of his earlier novels, his long experience probably led, as an act of grace, to create new guidelines for first-timers to write a novel in just six months. I followed his new guidelines, but I couldn't complete writing my 250-page novel in six months. Now I know why my book-review received 63 positive votes: the amazon voters were also enticed by "six months." A more accurate subtitle would be: " A Guide to Writing the First Draft of Your First Novel in Six Months."
I wish Dufresne's new book included a couple of chapters focusing on writing humorous flash-fictions. To learn how-to write humorous flash-fiction, I first studied the anthology SUDDEN FICTION INTERNATIONAL: 60 Short-Short Stories, edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas, published in 1989. It features stories by eminent writers such as Joyce Carol Oates and R.K. Narayan. Next, I studied books by humorists such as Gene Perret, Woody Allen, Dave Barry, Khushwant Singh, and specially the witty, satirical novels by Ishmael Reed, whose fiction-writing course I took at UC Berkeley.
I enjoyed reading his two earlier coaching books. And FLASH!, his third, even more. Dufresne is accurate in his assertion that a very short story can be written in days. I wrote my first short-short story in one sitting. Encouraged, I wrote several others, each in a couple of days. After a few more days of polishing the drafts, I mailed five of them to a leading literary magazine in San Francisco, "ZYZZYVZA." All five were published in its next issue.
Dufresne's FLASH! is an excellent teach-yourself book on writing short stories.
Five shining stars.