Author Topic: Flash Fiction from a non-genre perspective  (Read 2802 times)


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on: January 26, 2014, 08:08:37 PM
Hello all

I recently finished a book I'd had on my shelf for a number of years - an anthology called SHORT SHORTS edited by Irving and Illona Howe from 1982.  It specifically focuses on what Howe (in 1982) terms "short short fiction" (and what I had first heard referred to as "microfiction" back in the 90s and which we all know now as "flash fiction") in literature.

Anyway, it's an excellent collection (how could it not be, containing works from so many literary masters?) and, if you're a genre writer or genre reader who respects Literature as an idea, and looks to it as equally for guidance and inspiration as one does to the classics of the particular genre you enjoy/create in, and have an interest in the idea of flash fiction, what are it's approaches and limits, you might want to check out this nice little book through interlibrary loan or pick up a copy cheap on the web somewhere.

Howe's Introduction is particularly illuminating as he begins to pick at the threads of what's considered successful short short fiction and categorize the approaches - it serves as a nice essay on the idea of flash fiction in Literature.  I've scanned and posted the salient parts of this introduction into Goodread's quotes function (as I often do with great writing in works I read) so if you'd rather just look at his ideas without recourse to the works he's referencing in the book proper (although it would be a crime to deny yourself some of them - I'd forgotten how wonderful Sherwood Anderson is, just for one!)  they can be read at the following link (the last three quotes):

Hopefully this may help stir some thoughts regarding genre and its use of the form (Howe's "Life Rolled Up" and "Like A Fable" categories ended up coinciding with my own thoughts on what makes for good horror flash fiction) - both in how it is similar and how it may be different.

Thanks for your time

Ye Olde Editor


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Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 03:01:18 AM
Thanks for posting this, Shawn, as well as the Goodreads sections. I'll add the whole book to my reading list. I think reading some historical, literary short shorts sounds very educational.

Medical Microfiction: Stories About Science