The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Flash is Finally Here–And They Like Me!

with 3 comments

A piece of mail I’ve been waiting for all summer finally arrived two weeks ago.  It was the April, 2015 issue of Flash:  The International Short-Short Story Magazine.  I was contacted last May by the nice folks who edit and publish Flash at the University of Chester in Chester, UK; they wanted to put up my flash fiction piece “Zadie.”  I wasn’t going to argue with them, of course, though we did debate a little about line and content edits.  And I had to get my head around why I was contacted in May about inclusion in an issue that was intended for April, but they said it was all a matter of busy-ness and marking piles of undergraduate papers at the end of the term.  I know that racket all too well.

I’m happy.  Flash is a reputable international publication that in the very least has included a writer for whom I hold a great deal of respect because of her stories in The New Yorker.  I’m honored to be joining their ranks, even if it is to the tune of a mere 314 words.  That’s not a typo—my story is 314 words, and it’s not even close to being the shortest one in the issue.

How does one write such a short, short piece of fiction?  Kinda like one writes poetry, I guess.  Seems logical, too, that since I’ve been studying and practicing poetry and fiction for the last five years that I’d “discover” a way to merge them.  What happened was that I arrived early at a local school board meeting last January and happened to have my journal with me.  I challenged myself to write something that I could complete in the 30 minutes before the meeting started; plus, I wanted it to end with a compelling visual image that would act metaphorically.  I wasn’t quite sure what that image would be, but I had an opening line that I deliberately crafted to be rude, profane, and shocking if only to get the reader’s attention right away:

“Suzi was the type of girl who would fuck on a pile of coats on a bed in a spare bedroom at a party.”

I wrote fast and hard, and then let it go by the time the meeting started.  I didn’t visit it again until I typed it two weeks later, and then I pottered around with it here and there over the next few weeks.  I wrote another story along with it, but I really only viewed the pieces as practice.  I showed them to a writer friend who really liked them, which was enough to encourage me to submit them to Flash when I found a listing for the publication while scrolling through a database of publications that were accepting stories.  I was surprised to hear back from them because I hadn’t really thought much of the piece.

So now I’ve got an international publication to my credit.  I’m pretty happy about that.  A copy of Flash will cost you about $14, but I can save you the money.  If you text “pure genius” to 847-528-2873, I’ll text you a PDF of “Zadie.”  And hey—it’s only half as long as this blog post!

P.S.  Lest you think I got away with a potboiler writing stunt, the opening line mentioned above is not what was published.  Instead, it was this:

“I practically heard the synapses firing in Zadie’s brain the moment she started scheming.”

P.P.S.  That second piece of flash fiction I wrote along with “Zadie”?  Nobody seems to want it.  I’ll put it up later this week and you can decide the quality of it yourself.


Written by seeker70

September 29, 2015 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. congrats, my friend. h

    September 30, 2015 at 11:16 am

  2. […] “State of the Union” came to me last winter in a flurry of short-short pieces I was writing.  I had poetry on my mind after last year’s Poem-a-Day Chapbook Challenge, and the concision I had been practicing (along with the use of symbol, inference, and all kinds of other stuff) paid off when I got a few ideas for non-poetic writing.  I wrote three short-short pieces, and “State of the Union” is the second to be published (I mentioned the first back in September). […]

  3. […] and toilet paper; when it was at first, I figured the story would just be practice.  But my prior experiences with publishing flash fiction told me that a compelling final image would help take the story where […]

    Identity | The Seeker

    August 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm

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