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CLMP Publishers Literature & Fiction - Short Stories & Anthologies

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The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field

ISBN: 9780978984861
Binding: Paperback
Editor: Tara L. Masih
Pages: 208
Trim: 6 x 8.5 inches
Published: 05/12/2009

With its unprecedented gathering of 25 brief essays by experts in the field, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction meets the growing need for a concise yet creative exploration of the re-emerging genre popularly known as flash fiction. The book's introduction provides, for the first time, a comprehensive history of the short short story, from its early roots and hitherto unknown early publications and appearances, to its current state and practice. This guide is a must for anyone in the field of short fiction who teaches, writes, and is interested in its genesis and practice.

Steve Almond, Rusty Barnes, Randall Brown, Mark Budman, Stace Budzko, Robert Olen Butler, Ron Carlson, Pamelyn Casto, Kim Chinquee, Stuart Dybek, Pia Z. Ehrhardt, Sherrie Flick, Vanessa Gebbie, Tom Hazuka, Nathan Leslie, Michael Martone, Julio Ortega, Pamela Painter, Jayne Anne Phillips, Jennifer Pieroni, Shouhua Qi, Bruce Holland Rogers, Robert Shapard, Deb Olin Unferth, Lex Williford


Tara L. Masih received a BA in English and a minor in sociology from C. W. Post College, and an MA in Writing and Publishing from Emerson College (where she taught freshman composition and grammar). As an in-house editor, she worked for Little, Brown's college division and Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, and she freelanced for companies such as Ballantine Books and Harvard University Press. She has received four national book awards for her editing, a Massachusetts Cultural Council finalist fiction grant, and she is founder of the acclaimed Best Small Fictions series.


"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

"How many words does it take to tell an important story? In the many words contained in this Field Guide, written by masters of the short-short fiction form, you may begin to understand. Or not. There always remains the mystery that is fiction itself. Let's be glad." - James Thomas, co-editor of Sudden Fiction and Flash Fiction Forward

"The Field Guide to Flash Fiction is an exhaustive, thoughtful, idea-producing guide to one of the lesser-known forms of literary expression, the short short story—I can't imagine that there's anything left out of this remarkable anthology of essays about flash fiction. It should prompt the neophyte and the veteran writer to get busy and try one of these difficult stories." - Anne Bernays, co-author of What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers

"As professors of English, we find The Field Guide invaluable. The essays are cogent, clear and short—to the point. Students wishing to practice creative fiction are provided with tools, theory and inspiration throughout each step of the composition process. Writers reading about literature and then reading the literature itself will discover how effectively The Field Guide presents concepts as it eschews academic jargon in favor of a hands-on approach." - Jon Redfern and Jack David, editors of Short Short Stories

"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 Hemingway'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." - Publishers Weekly