Herewith, for your reading pleasure, is an excerpt from a fantasy piece by Dominic. Enjoy – and comment on the Quillery fiction page! (Link also posted there) .
I’m trying to gather more interesting flash fiction pieces, to inspire my brain to think in >1000 word narratives. Does anyone have any recommendations? In case anyone else is doing the same and also because it’s just fun to gush about writing, I thought I’d compile a list of authors/flashes I’ve found inspiring in the past – Sophia
- Raymond Carver – ‘Mr. Coffee and Mr. Fix it’ – Because I don’t often read short story collections in order (shamefully, I search for the shortest piece and see if I like it) this was the first Raymond Carver story I ever read, and it utterly blew me away. It’s basically just a monolog of a man talking about his past, but because it’s Carver, the tone is magnificently moving, and authentic. Find it here online: http://www.riverdell.org/cms/lib05/NJ01001380/Centricity/Domain/137/MrCoffee.pdf
- George Saunders – ‘Sticks’ – it’s fun, sad, hyper-condensed and like the flash above but even more so, it manages an almost impossibly moving journey for its teeny word count (392). Find it here: http://www.unm.edu/~gmartin/535/Sticks.htm
- Anything by Etgar Keret: Etgar Keret is an Israeli Author whose main focus is flash fiction – not surprising, as he writes it astonishingly well. To me, he’s the best flash fiction writer there is. His fable-like stories are playful, irreverent, bitter and profound. and more often than not, surreal. If you can easily find a copy of his collection ‘Suddenly, a knock at the door’ read it. If not, a liberal amount of stuff is floating around the interwebs: like these three: http://kgbbar.com/lit/fiction/three_stories_bottle_pipe_asthma_attack or those two: http://bombmagazine.org/article/2810/two-stories or this one: https://www.theguardian.com/books/interactive/2012/feb/23/unzipping-etgar-keret-short-story
- Lydia Davis – everything from ‘Letter to a Frozen Peas Manufacturer’ to ‘Break it down’ Lydia Davis writes mostly extremely short fiction, mostly in the same dry, distinctive, weirdly unstorylike voice. The effect she achieves in stories like ‘Letter…’ is both absorbing and distancing. Occasionally, she uses the same techniques to create something simmering and claustrophobic, like her sad and linguistically angry piece ‘Break it down’. Sometimes this style is irritating- personally, I think her stories are best read in their collections, as her voice is most appreciable once the reader has become imbibed in it. That said, for sampling purposes, here is the frozen peas thingamajig: http://www.thewhitereview.org/fiction/letter-to-a-frozen-peas-manufacturer/ and a post of Break it Down: http://smotherings.blogspot.ca/2012/06/break-it-down-by-lydia-davis_05.html
- Jenny Offill – Department of Speculation – this is a novel. So, no link. but it’s written in little vivid flash-like gems, and doesn’t feel much debt to explaining itself, in the same way short fiction doesn’t.
That’s it for me. If anyone has any flash fictions that astonished them, or tips on how to think in compacted ideas, I want to know about them!
Hi guys, thought I would set up another book club. Good to see what you lovely people are reading.
I’m currently still on Lincoln in the Bardo as I haven’t had much time lately.
Hi guys I’m in. Thanks to Sophia for giving the link to my novel. Been rather busy of late. I have best man speech to prepare and I’m tarting up my final assignment for you all to enjoy. It’s a corker! Well done Rachel and Sophia for allowing us to continue. X
Here’s a link to Dominic’s novel, The Boy Who Walked Too Far! Expect rich, vibrantly detailed storytelling and great skeins of intrigue:
Hello Andrew! Yes, great minds think alike! All those things you mention can be shared on this site under one or other of the page headings listed under the header image.
Pieces of writing on which we are working would come under ‘Quillery’ or else ‘Question Box’, if we had a specific question on which we wanted feedback.
Interesting facts or quotes, hints and tips, notifications about competitions, book festivals etc would come under ‘Quacks’. (By analogy with tweets, these would be short posts.)
Pieces of writing connected to a specific challenge or event, (e.g. Flash Fiction Day on June 24th) would come under ‘Quests’. I thought this would be a good idea so that we can easily direct people to a particular body of work, e.g. so that the Flash Fiction Day people can to straight to this particular page which will be relevant to their event.
Sophia has also created ‘Queries’ for anyone who wanted to contact us. This isn’t relevant while the site is private but if/when we go public it would mean, for example, that a lonely writer out there could ask to join us.
‘Quiver’ (I love it, Sophia!) is the name of the homepage, on which we can perhaps give a short account of how we have come together through ‘Creative Writing Online with Eliza Robertson’.
Andrew, you will see that we got inspired by the letter ‘Q’, following your brilliant suggestion of our name!
The only thing you mention for which we have no category is ‘examples of excellent writing from elsewhere’. Perhaps we should have a separate page for this? Or else people could use the Quacks page, giving a link to the piece of writing, rather than quoting in full?
We could of course have a ‘Quotes’ page….!
Wayhay! I’m in! Just wanted to say thank you to Sophia and Rachel for putting together this potentially great resource for us. I hope that it will enable us to continue what we started with Eliza. I’m not quite sure how we will choose to use this site. One possibility may be to share pieces upon which we are working and ask other Quinklings to act as critical friends in helping us develop our work. Another may be to post interesting facts or quotes, hints and tips, examples of excellent writing from elsewhere, publishers desperate to promote our stuff, etc. It would be nice to share details of up and coming competitions and book festivals. Just my starters for ten but it would be great to know what people think.
Happy writing to all