Tuesday, 17 June 2008


Over the last week, I have been writing and polishing my essay for the forthcoming Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, ready to send to Tara Masih, the editor ... somewhere over the other side of the Atlantic.

I feel very privileged to be asked to contribute to this guide, and must be one of the only Brits on the list - if not the only Brit on the list.

here's the gen:

The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction:
Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field
Edited by Tara L. Masih

and from the Rose Metal Press website:

Rose Metal Press, Inc.
is an independent, not-for-profit publisher of hybrid genres specializing in the publication of short short, flash, and micro-fiction; prose poetry; novels-in-verse or book-length linked narrative poems; and other literary works that move beyond the traditional genres of poetry, fiction, and essay to find new forms of expression.

In observing the literary community, we have seen that many writers are doing fruitful and exciting work in these hybrid genres, but they have limited opportunities to publish that work because few commercial publishers accept such submissions due to concerns with classification and marketability. Our mission is to focus on supporting these transgressive and unusual works, thereby helping to expand the field of publishing, as well as the range of opportunities open to authors.

Founded in January 2006 by Abigail Beckel and Kathleen Rooney, Rose Metal Press plans to put out three beautifully produced titles per year.

I have been mulling what to say for some months, ever since I agreed to contribute. Tara L Masih's job is to ensure that her team do not all come up with too-similar themes for their essays, and I decided early on to focus on the importance of opening flash fiction well, how to hook your reader quickly without strangling them. (!)

I also talk about the process of flash writing as opposed to flash fiction the product... to give readers who haven't met it a fabulous tool for the toolkit.

Such fun! First draft goes off this morning.


Sarah Hilary said...

Oh exciting, Vanessa! Can't wait to read it. Do post a link when it's available, yes?

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Of course! It wont be until 2009... so don't hold your breath!

meanwhile, here's a list of the contributors...

Writers, teachers, and editors of flash fiction.... wow!

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

Bob Thurber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vanessa Gebbie said...

Hello Bob

Nice to 'see' you again. I visited your website... was going to drop you an email... but you're hiding!

I guess a story finds its own correct level, like water. When it finds the exact level, that is perfect. Some stories need thousands of words and others need a few.

Seems to me that its a tad crazy for the establishment to label flash/micro fiction 'easy' and think of it as a rehearsal on the way to a proper short story. And of course the short story is only a practice round for a novel.(!)

Margaret Attwood did fine with The Tent, and Dan Rhodes wowed people with Anthropology... two among many writers of great short shorts. Seems that readers are already hooked.

Good luck with your book, too. I look forward to that one!

all best