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Author Stories/Articles Category
Kris Willcox
Kris Willcox
"To The Pool"

John’s been dead two weeks and Haley, their oldest, wants to go to the pool. “All right,” Jean tells her, but she doesn't like Haley's friends. In only a summer, the girls have begun to look cheap, th...

April 27, 2017

New Fiction
Shane Cashman
Shane Cashman
The Story Behind the Story: Why I'll Never Buy Another Peacock

I was buying milk. There were eighteen registers and only two were open. One was run by a human. The other was a self-checkout. The line for the self-checkout was much l...

April 24, 2017

The Story Behind the Story
"Why I'll Never Buy Another Peacock"

The Solution Center was one of those places that sold everything–though solutions were its specialty. The checkout line went single file out the center, past the ...

December 25, 2016

New Fiction
Bjorn Svendsen
Bjorn Svendsen
"The Apple Tree"

Two boys walk across a forgotten field towards a lone apple tree. The tree stands so wide and tall it can be seen from their homeroom window, its trunk looming below fat branches. School is out for...

April 20, 2017

New Fiction
Steve Yates
Steve Yates
"Tips and Rules to Use in Writing Historical Fiction"

These are the lecture notes I used at Missouri State in W. D. Blackmon’s class and at the Creamery Arts Center. Have any of you written fiction set at a time before you had the ability to ...

April 17, 2017

Fiction Craft
Book Festivals: Why Authors Should Spend the Money to Travel to Book Festivals"

...

March 27, 2017

Developing a Writing Life
"Being Away from What You Write: What Does Distance Do to Fiction’s Sense of Place?"

In Dr. Brooks Blevins’s class in Ozarks Literature and History, the first question a student asked struck at the heart of what I am wondering at now. A longing for the Ozarks, being away from the Ozar...

March 06, 2017

Advice / Suggestions
"On the Value of Publishing with a University Press"

This week, November 11-17, is University Press Week, a seven-day celebration of what university presses are, what they do, and what great value they add to their communities, those scholarly, state, a...

February 20, 2017

Editing/Publishing
Interview with Steve Yates

So is this finally the sequel to Morkan’s Quarry? Yes, but really is five years wait all that long? I started both novels in 1993, so what’s five more years? ...

January 23, 2017

New Fiction
"Your No One is My Everyone: Some Thoughts on Publishing and the Sage Advice of Businessmen"

The first time I fully realized the value of what I do for a living, I was stricken with the stomach flu. Illness is the one excuse to stop when you work at marketing anything. At that time I marketed...

December 05, 2016

Editing/Publishing
Richard Rutherford
Richard Rutherford
"Ordinary Wishes"

In the morning when I wake, I pull on my cloak. The heavy material draws my shoulders down and back. I have no choice but to stand straight, aligning my spine beneath the ...

April 15, 2017

New Fiction
Why I Write: Richard C Rutherford

My father had coon dogs. When I was a kid I listened to coon hunters tell stories, whittling and keeping my mouth shut. I noticed that the good stories were repeated—often changed in small ways. No on...

September 14, 2016

Why I Write
Penn House
Penn House
"Dying Unread"

I had always been forgetful, but I always forget the things I shouldn't and remember the ones I should. I couldn't remember why my grandmother kept on hitting me with a hanger when I was a child. S...

April 13, 2017

New Fiction
Ray Morrison
Ray Morrison
The Story Behind the Story: "Swing"

This story was the quick result of a confluence of weather and memory. Our house, like any house my wife and I will ever own, is fronted by a long front porch upon which we spend a lot of our downt...

April 10, 2017

The Story Behind the Story
"Swing"

The house is too silent. Garland stands at the screen door staring across the dry, fallow front field. It’s hot outside. Hot enough for old thirsts to tempt him. But there is no beer in the fridge now...

March 20, 2017

New Fiction
"The Fish"

I asked my father about the fish. It was the only thing Mom didn’t take with her when she left us. We hadn’t talked about her all day, Dad and I. Not a word since I explained to him last night how I’d...

August 01, 2011

Featured Fiction
John Meyers
John Meyers
"The Blue Maverick Crew"

Last night the Blue Maverick Crew smashed several windows at Deirdre Schenk’s house and fled to safety through the woods. Running after us was Deirdre’s drunk father, a six-foot-four inch truck driver...

April 08, 2017

New Fiction
Steven Petite
Steven Petite
"The Bonds that Break Us: Daniel Magariel's One of the Boys Review"

If the goal of a fiction writer is to say much with few words, Daniel Magariel’s debut novel, One of the Boys, is a near perfect encapsulation of this pursuit. In 165 brisk pages,...

April 05, 2017

Reviews
"A Life in Theory: A Review of Mark Greif's Against Everything"

In 2004, a group of friends founded the literary magazine n + 1. They wanted to publish a brand of criticism that they believed didn’t exist. In its twelve years of existence, the...

November 09, 2016

Reviews
"Under the Biome: T.C. Boyle's The Terranauts Review"

There were times when reading The Terranauts where I felt like I had read this story before. It wasn’t that it necessarily had a strikingly similar plot or anything nefarious; no,...

November 08, 2016

Reviews
"Ambitions and Obsessions: Benjamin Rybeck’s The Sadness Review"

It’s always intriguing to read novels that utilize different forms of entertainment as plot devices and methods for relaying themes. Novels about poets, dancers, actors, writers of works...

November 01, 2016

Reviews
"Unfathomable Scope: Emily Nemens' Butcher Papers Review"

One of the more intriguing, yet under-read, forms of literature is the chapbook. A staple of popular culture at the outset of the printing press, nowadays, chapbooks are obscure little p...

October 28, 2016

Reviews
“Backgammon on the Brain: Jonathan Lethem’s A Gambler’s Anatomy Review”

In a recent New Yorker interview discussing his story, “A Gentleman’s Game,” Jonathan Lethem discusses his fascination with one of the oldest board games around, backgammon: ...

October 20, 2016

Reviews
"I Am The One Who Knocks: Bryan Cranston's A Life in Parts Review"

“Building a character is like building a house. Without a solid foundation, a base, you’re screwed. You’re going to collapse. An actor needs a core quality or essence for a character. Ev...

October 17, 2016

Reviews
"Loss and Longing: Brit Bennett's The Mothers Review

Each year is typically filled with a smattering of good debut novels, a handful or two of great ones, and a couple of undeniable standouts. The latter are the exceptiona...

October 06, 2016

Reviews
"Some Sort of Genius: Nell Zink's Private Novelist Review"

It’s not common for a literary writer to release multiple books in the same year or even in the span of a couple of years. So, naturally, Nell Zink released two books on the same day. In...

October 04, 2016

Reviews
"Hard to Quit: Nell Zink's Nicotine Review"

It shouldn’t have been surprising that Nell Zink’s follow-up to her critically claimed commercial debut, Mislaid, turned out to be zany, and borderline absurd. Af...

October 01, 2016

Reviews
"Compact and Boundless: Paulette Jiles News of the World Review"

It seems like every four or five years a novel comes around that is small in page count and physical size that somehow ends up feeling as expansive and weighty as the “big novels”—the br...

October 01, 2016

Reviews
"Here He Is: Jonathan Safran Foer Here I Am Review"

The first novel from Jonathan Safran Foer in eleven years is an unexpected reading experience. Foer seems like he has been a part of the American literary scene for much...

September 03, 2016

Reviews
A Writer's Writer: Colum McCann's Thirteen Ways of Looking

Irish writer Colum McCann is best known for his National Book Award winning novel, Let the Great World Spin. Despite winning one of the most prestigious literary prizes around, Mc...

April 03, 2016

Developing a Writing Life
"Stephen King The Short Story Writer: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams Review"

Stephen King is first and foremost known as a novelist. If you somehow haven’t read one of his books over the past fifty years, chances are you have seen one of the many wonderful adapta...

March 27, 2016

Reviews
"Joyce Carol Oates' The Lost Landscape is a Memoir for The Ages"

Memoirs written by famous writers are viewed by readers as special gifts, invites into the personal lives of novelists and short story writers who provide immense pleasure and insights o...

March 24, 2016

Reviews
Bill Clegg's Did You Ever Have A Family: Interconnected Stories of Heartbreak and Hope

In an interview with The New York Times regarding the birth of his debut novel, Did You Ever Have A Family, Bill Clegg remarked, “I represent great writers, and I couldn’t ...

December 29, 2015

Reviews
Emerging Genius: The Early Stories of Truman Capote

They say the brightest stars shine too vibrantly to sustain. The most beautiful of creative talents dwindle too soon. Perhaps great artists are prone to exiting the stage before the audi...

November 24, 2015

Fiction & Culture
Jesse Eisenberg's Ambitious Foray Into Fiction: Bream gives me hiccups & other stories

Jesse Eisenberg, recently in the spotlight for portraying journalist David Lipsky alongside Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace in the adaptation of Lipsky’s book about the five day road...

November 08, 2015

Reviews
The New Yorker Short Story Round-up: August, 2015

Book reviewers, given their title, generally review novels, short story collections, nonfiction, biographies, memoirs, essay collections, and just about any bound set of...

November 03, 2015

Reviews
"The Role of Historical Accuracy in Storytelling: Assassin's Creed Syndicate"

The most obvious, yet, abundantly difficult aspect of writing a novel or script set in previous time period, is remaining historically accurate....

September 24, 2015

Storytelling in Contemporary Video Games
Reading Lists: "Eight Great Writerly Novels"

...

March 16, 2015

Reading Lists
"Janina Gavankar Embraces Acting In Video Games"

In today’s world, technology dominates the little free time that the average person has throughout the day. Whether it is checking Twitter, Facebook, watching a movie, or browsing the internet. One of...

February 03, 2015

Fiction & Culture
Storytelling in Contemporary Video Games: "Welcome to Kyrat: The Story Behind Far Cry 4"

As technology and entertainment continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, the medium of video games are being tasked with the challenging concept of creating more realistic experiences. Dev...

November 14, 2014

Storytelling in Contemporary Video Games
"The Rise of Storytelling in Video Games"

...

November 07, 2014

Fiction & Culture
"2014 National Book Award & Man Booker Prize: American Writers?"

For the first time in the going on fifty year history of The Man Booker Prize, novels from writers who are not citizens of The United Kingdom are being considered for the award, along with the p...

October 03, 2014

Fiction & Culture
Brian Panowich
Brian Panowich
Novel Flash: Bull Mountain

"Family," the old man said to no one. The word hung in a puff of frozen breath, before dissipating into the early morning fog. Riley Burroughs used that word the same way a master carpenter used a ...

April 03, 2017

Novel Flash
Karin Wraley Barbee
Karin Wraley Barbee
"Deliberate Act"

It was just easier to stay still on that bench, briefcase at my feet, than to make my way home. The snow had been coming down all day, tiny flakes, but dense and heavy.  By then it was l...

March 30, 2017

New Fiction
Sarah Schiff
Sarah Schiff
"A Compliment Can Change Your Life, Sometimes"

It was when I was leaning over the sticky packages of red meat that he came up to me and said, “You’re the most beautiful woman in the world, I just wanted you to know,” and then he was gone in the di...

March 16, 2017

New Fiction
Kimberly Parsons
Kimberly Parsons
"Old Light"

This place goes on without him. The streets he walked down, the bars and rooms where he drank and slept, the big top where he worked his elephants and made his name, spots where he blew his money, had...

March 13, 2017

New Fiction
"Old Light"

This place goes on without him. The streets he walked down, the bars and rooms where he drank and slept, the big top where he worked his elephants and made his name, spots where he blew his money, had...

September 11, 2016

New Fiction
David Galef
David Galef
"Cutting Down"

If you write flash fiction with any regularity, you need to master the art of reduction. You’ve finished your story, which weighs in at 526 words, 26 too many for the M. M. Memorial Flash Fiction Cont...

March 09, 2017

Advice / Suggestions
"Guests"

I was talking with the woman I call my wife because that’s what she is most of the time. Love on, love off. Her face is too complicated to be beautiful, and her toothbrush has bad breath, ...

November 02, 2014

Featured Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "Guests"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our series, David Galef reads "Guests." ...

September 15, 2014

Flash Audio Series
"Question Authority"

Amy was conceived by two irresponsible individuals, Doug and Dora, during a commercial break in Superbowl XIII. For weeks afterwards, they did nothing except nurture a sense of impending gloom. Aborti...

September 09, 2011

Featured Fiction
Douglas Cole
Douglas Cole
"Karmic Repatterning"

We weren’t saying much on the drive.  She had just gotten through telling me that I had “boundary” issues, that the path of healing I was on meant I’d end up sleeping with some woman, a student most l...

March 09, 2017

New Fiction
bonnie losak
bonnie losak
"Floor Twelve - Pediatric Psych. Unit"

In bed 1, Sumner is curled into the shape of a capital “C.” Next to her, in the bed by the window flanked with metal bars, Aubrey drifts in and out of sleep. Sumner’s right arm is wrapped in a beige e...

March 02, 2017

New Fiction
Kevin Stewart
Kevin Stewart
"An Ark of Mimes"

Only those who were there during the storm have the understanding of what happened and why. —Tara Aleman, NOLA.com They spilled from two tour buses like tacks from a knocked-ov...

February 27, 2017

New Fiction
Glenn Deutsch
Glenn Deutsch
Why I Write: Glenn Deutsch

I write because six, seven, or however many decades may take a long time to live, but amount to a short time on earth. I write because my mother read the dictionary in the bathtub as a child. In co...

February 26, 2017

Why I Write
The Story Behind the Story: "Basement Love Story"

This story fictionalizes actual people and situations. I worked on it for about a year and a half (off and on, off and on!) in tandem with another flash piece featuring the same characters. Initial...

September 21, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
"Basement Love Story"

You lost your virginity to her, went steady spring semester at the University of Wisconsin, lived most of the summer with her and her parents in Tucson. Late August, she’s meeting your family on Long ...

September 19, 2016

New Fiction
Mary Pat Musick
Mary Pat Musick
"Almost Perfect"

Flo called in sick that Friday. She waved off the bus that stopped near her house cleaning job, and instead hopped on one that went downtown. By the time she got there, spectators were six deep along ...

February 23, 2017

New Fiction
Karla Kosowan
Karla Kosowan
Why I Write: "A Hungry Squirrel in Autumn"

Writing gets me to the truth of things. I can’t fully speak the truth, like a poor waif from an old fashioned fairytale. In place of the truth, I will reflexively interject with a wild or friendly...

February 21, 2017

New Fiction
David James
David James
"A Trail of No"

I like to tell my students about the worst rejection notice I ever received. I mailed a batch of poems to a west coast magazine; my self-addressed stamped envelope came back months later and I promptl...

February 19, 2017

New Fiction
Caleb Murray
Caleb Murray
"Others"

Images before the crash—the gravelly craters of the dirt road under headlights, like the moon’s ghastly laughter, or a bedroom ceiling’s milieu of sundials overhead; the paintbrush curve of the road a...

February 17, 2017

New Fiction
Angie Pelekidis
Angie Pelekidis
Why I Write: Angie Pelekidis

This kid, at 8 years old, is already a reader. Because she learned that books are magic. You could open them up and disappear into them whenever you didn't want to be anymore. Which was often. This...

February 16, 2017

Why I Write
E.L. West
E.L. West
"The Light on the Other Hill"

Against the mountain all the houses made little steps, like the staircase of a giant. All the walls were thin, woven from twigs, whistling in winter. All the roofs were topped with snow and all the sn...

February 13, 2017

New Fiction
Karen Loeb
Karen Loeb
"Re-Up"

The phone calls were always in the middle of the night. I’d hear my mother’s cry, and carefully in the dark, I’d make my way to her bedroom. “I miss you,” she was saying into the receiver. “Over.” ...

February 12, 2017

New Fiction
Kim Henderson
Kim Henderson
"Playing on the Ladder with Micro-Fiction"

It was a precocious high school freshman who introduced me to the adorable boxed set of flash fiction published by McSweeney’s, One Hundred and Forty Five Stories in a Small Box: Hard to Admit and...

February 09, 2017

Fiction Craft
David Armand
David Armand
"Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures": An Interview with Michael Farris Smith

Michael Farris Smith's new novel, Desperation Road (Lee Boudreaux Books) comes on the heels of his highly-successful second offering, Rivers (Simon & Schuster, 2013), which was a...

February 06, 2017

Most Popular
"Ghosts in the Mountains: My Summer at Sewanee Writers' Conference, 2014"

Let me start off by saying that I never wanted to go to Sewanee. Before I went there, I imagined being surrounded by a bunch of sycophantic, wannabe writers, struggling to keep my dignity while meetin...

September 15, 2015

Conference/Residency Spotlight
Yasmina Madden
Yasmina Madden
"Beggars' Night"

She arrives on my porch on Beggars’ Night, without a costume, and it takes me a minute to place her. Children scream and careen through my neighborhood dressed as zombies and ninjas. Grim executioners...

February 06, 2017

New Fiction
"Beggars' Night"

She arrives on my porch on Beggars' Night, without a costume, and it takes me a minute to place her. Children scream and careen through my neighborhood dressed as zombies and ninjas. Grim executioners...

April 24, 2016

New Fiction
Why I Write: Yasmina Madden

I wish I could say that from a very young age, five or six, I knew that I wanted to be a writer, and that I write because I’ve always known this fact. In reality, I didn’t consider the possibility of ...

January 02, 2016

Why I Write
Merrill Sunderland
Merrill Sunderland
"Answers"

We couldn’t, for the life of us, describe him in any meaningful way. Not to each other and not even to ourselves. We’d seen the man hundreds of times or more, walking home from the library where he wo...

February 05, 2017

New Fiction
"Answers"

We couldn’t, for the life of us, describe him in any meaningful way. Not to each other and not even to ourselves. We’d seen the man hundreds of times or more, walking home from the library where he wo...

January 08, 2017

New Fiction
Ron Riekki
Ron Riekki
"Frankenstein, Palmer, Michigan"

When my brother was little, he used to go everywhere with a mask of Frankenstein’s monster. It looked kind of real too. I remember him begging for it as an Easter present. My dad is a hard-core atheis...

February 02, 2017

New Fiction
Lydia Copleand Gwyn
Lydia Copleand Gwyn
"The Spine Falls Away"

You touch the bones, set as custard skin in the gray filth of the barn dust. Once large white cows stood in this stall, and now a small mammal, an infant possum or the curl of a fox kit. “What happene...

February 01, 2017

New Fiction
Julie Marie Wade
Julie Marie Wade
Interview with Debra Dean

In spring 2012, I flew to Miami to interview for a position on the creative writing faculty at Florida International University. Debra Dean was the fiction writer most recen...

January 30, 2017

Interviews (all)
Interview with John Dufresne

It’s easy to see, in retrospect, that John Dufresne and I were destined to be friends. We teach together in the genial, seven-memb...

January 16, 2017

Interviews (all)
Interview with Daisy Hernandez

It turns out I have been waiting for A Cup of Water Under My Bed, the September 2014 debut memoir by Daisy Hernández, since I first encountered her incisive li...

January 05, 2017

Interviews (all)
Interview with Susanne Paola Antonetta

It’s embarrassing to admit that when I arrived at Western Washington University’s Master of Arts in English program in the fall of 2001, I could count on two hands—and two h...

December 29, 2016

Interviews (all)
Interview with Paul Griner

Once upon a time, I took a creative writing class with Paul Griner. It was 2008, and I was a new PhD student in the Humanities pro...

December 22, 2016

Interviews (all)
Interview with Les Standiford

In 2012, I began my academic job search as most aspiring English professors do—with a series of interviews in cramped hotel rooms at the MLA and AWP conferences. Every job I...

December 08, 2016

New Fiction
Author Inteview Series: Julie Marie Wade

Born in Seattle in 1979, Julie Marie Wade completed a Master of Arts in English at Western Washington University in 2003, a Master of Fine Arts in Poet...

September 30, 2015

Interviews (all)
Maggie Su
Maggie Su
"Mirror Game"

The boy sitting next to you on the red-eye flight from Denver to Indianapolis can’t see you. When the flight attendant comes by to take drink orders, the boy has his earbuds in and is writing notes...

January 29, 2017

New Fiction
Jeannine Gailey
Jeannine Gailey
"Post-Apocalypse Postcard from an Appalachian Chalet"

I’ve got my head next to a granite-strewn stream that gurgles amid sunbeams as if the whole world never went wrong. As if nothing. I’ve got at least two crates of Coca-Cola stashed inside, a pile of L...

January 26, 2017

New Fiction
Kathryn Hill
Kathryn Hill
The Story Behind the Story: "We Can Go Faster"

This piece was originally a prose poem for a mixed genre class I took last spring. It was one long paragraph, windy and chaotic, with more elevated language and a must nastier, malicious voice for Ali...

January 22, 2017

The Story Behind the Story
"We Can Go Faster"

We go 95 on the road out of Ephrata because Alicia’s dad left and her mom didn’t hide the keys. The Amber Alerts have our plate number now. We didn’t leave anybody notes. Alicia drives her dad’s old b...

November 20, 2016

New Fiction
Christy Hallberg
Christy Hallberg
"Grace, With the Red Shoes"

I am a story—a dark and stormy night once upon a time that is not now, in a land that is not here. I am tattered pages—stained with coffee, dog eared, streaks of yellow highlighting su...

January 19, 2017

New Fiction
Doug Ramspeck
Doug Ramspeck
"Totem"

There is a moment, now, the sky outside the funeral home alive with snow—a white world of commotion—that she is here beside me, gripping my elbow. We are exhilarated and sobered by what we have done, ...

January 15, 2017

New Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "Nest"

...

November 28, 2016

Flash Audio Series
Flash Audio Series: "Italian Alps"

...

October 24, 2016

Flash Audio Series
"Italian Alps"

She approached me on the train, slipping beside me, to say in broken English it was okay that I’d been watching her. We had a view of the mountains from the windows, could see what appeared to be snow...

November 14, 2015

New Fiction
"Nest"

He began hearing, at night, occasional noises his new wife made while she was sleeping. It was like something at the back of a throat, calling out like a distant bird, as though his wife were revertin...

June 24, 2015

New Fiction
"The First Humans"

They must be sitting or maybe squatting by the meager fire, primitive smoke lifting into air, mingling with the fog that surrounds the muddy river. It is hard to say at this distance if they are cooki...

June 09, 2015

New Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "The First Humans"

...

May 18, 2015

Flash Audio Series
"Crow Death"

The boy isn’t certain how often he should think about his mother. She slips from his mind the way the suns slips into the woods behind the house at dusk. There are times when it is clear he is meant t...

July 13, 2014

Featured Fiction
Breath

She remembered, from childhood, a crow lifting unexpectedly from tall grass. She was walking with her father. For a moment there were only frantic, black wings. Her dream was like that. Something f...

October 09, 2012

Featured Fiction
Lish Troha
Lish Troha
"The Parade"

Kicking things off: A girl with drawn-on eyebrows. Purple lips, orange skin. Looks like Maggie Stodell got all coke skinny. Boxed mac n cheese, fruit roll-ups, and a pack of Marb 100s. No chitchat; fa...

January 12, 2017

New Fiction
Why I Write: Lish Troha

As a child, it came effortlessly. I’d sit down at our boxy PC and write thousands of words for nothing but the joy of exploring my own imagination. I didn’t fret about publication or money or recognit...

September 10, 2016

Why I Write
Devin Murphy
Devin Murphy
"The Holy Notes of Symphony"

South of Chicago, past the Kankakee turnoff, the baby starts to cry. First several whimpers, then a shoulder-rolling set of sobs building to a full-on wail. I pull onto the shoulder. I lean back and s...

January 09, 2017

New Fiction
Charlotte Link
Charlotte Link
Novel Flash: The Watcher

It was late on Sunday evening when Carla was first conscious of a peculiar thing about the lift and its doors. At that point she did not have long to live, but her powers of imagination could not let ...

January 02, 2017

Novel Flash
Katherine Forbes Riley
Katherine Forbes Riley
"Before The Rush"

It would be evening, before the rush, when the sun was no longer sweltering but still hot, a ball of fire halfway down the sky. I never saw him coming. Suddenly he’d just be there, and all the boys wo...

January 01, 2017

New Fiction
Ben Nickol
Ben Nickol
"Opening Night"

1996 The parents had been fighting, but the daughter had a play that night and as always with their fighting the children aligned them, like the deep gravity without which galaxies disband. ...

December 26, 2016

New Fiction
Victoria Mixon
Victoria Mixon
"Being a Reclusive Author in Today’s Publishing Industry"

Recently, I received the following comment from a writer: I have two questions regarding publishing and platform. I’m ...

December 19, 2016

Advice / Suggestions
Breaking into Freelance Independent Editing"

Recently, I received the following comment from a writer: Hi Victoria, I am a poet and the editor of a community journ...

November 24, 2016

Editing/Publishing
"Finding the Right Editor for You"

 Recently, I received the following question from a writer: Your remarks on Twit...

November 03, 2016

Editing/Publishing
Becoming a Freelance Independent Editor: For Young Writers"

I was contacted by a high school student interested in becoming a freelance independent editor. She sent me a list of interview questions for a presentation she...

September 22, 2015

Editing/Publishing
S. Kirk Walsh
S. Kirk Walsh
The Story Behind the Story: "Together"

Ever since reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel Virgin Suicides in 1993, I’ve been fascinated by the first-person plural voice and how it can operate in a story or novel. The plurality brings a u...

December 18, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
"Together"

Together, we go down to the lake. It is well past midnight, and the illuminated cradle of the moon hangs high in the sky. Our mother is missing, again. When we returned home from Christmas Eve Mass, w...

September 25, 2016

New Fiction
The Story Behind the Story: "Together"

Ever since reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel Virgin Suicides in 1993, I’ve been fascinated by the first-person plural voice and how it can operate in a story or novel. The plurality brings a u...

June 16, 2016

Most Popular
"Together"

Together, we go down to the lake. It is well past midnight, and the illuminated cradle of the moon hangs high in the sky. Our mother is missing, again. When we returned home from Christmas Eve Mass, w...

March 17, 2016

New Fiction
David Morgan O'Connor
David Morgan O'Connor
Why I Write: DM O'Connor

You ask why I write? For all of it. To keep it going. To remember. To share. To fight injustice. Because when you find yourself in prison, there is nothing more important than a sunrise....

December 15, 2016

Why I Write
Matthew Forsythe
Matthew Forsythe
"On the Eighth Day, God Created Golf"

The foursome stands on a desert mesa, an elevated tee in southeast Utah. God the Father, Moses, Jesus, Elijah. Angels descend as caddies, but carts are not permitted, not even flaming chariots. Their ...

December 12, 2016

New Fiction
Julia Strayer
Julia Strayer
The Story Behind the Story: "In The Shape Of A Small Bird"

“In The Shape Of A Small Bird” began with a fabulous tropical picture, taken by photographer Laurie Klein, of a small falling down structure...

December 11, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
Why I Write: Julia Strayer

I write for a father who no longer lives, and for myself in hope of outliving my life. I write to solve puzzles, then look at them upside down, to make sense of the senseless. Because life is short, p...

September 08, 2016

Why I Write
"In The Shape Of A Small Bird"

I dream my brother sold me a shack by a river that ran too quick to the sea, but he's been dead all my life. They say ...

September 04, 2016

New Fiction
Candace Chambliss
Candace Chambliss
"Fork Play"

There is a fork here. I consider lifting it and placing it against my husband’s right temple then applying pressure. Gentle at first then with extreme force. I don’t imagine the blood that would flow ...

December 04, 2016

New Fiction
K.C. Mead-Brewer
K.C. Mead-Brewer
"Zebra Skin"

Linda hated Norman’s floor for its zebra skin rug. If it’d been hers, she’d never have let it touch the ground, but instead would’ve draped it regally about her shoulders, venerable as a flag. No o...

December 01, 2016

New Fiction
Dean Charpentier
Dean Charpentier
"On a Bridge, At Night"

They stand on the bridge above the dark river.  They agree this is the spot from which she jumped.  One of them thinks she dove with grace; the other imagines a clumsy stumble.  They argue, then do no...

November 27, 2016

New Fiction
Dani Jansen
Dani Jansen
"Enough for Now"

Annie listened to the June bugs ping against the porch light. She reclined on the porch stairs so that one of the steps pressed into the small of her back. She knew she should change out of her gradua...

November 21, 2016

New Fiction
Kim Magowan
Kim Magowan
640

This is how Jane finds out Charley, her ex-lover, is sick: when Marybeth, the department secretary, sends an email to “humfac,” all the Humanities departments (English, History, Philosophy, Modern Lan...

November 17, 2016

New Fiction
"Be Good"

Verb, imperative form. First known usage: said to him in the foyer, his hair still wet from the shower, his suitcase in hand, on his way to some business trip; the kids upstairs, gobbling Apple Jacks....

May 26, 2016

New Fiction
The Story Behind the Story: "Mrs. White in the Ballroom with the Lead Pipe"

I woke up at 2:00 AM one night with the title of this story in my head. I'm usually terrible at titles. I got ou...

December 19, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
"Mrs. White in the Ballroom with the Lead Pipe"

What you do is text, text, text. We’re playing Clue with the girls. You can’t be bothered to help Ruby hold her cards in a fan because you’re too busy fiddling with that damn phone. “Matt, will you pl...

August 22, 2015

New Fiction
Matt Tompkins
Matt Tompkins
The Story Behind the Story: "Visceral"

At the time when I wrote “Visceral” I had been spending a lot of time reading books about Buddhism, Hinduism, yoga, and meditation, as well as practicing a good deal of meditation and yoga myself, and...

November 14, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
Flash Audio Series: "Visceral"

...

October 03, 2016

Flash Audio Series
Why I Write: Matt Tompkins

I am, above all, an inquisitive person. As a precocious kid, I was constantly asking questions. But I learned pretty early that if I asked too many questions in my public school, I’d be ridiculed. And...

June 25, 2016

Why I Write
"Visceral"

It started as a small slit: just a little opening in the skin, right at the dead-center of my sternum. I spotted it in the mirror—I was standing over the sink, shaving, before work—and there it was, l...

June 22, 2016

New Fiction
Nancy Ludmerer
Nancy Ludmerer
"Fall On Your Knees"

We met at the public library across a scratched wooden table. He asked “What are you reading?” At thirteen, I was thrilled to be noticed by a boy who looked old enough to be in college. When I told hi...

November 11, 2016

New Fiction
Eldon (Craig) Reishus
Eldon (Craig) Reishus
The Story Behind the Story: "(there's no telling what . . . )"

The wish to study physics with Boltzmann in Vienna brought me to Germany. You can imagine my upset whe...

November 10, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
"(there's no telling what would have become of me in the real world, but in the one we’ve created I live as a single in Hof teaching English)"

I didn't have much else to do, so I tailed me. I wasn't a difficult tail until I sensed the hairy guerrilla ...

July 25, 2016

New Fiction
Eugenie Montague
Eugenie Montague
Flash Audio Series: "We Get Ready"

...

November 07, 2016

Flash Audio Series
Flash Audio Series: Spider Webs

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October 31, 2016

Flash Audio Series
"Spider Webs"

Brad is so tall he walks into spider webs. Sometimes, he kneels down in front of me and asks me to pick the sticky white thread out of his eyebrows and eyelashes. Other times, when I’m looking away, h...

December 26, 2015

New Fiction
"We Get Ready"

Molly says Meg Ryan is the gold standard. We can identify the traits of an ideal woman by watching her old movies. “Some of these are from the eighties though,” I say. “Is this all still relevant?”...

December 01, 2015

New Fiction
Nic Campeotto
Nic Campeotto
"If You Recognized Me"

I feel her laugh in the slick tooth dragging under my navel, in the quick humid press of her breath. The tip of her tongue traces the bruises sunsetting across the spread of my hips. Her fingers tease...

November 06, 2016

New Fiction
Leslie Doyle
Leslie Doyle
"What to Do About a Sinkhole"

It hadn’t been there yesterday. Shelly was sure because she’d sat on one of the now-missing patio chairs while listening to the game. She’d been drinking a beer and her team had again blown a fine out...

November 05, 2016

New Fiction
Jennifer Fliss
Jennifer Fliss
"For the Dachshund Enthusiast"

This is a message for the dachshund enthusiast that lives across the airshaft. It is the case, here in Manhattan, that we live in close quarters. That is why on any given muggy New York day, my window...

November 03, 2016

New Fiction
Emily Nemens
Emily Nemens
"A Player’s Guide to Spring Training, Pt. 5: Hitting"

Go to the batting cage daily. Practice two hundred balls a morning, get used to that feeling of the bat humming against your gloves. Forget the red skin and the leaky blisters and the burst pads. Reme...

November 02, 2016

New Fiction
Cari Scribner
Cari Scribner
"What We Take, What We Leave Behind"

  There is no furniture in my father’s house, although we unearth a pink crushed velvet sofa the third or fourth day of sifting through 40 years of debris. In one corner, on a table made of...

November 02, 2016

New Fiction
The Story Behind the Story: "What We Take, What We Leave Behind"

I was estranged from my father for more than 25 years. As a child, we didn't have a name for his rage, followed by tears, and the highs and lows that represented his roller coaster life. We only knew ...

October 23, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
J.D. Shoemaker
J.D. Shoemaker
"Mildred"

Her body formed a tiny ripple under the vast sea of bedding. A quilt she had sewn thirty years ago lay folded and undisturbed at the foot of her bed. Mildred closed her eyes and prayed the same prayer...

October 30, 2016

New Fiction
Carlos Cunha
Carlos Cunha
"The Parking Adamastor"

Herb works in a building made for cars: on every floor of this building – and there are five, so that it is nearly a high-rise, especially by the humble standards of Herb’s small city – all you will f...

October 27, 2016

New Fiction
Andrew Siegrist
Andrew Siegrist
"Rainpainting"

The summer we lived with Dad, there was a neighbor whose voice we never heard. We’d see him walking through the woods, fingers brushing the bark of trees. Or rustling the leaves of bushes, collecting ...

October 20, 2016

New Fiction
"Rainpainting"

The summer we lived with Dad, there was a neighbor whose voice we never heard. We’d see him walking through the woods, fingers brushing the bark of trees. Or rustling the leaves of bushes, collecting ...

May 15, 2016

New Fiction
Nick Thornburg
Nick Thornburg
"The Butcher's Vines"

One year I got a summer gig managing the vineyard of a family friend.  He had been a surgeon since the eighties but things had taken a turn and that summer found him in his third year of unemployment....

October 17, 2016

New Fiction
Peyton Burgess
Peyton Burgess
"Take Your Boots off Before the Storm"

It hadn’t been on course for us, but when Rem got excited, I got excited, and then it hit. That was, and has been, the course of events. Rem, of green eyes that calm seizures, has pooled my river. I s...

October 16, 2016

New Fiction
"I'll Take Your Boots off Before the Storm"

It hadn’t been on course for us, but when Rem got excited, I got excited, and then it hit. That was, and has been, the course of events. Rem, of green eyes that calm seizures, has pooled my river. I s...

January 07, 2016

New Fiction
Phillip Sterling
Phillip Sterling
Flash Audio Series: "'Every Barleycorn a King'"

...

October 13, 2016

Flash Audio Series
"'Every Barleycorn a King'"

—Frank R. Stockton On the other side of the blind we have a dog that wants the duck because there is something in its dogginess that makes its synapses ski...

June 23, 2016

New Fiction
Melanie Meyer
Melanie Meyer
"Picasso Painting"

Obese. The word loomed over Helen’s consciousness like a thunder cloud. Since she was 12, her life had been a constant diet, but she never dreamed she’d let it get this bad. Instead of leading her bac...

October 10, 2016

New Fiction
The Story Behind the Story: "Picasso Painting"

Although I have struggled with weight issues myself, I have never been a binger. However, I think labels like "overweight" and "obese" have the power to loom over our consciousness like a thundercloud...

August 21, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
Why I Write: Melanie Meyer

I have always had an insatiable thirst to write. Writing is simply my therapy for life; it is what grounds me, enlivens me, and fills me when nothing else does. Although I wrote some in high school an...

November 10, 2015

Why I Write
Tommy Dean
Tommy Dean
Flash Fiction: The Defining Sentence

One of the things I love about reading and writing Flash fiction is that a story can turn or pirouette in one sentence from a standard narrative to something that floats off the page and impacts the r...

October 09, 2016

Flash Talk
John Dufresne
John Dufresne
Author Interview Series: John Dufresne

Tell us about I Don't Like Where This is Going. When Wylie “Coyote” Melville, therapist and forensic consultant, and his friend Bay, decide to flee South Florida, followin...

October 08, 2016

Interviews (all)
Paul Beckman
Paul Beckman
The Story Behind the Story: "Mom's Goodbye"

About twenty-five years ago at a family gathering my cousin's new husband mentioned in passing that he had walked into his dying father's hospital room and his mother was lying next to her husband wit...

October 06, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
"Mom's Goodbye"

Once inside Hospice I walked to Dad’s room, his door ajar, and saw him no longer tubed up and Mom atop him, fancy, in one of her party dresses with a Jackie O pillbox hat and two-inch heels, whisperin...

October 05, 2016

New Fiction
Caroline Bock
Caroline Bock
"Beheaded"

An American is beheaded. We have so many ways to kill one another but even the word beheaded beckons to another time. I cannot recall the last time I read it in a modern context. Why not use decapitat...

October 06, 2016

New Fiction
Why I Write: Caroline Bock

Twelve Reasons Why I Write Nobody would hire me to cook. That’s a lie. I’m a pretty good cook.     ...

December 28, 2014

Why I Write
Robert Shapard
Robert Shapard
Interview with Sherrie Flick, author of Whiskey, etc.

  Sherrie Flick’s new colle...

October 05, 2016

New Fiction
A Review of Elizabeth Harris' Mayhem

Mayhem by Elizabeth Harris. October 2015. Winner of the Gival Press Novel Award. When the author, Elizabeth Har...

September 27, 2015

Reviews
"The Remarkable Reinvention of Very Short Fiction"

Is very short fiction a renaissance or a reinvention? Are these stories defined by length, and what does a story require? In this essay introdu...

October 17, 2014

Flash Talk
Ian Woollen
Ian Woollen
"Repeatable Sequence #3"

Catch a glimpse in the track windows. Push, push, push. Catch reflections in the weight-room mirrors. Push, push, push. An old, narcissistic mind-twitch: imagining friends and strangers witnessing thi...

October 02, 2016

New Fiction
E.C. Belli
E.C. Belli
"The Light Like A Stain"

It’s not that she’d expected them to form a cohesive whole for the rest of time, but she’d anticipated they’d distract each other from the darkness within a little while longer. What were you before y...

September 29, 2016

New Fiction
Brooks Rexroat
Brooks Rexroat
"The Ride Home"

The thing I remember as I stand in the back and shift my weight and check my watch is the way my finger felt when I used to press that M.C. Hammer tape into the deck of Dad’s beige Escort on the way h...

September 26, 2016

New Fiction
David Michael Kaplan
David Michael Kaplan
"Away"

It’s a warm breezy spring morning and she feels an awakening, a flood of energy, alive, freshened, and decides to clean the house, and so throws open the curtains and begins dusting lamps and bookcase...

September 22, 2016

New Fiction
John Estes
John Estes
"Move Fast and Break Things"

Marty had said to her: “It sounds like you can’t accept your fate,” and while meant as a reproach it resonated with sufficient accuracy to stir up a nervous craving for chocolate and cigarette. But fa...

September 19, 2016

New Fiction
The Story Behind the Story: "Move Fast and Break Things"

This short fiction takes its title from a slogan originating in Silicon Valley’s start-up culture, a creative principle that embraces the necessity of inspired demolition as part of a poetic ethos. Th...

September 18, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
Gabriel Houck
Gabriel Houck
"Last Match Fires"

The sky is metal and gold behind ragged clouds. Word of God type stuff, he says, crouching on his knees. Beneath his hands are piles of tinder; crushed stalks of cheatgrass and pine needles, ...

September 15, 2016

New Fiction
E. D. Morin
E. D. Morin
"Not Wired Right"

Blame it on incorrect wiring. That for some genetic reason I am unable to pick up on social cues. Most people don’t observe this about me, maybe not at first, but eventually some will cotton on. They ...

September 12, 2016

New Fiction
Aristi Daniel
Aristi Daniel
"Dino"

He sees the world through the maw of his T-Rex costume like Plato inside his cave used sometimes to peek outside. Fangs standing for stalactites and stalagmites frame his view. It is actually the US 3...

September 05, 2016

New Fiction
Cindy Lamothe
Cindy Lamothe
"A Reckoning in the Woods"

The words he tossed into the river were salty and brazen. Ancient, holy carcasses that often strangled him in his sleep. He let them drift like dead wood slipping into the current. They bubbled as he ...

September 01, 2016

New Fiction
Eunice Barbara Novio
Eunice Barbara Novio
Why I Write: Eunice Barbara C. Novio

(My Journey with Words) Since I was young, I vented my anger and happiness on words sometimes, I painted. But my skill in painting and sketching just vanished into thin air. I don’t know why, but i...

August 31, 2016

Why I Write
Angela Denk
Angela Denk
"Mea Culpa"

One time, I lied about being a vegetarian. Jan, the office manager, had seen me with a grilled cheese sandwich on my first day at Carton & Moore. “Oh!  Do you not eat meat, Regina?” Both ...

August 29, 2016

New Fiction
Marysa LaRowe
Marysa LaRowe
"The Detroit Ruin Porn Photographer Speaks"

I’m a ghost. I pass though broken windows without a scratch.  I duck under fallen beams and glide over half-collapsed floors without creating the slightest disturbance, without leaving a trace.  The s...

August 28, 2016

New Fiction
Robert Detman
Robert Detman
"Be Proud, Be Brave, Aspire!"

Explaining how I was waiting for a break with my writing career, my therapist responded by making a convincing case for why I should learn to be content with aspiration. His reasoning was that there w...

August 25, 2016

New Fiction
Shoshauna Shy
Shoshauna Shy
"The Kidnapper's Journal"

             Sketched on page 1, her route home from school, cross-streets shaded: Dutch - Kelfry - Cable. I show her the list of her favorite haunts: Po...

August 24, 2016

New Fiction
The Story Behind the Story: "Lucky Strikes"

I don't have any kind of filter that protects me from whatever emotional state other people are in, and am easily empathetic when around them. In choosing which POV to use for "...

August 18, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
The Story Behind the Story: "The Kidnapper's Journal"

This flash fiction was initially written as a poem in 2003 after Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, and survived. Imagining the mindset of a man who would do this kind of...

June 30, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
"Lucky Strikes"

I bring them each a Coca-Cola, pink straw for the little girl in her lace dress, a wedge of lemon for the mom. The first 20 minutes soothing as a river, the We Love U Bill  balloon kissing th...

June 09, 2016

New Fiction
William Hallal
William Hallal
Flash Audio Series: "The Hole"

...

August 22, 2016

Flash Audio Series
"The Hole"

We lie clothed together in my bed, her head resting gently on my stomach, when she tells me she doesn’t like the hole. The one in my chest. I’ve always called it a hole, but it’s really more of a dent...

June 06, 2016

New Fiction
Steph Post
Steph Post
Interview with Steph Post by Daren Dean

(Daren Dean): WHAT INSPIRES AND INFLUENCES YOUR WRITING THE MOST? (Steph Post): You know the old saying, “write what you know?” Well, I’ve always ...

August 20, 2016

Interviews (all)
Seth Bennett
Seth Bennett
Flash Audio Series: "The Purest Motivation"

...

August 15, 2016

Flash Audio Series
Why I Write: Seth Bennett

My journey into the world of stories commenced with countless hours immersed in my Lego'stm as a child. Heroes and villains covered a sacred corner of my little bedroom, tangled in an endle...

July 25, 2015

Why I Write
Amie Heasley
Amie Heasley
"What My Mother Fell For"

My mother ran. She kept on running with plantar fasciitis. It’s a condition that causes stabbing heel pain and is common in runners. Fifteen years have passed and I’m still clinging to her dingy ri...

August 14, 2016

New Fiction
Rebecca Laffar-Smith
Rebecca Laffar-Smith
"The Secret Uncertainties of a Writer"

You know something? The inner critic is mean. It loves to play on existing insecurities and drill into them as if debriding an open wound. It digs and hacks away at the flesh in those w...

August 11, 2016

Developing a Writing Life
Andrea Witzke Slot
Andrea Witzke Slot
Flash Audio Series: "Caterpillar"

...

August 08, 2016

Flash Audio Series
"Caterpillar"

When my baby was born, I told everyone he looked like a caterpillar. My friends and even my husband thought it was funny at first, but I knew the head nurse didn’t like it. Every time I said, Please b...

February 25, 2016

New Fiction
sidney Kidd
sidney Kidd
"Critiquing the Critique"

I’ve found the most difficult part of writing is in receiving meaningful critiques—hell, who am I fooling? My problem is in getting any critique. My family and friends hide or become busy with all man...

August 07, 2016

Fiction Craft
Dan Leach
Dan Leach
"The Garden of a Thousand Suns"

After I’ve signed the papers and the thing is finished, Tess makes coffee and asks me to leave. “I want to see Aimee,” I say, partially because I do and partially because, like someone falling, I f...

August 04, 2016

New Fiction
Linda Patrick
Linda Patrick
Writers Retreat - Interlochen College for Creative Arts

Conference Spotlight Submission to Fiction Southeast The Writers Retreat at Interlochen College for Creative Arts was my opportunity this summer to pick up my pen and pluck up my courage to ...

August 01, 2016

Conference/Residency Spotlight
Nancy Au
Nancy Au
"Radiance"

Mother cannot bear to throw out books donated to the library under her watch. Stored in our attic, dozens of boxes filled with paperbacks of nearly naked men and women wrestling on the dog-eared cover...

August 01, 2016

New Fiction
Audra Kerr Brown
Audra Kerr Brown
"The Amazing Halved-Man"

Stan had never seen a funeral parlor before, let alone a dead body. As his parents whispered to a line of sniffling visitors, he wandered over to the coffin. It wasn’t a coffin, as the funera...

July 31, 2016

New Fiction
Why I Write: Audra Kerr Brown

How a Girl Became a Writer, As Outlined by Nigel Watt’s “Eight-Point Story Arc”* #1 STASIS There once was a girl born amongst stories.  Her mother read aloud while breastfeeding, cooed lullabies...

July 19, 2016

Why I Write
Marlin Jenkins
Marlin Jenkins
Flash Audio Series: "Sharing a Smoke after Work"

...

July 28, 2016

Flash Audio Series
"Sharing a Smoke after Work"

Her red lipstick lips stretch like dilation when she smiles, their wideness between coughs a birthing of something he wishes to hold, to cradle and sing to—something that will spit and puk...

February 25, 2015

New Fiction
Rebecca Harrison
Rebecca Harrison
"The Atlas of Winds"

They told us the winds were dying. We sat on rooftops and watched the cloud rush. I tried to catch gusts in my hands. She said she wanted to make an atlas of the winds before they were gone. She showe...

July 24, 2016

New Fiction
"The Atlas of Winds"

They told us the winds were dying. We sat on rooftops and watched the cloud rush. I tried to catch gusts in my hands. She said she wanted to make an atlas of the winds before they were gone. She showe...

December 15, 2015

New Fiction
Mark Rubenstein
Mark Rubenstein
"Plugged in and Feeling the Fiction"

...

July 21, 2016

Fiction & Culture
J. S. Brown
J. S. Brown
"The Baseness of Nature"

As the bomb fell she inexplicably thought of the kiwi she hadn’t picked, the one just out of reach. The small brown fruit had hung over her head, and when she stretched to reach it, her fingers barely...

July 18, 2016

New Fiction
"The Baseness of Nature"

As the bomb fell she inexplicably thought of the kiwi she hadn’t picked, the one just out of reach. The small brown fruit had hung over her head, and when she stretched to reach it, her fingers barely...

August 08, 2015

New Fiction
Avital Gad-Cykman
Avital Gad-Cykman
"Milk"

Most houses are dark this time of night, and most dogs are barking. I don’t expect trouble, or maybe I do.  I slide my wallet between the seat and its cover just in case.  We have enough milk for two ...

July 17, 2016

New Fiction
Why I Write: Avital Gad-Cykman

I always had an urge to write. My diaries gave my everyday life a certain sense and importance that was lacking otherwise. Following the same logic, the aesthetics of poems (I wrote since I was s...

February 13, 2016

Why I Write
NTMcQueen
NTMcQueen
Why I Write: N.T. McQueen

  Recently, my wife asked me why I wrote. Though a majority of writers would have a default or romanticized response, I found myself perplexed, slouched against the cushions on our sofa, witho...

July 14, 2016

Why I Write
Rachel Peters
Rachel Peters
"Things We Knew Would Never Work Out but Had to Try Anyway"

Do you know that if your baby brother dies Christmas night, the medical examiner doesn’t look at his body until after the new year, and even then there’s a week of backlog?  “Two to three weeks,” they...

July 11, 2016

New Fiction
"Things We Knew Would Never Work Out but Had to Try Anyway"

Do you know that if your baby brother dies Christmas night, the medical examiner doesn’t look at his body until after the new year, and even then there’s a week of backlog?  “Two to three weeks,” they...

May 23, 2016

New Fiction
Why I Write: Rachel Peters

I hate writing.  Other people go to the gym after work, or see friends on the weekend, and they don’t walk around not realizing they have pens in their hair and under their bra straps.  A friend actua...

June 26, 2015

Why I Write
joe kapitan
joe kapitan
"The Story Behind the Story: "What We Were When We Drew What We Drew"

Gabe, the faceless character in my story, has actually lived in my brain for about forty years now. He's mostly quiet,...

July 10, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
What We Were When We Drew What We Drew

I think Gabe must have been about fourteen when he lost his face, right before C...

June 19, 2016

New Fiction
Michael Holladay
Michael Holladay
The Story Behind the Story: "In the Dark"

“In the Dark” came out of pure nostalgia for me. I remember in middle school this theater where we went on weekend nights in my Kentucky hometown...

July 07, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
"In the Dark"

In the movies at the ten o’clock late show showing something with Bruce Willis, I don’t really know the name, Clay huffed and puffed beside me. He used to have asthma or does have asthma he doesn’t te...

January 16, 2016

New Fiction
David Boffa
David Boffa
"Aroo in the Night"

Your dog—which is soon to be my dog—is looking at us in bed together when the girl stops me. “Wait,” she says, laughing and putting a hand against my chest. “The dog is watching.” I turn and sur...

July 04, 2016

New Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "Aroo in the Night"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our series, David Boffa reads "Aroo in the Night." [soundcloud id='208196927' width='100%']...

October 03, 2015

Flash Audio Series
Mike Gray
Mike Gray
"Thunder"

The soft shuffle of her feet on the hall carpet surprises him. He barely gets the door to the master bath closed before she peeks around the corner. “Mom?” “What is it, sweetie?” he asks, hurrying a...

July 02, 2016

New Fiction
The Story Behind the Story: "Thunder"

“Thunder” was written in the thick of my graduate studies. It was one of those rare gifts in writing—a story that skips conception and gestation, arr...

April 21, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
William Morris
William Morris
"A Boy Named Death"

Death at the hospital. Death on his first carride. Death at the park, on the swings, in the restroom. Death at dinner. Death praying, saying prosper us or prosperous, but he couldn’t...

June 27, 2016

New Fiction
Sarah Lyon
Sarah Lyon
"Sour Breath Doesn't Vanish in a Day"

The cruelest thing my sister ever did was convince me that I had a place in this world.  I don’t, that’s the truth, and I never have. Allie brought me to my first party when I was fifteen.  Never b...

June 26, 2016

New Fiction
Lilian D. Vercauteren
Lilian D. Vercauteren
"School Bags"

They were selected for practicality, not color, or brand or cool factor. They were selected for practicality, nothing else, because they could hold foreign grammar, dead dictator’s speeches, photosynt...

June 25, 2016

New Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "School Bags"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our series, Lilian D. Vercauteren reads "School Bags." [soundcloud id='185953108' width='100%'] ...

May 09, 2016

Flash Audio Series
The Story Behind the Story: "School Bags"

In the Netherlands, where I was born and raised, your school years are divided in two: you start around age four, for eight years in one school, then you move up to “high school” for four, five or six...

April 28, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
"School Bags"

They were selected for practicality, not color, or brand or cool factor. They were selected for practicality, nothing else, because they could hold foreign gr...

April 04, 2016

New Fiction
Stephany Daniel
Stephany Daniel
"Waiting is the Hardest Part"

Before the red planet was tamed, when it still carried some mystery as it rose in the west, twinkling and desolate. Before I watched your feet kick up dust on the Martian surface, before I followed yo...

June 20, 2016

New Fiction
"Waiting is the Hardest Part"

Before the red planet was tamed, when it still carried some mystery as it rose in the West, twinkling and desolate. Before I watched your feet kick up dust on the Martian surface, before I followed yo...

March 26, 2015

New Fiction
Benjamin Drevlow
Benjamin Drevlow
Flash Audio Series: "Okay But Will You Anyway"

...

June 13, 2016

Flash Audio Series
The Story Behind the Story: "Okay But Will You Anyway"

First and foremost, this is literally how I proposed to my wife. Not as it happens in the story, of course, but by writing her the sto...

February 04, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
"Okay But Will You Anyway"

He’d thought back to growing up and raising sheep. How he’d had to help his old man yank testicles from a fresh batch of baby rams every spring. Each bleat right up until the little slimy thing down b...

March 10, 2015

New Fiction
Bernard Grant
Bernard Grant
The Story Behind the Story: "Wind"

A year ago, I wrote a one-page story based on an incident in my childhood. Then I wrote two more. These stories, I decided, were the beginning of a longer story, maybe even a novella. Twenty pages in,...

June 12, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
"Wind"

A storm is coming. Mr. Crosby, the Scout Master, turns up the radio and yells over the weatherman for everyone to start packing up. His son Jerry is helping him pull up tent stakes. The camp fire hiss...

October 07, 2015

New Fiction
Katey Schultz
Katey Schultz
"What is Flash Fiction"

A friend of mine recently asked about the difference between flash fiction and prose poetry and I found myself, somewhat embarrassingly, stumbling over words. I knew there had to be a difference—I’m a...

June 07, 2016

Flash Talk
"Oscar's Texas"

It’s cooler up there where Oscar works, Houston melting into the pavement seventeen stories below. He moves lithely, walking the beams, bolt-heads like oversized eyes steering him straight. It’s not a...

March 03, 2016

New Fiction
"Seeing Marcella"

I accidentally bump into her grocery cart and that’s when I recognize her. It’s Marcella, fr...

February 11, 2016

New Fiction
Why I Write: Katey Schultz

Right now I’m on a red-eye flight from San Fran to Detroit, where I’ll land at the ass-crack of dawn courtesy Delta Airlines, pick up a rental car, and drive half an hou...

February 12, 2015

Why I Write
Allison Lee
Allison Lee
"Women in Cheap Jeans"

They come to the family health clinic on walk in days. Some come in pajamas. The line starts early—maybe seven a.m.—and slithers around the building and into the alley like a Midwest anaconda.  Most k...

June 05, 2016

New Fiction
Eric Bosse
Eric Bosse
"The Carriage House"

The boys wanted a race to see who could transform from male to female first. Each contestant got an assistant, so naturally I was my friend Brad’s. One minute and forty-seven seconds after Miko blew t...

June 02, 2016

New Fiction
Robert Eversmann
Robert Eversmann
"Dead Horses"

We were about to throw tractor wheels when we found something better. Doing anything with these dead horses, he asked. He had...

May 30, 2016

New Fiction
Ryan Habermeyer
Ryan Habermeyer
"If Only This Once"

Once the storm came we started listening to the warnings on the radio. Don’t let the pipes freeze, don’t operate vehicles, don’t even blink—this is the South, goddamn it. We get kudzu. Not ice. So loc...

May 29, 2016

New Fiction
Cathy Ulrich
Cathy Ulrich
"This is His Wife"

This is his wife in the bed. She is as pale as a piece of paper. He holds her hand, and your hand. He draws you closer. You can see her tissue-thin eyelids, the way her nose arches like yours. He’s...

May 22, 2016

New Fiction
Thea Swanson
Thea Swanson
"Enormous Women"

On Friday evenings, enormous women in polka dot dresses alight on the Bainbridge Ferry sundeck, heading to Seattle. Young boys push off their mothers’ laps and run to them. Businessmen dribble red slu...

May 19, 2016

New Fiction
Amy Thomas
Amy Thomas
"The King"

I once believed my father was a tree. At first he was a man; his gun rested on the carpet where we found him. It glistened between our distraught shadows falling over it, and I remember never having k...

May 16, 2016

New Fiction
Becca Hawk
Becca Hawk
"Story"

sto•ry noun. 1. how to fill silence: a. when the coffee is gone, I play with the mug handle, flip my glasses, tell a story about leaving because it’s been an...

May 12, 2016

New Fiction
"Belief"

be•lief noun. 1. how to trust: a. my beliefs don’t include hell, but you tell me on your futon, in front of friends that your belief is that I am going. I don’t say,...

December 24, 2015

New Fiction
"Expect"

ex•pect verb. 1. to assume: a. when a mother expects that her daughter is pregnant because her belt is twisted from lying down next to a boy she hasn’t even ...

February 25, 2015

New Fiction
Why I Write: Becca Hawk

You've read it before; you have to in order to become one of us, right? Lorrie Moore's "How to become a writer"? She starts: "First, try to be something, anything else.&qu...

January 06, 2015

Why I Write
Jennifer Popa
Jennifer Popa
"On Butchers"

As the first child, my brother came ripping out of our Mother, turning her insides out, but there he was red-faced, streaked in vernix. When the afterbirth came, there was still more blood. The doctor...

May 08, 2016

New Fiction
Mark Winegardner
Mark Winegardner
"Demonstrator"

The fight started right after the bars closed. I was thirteen, sleeping alone in a new travel trailer, on the Tompkins Street side of the courthouse square, when I heard my dad shouting at someone. At...

May 05, 2016

New Fiction
James Braziel
James Braziel
Corner Post: The Window Between

When writing projects come to an end, step back and recharge.  Allow yourself to write short, incomplete things, the fragments that help you find the voice of your next narrative. And write just to st...

May 03, 2016

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
Corner Post: "Get a Rhythm"

First thing in the morning read something—a poem, half a story, an essay, a thesaurus entry.  Just get your mind immersed in words. Write something out longhand.  Short.  Something about the day an...

October 30, 2015

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
Corner Post: "Getting Through the Dark Hours"

The thing about novel writing is that the old cliché about rolling with the punches is absolutely true.  Flash fiction and short stories can be quick things, written in one sitting.  Not that time isn...

October 16, 2015

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
Corner Post: "The Intangibles"

  In my last essay, I talked about the practical side to creating a writing life—balancing money, time, and place. This month I want to talk about the intangibles—talent, drive, and discipline...

July 05, 2015

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
Corner Post: "Gumption"

For me a writing life has always been determined by three things—money, time, and place.  And never have I had an abundance of all three.  The act of writing is itself a struggle, which I am always aw...

May 19, 2015

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
Corner Post: "Dirty Your Hands"

Tapping on a computer keyboard always reminds me of when I played the piano as a kid. Back then the tapping made music. Now, words. Both creative acts through the use of hands. There is something, too...

March 25, 2015

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
Corner Post: "When the Work Calls You To It"

A friend of mine told me this once. He is an artist and I was asking him about time, about finding, making time for art with everything going on—our lives are so full, each day full with chores, peopl...

February 13, 2015

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
Corner Post: Start a New Year Writing Cycle

In December I jot down what writing got done and what didn’t over the past 12 months.  Then I work on the house my wife and I are building, wash dishes in plastic tubs (we don’t...

December 29, 2014

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
Corner Post: "Questions of Risk"

Main characters need a stake in their story.  The answer rarely comes in the first drafts for me, but at some point, I halfway figure out what my protagonist wants.  I say halfway beca...

November 13, 2014

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
"Baby Forever"

Every night, there’s no place to go. No one to go back for. Had a home and a girl that wanted me cozy and still, but that craziness could only last for so long. Off I went, driving B Town ...

October 16, 2014

Featured Fiction
Corner Post: "Stop Time"

What is your writing plan?  When I ask my students this question, some have the next ten years mapped out.  Some tell me plans never ...

October 09, 2014

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
Corner Post: "Develop a Second Sight"

When I was growing up, working on fences with my father and my brother, the corner post was the most important. It determined how tight our barbwire would be and for how many years that tightness woul...

September 11, 2014

Corner Post: A Guide to Creating a Writing Life
Bradley Sides
Bradley Sides
Joy Williams' The Visiting Privilege: Stories for the Devastated

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Joy Williams was asked what she wanted to receive from a great story. Her reply was simple: “I want to be devastated in some way.” Readers famil...

May 01, 2016

Reviews
Erica Verrillo
Erica Verrillo
"What's Your Book About? How to Make a Pitch"

When my first novel was complete, I sent it to an academic press. (You could do that then.) The editor liked the book, but decided it would be better placed in a popular press. She gave me a “for exam...

April 30, 2016

New Fiction
Nina Ficenec
Nina Ficenec
"Our Local Pharmacist"

He records his conversations. He’s collected years and years of audio correspondence with us. Lately he doles out placebos because he’s become convinced that everything is just neuro...

April 18, 2016

New Fiction
Chris Blake
Chris Blake
"Where Do Ideas Come From?"

Someone posed that question on an online fiction writers forum. The thread went on for months. Responses included the following sources of ideas for novels: conversations, life experiences, imag...

April 14, 2016

Fiction Craft
"What Is Your Daily Word Count?"

Many fiction writing experts advise writers to set a daily writing goal, usually 1,000 words per day. There are several benefits for writers who commit to achieve this goal. It keeps writers on task. ...

May 25, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Finding Your Voice"

One of the most difficult, but essential, questions for beginning writers is this: how do I find my voice? Giving guidance about finding your voice as a fiction writer is a challenge. It reminds...

May 04, 2015

Fiction Craft
"What Makes a Main Character?"

Readers remember compelling main characters. Who could forget Harry Potter? Scarlett O’Hara? Don Vito Corleone? Dorothy Gale? What is it about these characters that makes the reader care s...

March 15, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Are You Ready to Write?"

You’ve decided to write your first novel. Congratulations. You can’t wait to sit down and write. You’ve come up with a blockbuster plot with loads of compelling characters. You...

January 31, 2015

Fiction Craft
"The Arc of the Story"

Read any popular novel and you are likely to find similarities in story structure. The classic story arc adheres to this structure: •    The main character is ...

December 31, 2014

Fiction Craft
"Why Write Fiction?"

Passion is the reason I write fiction. Why else would I do it? It’s one of the loneliest jobs in the world. The payoff is not instantaneous. It’s not even short-term. It took me several years and a nu...

November 11, 2014

Fiction Craft
Claire Polders
Claire Polders
The Writer and Her Time

The Writer begins when she is young. She doesn’t want to waste time. Reading is wonderful but writing feels better. After she finishes her first book, she shows it to her mother. Very nice, the mother...

April 12, 2016

Developing a Writing Life
James Claffey
James Claffey
"I Hove the Wreck"

Baton Rouge to Oxford, MS, the sunset a blast of orangey-red, trees sparse against the brittle clouds, I questioned the decision to travel over the holiday. My cousin's phone call persuaded me to take...

April 11, 2016

New Fiction
Eleanor Levine
Eleanor Levine
"Albino Roommate"

I had an albino college roommate in the 1980s in New Brunswick, NJ, when the city was dirty, dingy and Johnson and Johnson was revitalizing, but you dared not walk in New Brunswick by yourself too lat...

April 10, 2016

New Fiction
"Inhaling Calvin Klein"

I ask her for time to consider us a possibility…there is always the possibility that it will be like a makeshift reality or a radial neck fracture when you fall in Rittenhouse Sq...

August 28, 2014

Featured Fiction
Joseph Johnson
Joseph Johnson
"The Last Story I Cared About"

My first story, I was six, was about my cat, the cat I had until it contracted feline leukemia. Its breath at the end smelled of rancid fish, which made me wonder: could the cat smell, and if so, how ...

April 09, 2016

New Fiction
Robert Grindy
Robert Grindy
"Dead Man Dressing"

I’m wearing a dead man’s clothes, and I feel fine. I spend fifteen minutes or more each day knotting his tie. Just so. Snug against my collar, my throat, my breathing.  My own skin should wear so w...

April 08, 2016

New Fiction
Charnell Peters
Charnell Peters
"Faces"

Momma’s Face Momma’s got pink eyes, always wet and dribbling like the leaky sink. Drip. Virginia taught me a song once about Minnie Ha Ha who had a daughter and her name was Laughi...

April 07, 2016

New Fiction
Samuel Nelson
Samuel Nelson
"Dig a Sheet-Rag a Hole"

Training with dead men sucks. Lewis lost his right arm in a factory and can’t do a pushup, while Carlos won’t stop vomiting up his last meal, the same infected cheeseburger that killed him. Ronnie bur...

April 06, 2016

New Fiction
Joel Morris
Joel Morris
"Meteorite"

We were asleep when the meteorite hit. Horrible rumble, cindery smell. Everyone ran downstairs in rumpled states of slumbered dress. There it was, looking like a burnt pot roast in a shallow hole in t...

April 04, 2016

New Fiction
Lorrie Porter
Lorrie Porter
"Giving your Setting a Little Character"

I read somewhere that you shoul...

April 04, 2016

Fiction Craft
"Stimulus and Response: Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty"

In fiction, stimulus...

March 07, 2016

Fiction Craft
"Want to Make Your Dialogue Sparkle?"

Have you ever finish...

February 18, 2016

Fiction Craft
"Making Your Scenes Work Harder"

When I started my no...

February 01, 2016

Fiction Craft
"Could Your Dialogue Be Doing More?"

Humans communicate b...

January 04, 2016

Fiction Craft
"Make the Impossible Look Real"

In his book, ...

December 31, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Cutting Your First Draft"

Yesterday I reached ...

December 14, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Writing a Fight Scene"

It’s been a lo...

November 12, 2015

Fiction Craft
"How To Show Your Character On The Page"

...

October 15, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Looking at the Big Picture – Are Your Character Motivations Working?"

Sometimes when you&r...

October 01, 2015

Fiction Craft
Nicola Cassidy
Nicola Cassidy
"Branding Day"

The skin sizzled and spat, grains of flesh melting beneath the hot iron. The cow roared and bellowed, throwing its hind quarters upwards and kicking out its legs. The head, with its bushy curly hair a...

April 01, 2016

New Fiction
Noel C Hoffman
Noel C Hoffman
"On the Importance of Growing"

Before his liver failed, Pop tended to the garden. I tend to it now. I did what Pop would’ve done. I started seeds under lights, turned compost, plowed, planted, watered, weeded, and pruned. I’m even ...

April 01, 2016

New Fiction
Peter Hurtgen
Peter Hurtgen
Flash Audio Series: "Christmas on Easter Island"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our series, Peter Hurtgen reads "Christmas on Easter Island." [soundcloud id='190637053' width='1...

March 31, 2016

Flash Audio Series
"Christmas on Easter Island"

Here’s the worst vacation idea I’ve ever had. Why not spend Christmas on Easter Island with my ice-cold, estranged wife and her professionally picky parents? I can’t think of a reason why not...

February 28, 2015

New Fiction
Matthew K. Thibeault
Matthew K. Thibeault
"The Second Most Important Explosion of 1986"

Austin, TX USA 01/28/86: 10:25 AM (CDT) Time does seem to pass. The world unfolds not in moments but in frames, images compressed into life. A live broadcast is a collective consci...

March 30, 2016

New Fiction
Tracey Adams
Tracey Adams
Ask an Agent Series: Tracey Adams

Tracey Adams ...

March 21, 2016

Ask an Agent Series
Shome Dasgupta
Shome Dasgupta
What Do You See When You Shave (Upon Sitting Next To A Stranger At The DMV)

If you stand behind me, as I face a mirror, and peer around -- apart from your own eyes, the top bit of your head, and maybe an ear or two, you would see broken veins and arteries, shattered intestine...

March 20, 2016

New Fiction
Stephen Frech
Stephen Frech
"The Abandoned Millworks"

When the abandoned millworks caught fire, distant sirens woke the town. The cutting and drying sheds, reduced to spent, black timber, crumpled in minutes, but the dirt in the millyard, hard-packed wit...

March 14, 2016

New Fiction
Chamandeep Bains
Chamandeep Bains
"Gods 'n Dolls"

Stacy hasn’t had her period for two months now and we’re all convinced she’s preggo with a child of God. Brenda wants to host the baby shower, slumber party style, so we can all paint our nails glow-i...

March 13, 2016

New Fiction
Amy Fant
Amy Fant
"Coming Round"

I am the product of my imagination. I imagine him imagining me in a red-striped bikini top and jean shorts, lounging on the grey deck chair on his dock. I imagine that when he thinks of me like this, ...

March 10, 2016

New Fiction
Jen Knox
Jen Knox
"Save Your Abandoned Art"

You are going to write a story so gripping that your readers will forget their problems and disappear inside your well-placed words. You are motivated and have the tools, the skills, the coffee. You b...

March 08, 2016

Fiction Craft
"The Writer’s Brain on Data"

There is always another email to answer, another link to share, another picture to upload, another article to read, and always another instant message. We are inundated by data, which is no big revela...

October 28, 2015

Fiction & Culture
An Interview with Jen Knox, author of After the Gazebo

Jen Knox's 's new collection of stories, After the Gazebo, was recently pu...

May 21, 2015

Interviews (all)
"Fear as Fuel for Creativity"

“The writers we tend to universally admire, like Beckett, or Kafka, or TS Eliot, are not very prolific.” —John Updike Despite the quote above, John Updike was successfully...

April 21, 2015

Advice / Suggestions
"Fostering Literary Community in the Digital Age"

A writer is accustomed to solitude. Writing requires a certain amount of isolation in order for words to become stories, poems and essays. But then the writing is done, and the writer is left to figur...

February 19, 2015

Fiction & Culture
"The Digital Narrative"

Narrative nonfiction is tricky, full of emotional nuance and blatant subjectivity. Also, thanks to technology, we all write it all the time. More, most of us publish it, either in the traditional sens...

February 07, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Why We Read"

A skeleton key is created by eliminating certain ridges and notches. By stripping the key down so it fits only one of many necessary patterns, it becomes more universal. Similarly, tapping into ...

December 09, 2014

Fiction & Culture
"Write It Out"

Clichés can be accurate portrayals of certain situations. The phrase “[S/he] threw me under the bus,” for instance...

November 10, 2014

Fiction Craft
"See Me"

Transparency is not art, but it is increasingly a part of life. There is no longer much of a choice when it comes to exposure. Writers, like everyone else, are increasingly connected to each oth...

October 17, 2014

Fiction Craft
"A Glimpse"

Today is my thirty-fifth birthday, and I want to wear my hair curly. I want to look natural, the way my grandmother does in the photograph...

December 23, 2013

Featured Fiction
Randall Brown
Randall Brown
"Time to Turn Your Flash to the Dark Side"

“Narrative,” writes Peter Abbott in The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, “is present in every age, in every place, in every society; it begins with the very history of [hu]mankind and the...

March 06, 2016

Fiction Craft
"Use POV To Close That Distance in a Flash"

I never fully grasped point-of-view until I read David Jauss’s amazing essay “From Long Shots To X-Rays: Distance and Point of View in Fiction” in his collection of essays Alone With All That Could Ha...

February 29, 2016

Fiction Craft
The Writing Room: Why Go Back?

Rejection and the accompanying crushing disappointment is something writers likely face daily and shrug off without much reflection. It’s just part of the whole writing experience, yes? But all that r...

April 14, 2015

Advice / Suggestions
"The Reviews are In — And They Are Crafty"

A few weeks ago, I participated in a “boot camp” offered by Writer’s Digest, “Agent One-on-One: How to Craft Query Letters & Other Submission Materials That Get Noticed.” The repeated focus on “st...

February 12, 2015

Advice / Suggestions
"Don’t Write Off the Comments of Workshop Readers—Even If They Are All Idiots"

In her article “Workshopping,” Stephanie Vanderlice sums up the phenomenon of the writing workshop in a four-word sentence: “Writer, meet your reader” (147). Until I came across this article, I hadn’t...

February 03, 2015

Fiction Craft
The Challenge Beyond Craft: Slot-Filling (Part II)

In Part I, I discussed the challenge of content, of filling each “slot” with something, and the overwhelm...

January 21, 2015

Fiction Craft
The Challenge Beyond Craft: Slot-Filling (Part 1 of 2)

A few weeks ago, in “Give Readers Something To Love,” I discussed the realities of your flash fiction submission being one of hundreds under consideration—and how that reality might make you think dif...

January 13, 2015

Fiction Craft
“Giving Readers Something To Love"

If a flash has been workshopped, it has become accustomed to unique attention—that of a handful of writers giving it their carefulest, closest reading. It might be one of two or three othe...

December 17, 2014

Editing/Publishing
"Origin"

Against the netting of the pitch back, I threw sidearm like the Pirates Kent Tekulve, bottom of the ninth, a World Series that had not yet happened for the Pirates. A horn startled me. Nicky Green in ...

July 13, 2014

Featured Fiction
C. Conway Bellone Jr.
C. Conway Bellone Jr.
"Of Mice and Men, America's Mirror of Fallibilities"

“I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally” -W.C. Fields In 1937, American writer and California nati...

March 01, 2016

Fiction & Culture
Reid Maruyama
Reid Maruyama
"Unidentified Flying Objects"

One winter night, a long time ago, a bright light was seen up in the foothills, darting back and forth just above the tree-line for hours, leaving streaks of silver swinging across the night-sky. Fina...

February 27, 2016

New Fiction
David Corbett
David Corbett
"How to Craft Compelling Characters"

...

February 22, 2016

Fiction Craft
Author Interview Series: with David Corbett

David Corbett's first novel, The Devil's Redhead ...

July 21, 2015

Interviews (all)
Molly Giles
Molly Giles
"The Sowder Sisters"

Ruby was fine until she gassed herself. I must of told her a hundred times, “If you don’t keep that stove lit, Sister, you’re going to blow yourself sky high.” But oh no, ninety-four years old, stubbo...

February 20, 2016

New Fiction
Caryn Wiseman
Caryn Wiseman
Ask an Agent Series: Caryn Wiseman

Caryn Wiseman is a senior agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. For this installment of our Ask an Agent Series, we asked Caryn what she typically looks for when she c...

February 15, 2016

Ask an Agent Series
Hilary Mantel
Hilary Mantel
Novel Flash: Bring Up the Bodies

His children are falling from the sky. He watches from horseback, acres of England stretching behind him; they drop, gilt-winged, each with a blood-filled gaze. Grace Cromwell hovers in thin air...

February 08, 2016

Novel Flash
Eileen Herbert-Goodall
Eileen Herbert-Goodall
The Craft of Writing 'Great' Short Fiction

Don’t be fooled – writing great short fiction is no easy feat. Although, this form of writing is relatively brief compared with the novel, writers of short fiction have a difficult task; we have a ver...

February 06, 2016

Fiction Craft
Scott O'Connor
Scott O'Connor
"This Is What We Do"

We ride in vans. We knock on doors. We sell subscriptions to magazines. You’ve heard of these magazines. Would you like to buy a subscription? I’ll earn points; I’ll make money. Would you like to help...

January 30, 2016

New Fiction
Lee Kisling
Lee Kisling
The Story Behind the Story: "Therapy Dance"

I am fascinated by the index of psychiatric disorders commonly known as the DSM-IV, which is amazingly large and descriptive. In fact, with so many choices, it makes you wonder how troubled almost eve...

January 28, 2016

The Story Behind the Story
"Therapy Dance"

Agitated Pessimism, wearing a pink sweater, a push-up bra, and one hoop earring leans against the wall, listening, to Frustrated Empathy chittering on about Apprehensive Insecure who is clinging...

January 21, 2016

New Fiction
The Story Behind the Story: "When She Comes"

Coming 'Round the Mountain" is a derivation of an African-American "spiritual" song known as "When the Chariot Comes". There is an obvious element ...

October 26, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
Charlotte Morganti
Charlotte Morganti
"How to Improve Your Odds of Sticking to Your Writing Resolutions"

...

January 25, 2016

Developing a Writing Life
What’s the Big Deal about Leading a Writers’ Workshop?

...

January 18, 2016

Developing a Writing Life
A Review of The Art of Character

The Art of Character by David Corbett (Pengin, 2013)   Like most writers, I have several books in my bookshelves on craft. In truth, more than se...

December 28, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Why You Should Battle the Proofreading Ogre and How to Manage the War"

...

December 07, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Ten Habits of Effective Writing Critiquers"

...

November 28, 2015

Developing a Writing Life
A Review of 6 Books on the Craft of Fiction

...

September 28, 2015

Fiction Craft
A Review of Two Books on Revision Techniques

...

September 14, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Seven Reasons to Attend a Writers’ Conference"

...

August 17, 2015

Developing a Writing Life
An Interview with Alan Rinzler

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Alan Rinzler, who has had a long and successful career as an acquisitions editor and executive with major publishers such as Simon & Schuster, Bantam B...

August 10, 2015

Interviews (all)
What’s the Big Deal about Your Inner Critic?

...

July 27, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Pick Up a Baton and Orchestrate Your Characters!

...

July 20, 2015

Fiction Craft
Eight Reasons to Consider Pursuing an MFA

...

July 06, 2015

Developing a Writing Life
What’s the Big Deal about Public Readings of Your Writing?

...

June 22, 2015

Developing a Writing Life
"How to Mine your Childhood for Story Gems and More"

...

November 17, 2014

Fiction Craft
"Three Decisions to Make about Viewpoint in Fiction"

You have a fabulous idea for a short story, perhaps a novel. You have a rough outline — or not, but you know how the story is going to begin, progress and end. Your fingers are twitching o...

October 14, 2014

A Few Choice Words
Rae Pagliarulo
Rae Pagliarulo
Why I Write: Rae Pagliarulo

I try to think about the motivation to become a writer - as though one day, you are not, and the next... Or as if there's a path, one we set foot and say, Well, now I'm on my way. It...

January 23, 2016

Why I Write
Hippocamp 2015

Going to a brand new conference is always a risk. It's a big investment of time, money, and energy. But, after reading the list of panelists and authors lined up for ...

August 14, 2015

Conference/Residency Spotlight
Maureen Sherbondy
Maureen Sherbondy
"Grapefruits and Oranges"

The ultrasound reveals a pooling of fluid along my C-section scar. There is a golf ball-sized polyp in my uterus, as well as a second smaller one, and a fibroid. The doctor asks me what I would ...

January 14, 2016

New Fiction
Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson
Novel Flash: Lila

The child was just there on the stoop in the dark, hugging herself against the cold, all cried out and nearly sleeping. She couldn't holler anymore and they didn't hear her anyway, or th...

January 11, 2016

Novel Flash
Alaina Symanovich
Alaina Symanovich
"Raw"

Think of an egg: how it cracks. It’s hard: hard meaning brittle, brittle meaning breakable, breakable meaning not-hard. It’s not-hard and its insides are the not-hardest of all. Break the brittle shel...

December 22, 2015

New Fiction
Barbara Harroun
Barbara Harroun
The Story Behind the Story: "From Adam"

Six years ago, I moved back to the town I grew up in because my husband was offered a job in radio. While initially the transition was difficult, we’ve settled in and found a wonderful community, and ...

December 21, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
"From Adam"

We end up at Ryan’s house, because there are six of us, and it is practically summer, and Ryan’s perverted step-dad is rich and always at the hospital cutting people open and his mom lives at the Coun...

December 03, 2015

New Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "From Adam"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our se...

November 02, 2015

Flash Audio Series
Why I Write: Barbara Harroun

Because epilepsy was the first stone I threw. The first word that made someone who wasn’t family cry. And cry she did, snot and tears, and raging fists. Because I was made to apologize, and I was sorr...

March 07, 2015

Why I Write
Nels Hanson
Nels Hanson
"The Urgent Delay"

Dear Mr. Fellows: I informed you a month ago the novel is due at the printer’s this week and as I mentioned yesterday in our abortive phone conversation I have very urgent questions concerning your...

December 17, 2015

New Fiction
David Vann
David Vann
Novel Flash: Goat Mountain

Dust like powder blanketing the air, making a reddish apparition of the day. Smell of that dust and smell of pine, smell of doveweed. The pickup a segmented creature, head twisting opposite the ...

December 12, 2015

Novel Flash
Ben Shields
Ben Shields
The Story Behind the Story: "He Had Vigor"

In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Ben Shields talks about what motivated him to write "He Had Vigor." I wrote this story in Dece...

December 10, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
"He Had Vigor"

Honey and I are pregnant, due come warm weather.      I’m ambivalent. My cat, Old Guard, is weak. He may go any day, but Honey&rsqu...

September 25, 2012

Featured Fiction
Linda Taylor
Linda Taylor
"Pages in the Hands of an Angry Editor"

Thanks ...

December 05, 2015

Editing/Publishing
"Why I Love Literary Citizenship"

Much is being written lately on the topic of ...

November 30, 2015

Developing a Writing Life
"Teaching Editing–A Little Grammar Goes a Long Way"

I’ve still got my editing cap on this week. After my tiny...

November 09, 2015

Editing/Publishing
"6 Quick Proofreading Tips"

...

October 19, 2015

Fiction Craft
"The Art of the Book Review"

I just got off the phone with my friend, L. Marie, who...

September 07, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Is It Possible to Teach Editing?"

I’m working on my syllabi for my fall classes. It’s always an interesting challenge. ...

July 13, 2015

Fiction Craft
"The Hard Work of Writing"

...

June 15, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Avoid the Bog: Save Revision for Later"

I spent this past weekend being an academic. While I’ve presented at plenty of writers conferences, this past weekend I gave a paper (oooo, that sounds so academic) at the S...

January 26, 2015

Fiction Craft
The Process of Publishing: An Exercise

When I teach my ...

November 10, 2014

Editing/Publishing
Mark Keats
Mark Keats
An Interview with Katie Cortese

Recently, I talked with Katie Cortese about her new book Girl Power and Other Short-Short Stories...

December 01, 2015

Interviews (all)
Mark Lees
Mark Lees
"Keeping it Short and Sweet- Flash Fiction"

Flash Fiction: For Life On The Go Short stories have long held appeal to readers who lead busy lives. Many of the works of Charles Dickens were originally serialised to be digested...

November 26, 2015

Flash Talk
Jason Half-Pillow
Jason Half-Pillow
Why I Write: Jason Half-Pillow

I write because I can’t really do much else. I can do other things but not things that require concentration. I can’t really work. I can’t really read. I can’t really sit through an entire conversatio...

November 23, 2015

Why I Write
Lana Spendl
Lana Spendl
"Fingers Hooked"

I wanted a fuck and he wouldn’t give it to me because his wife was home sick with the baby and h...

November 21, 2015

New Fiction
Shellie Zacharia
Shellie Zacharia
"Alstromerias"

In the shopping cart, she found a grocery list. The handwriting was pleasant. A bit slanted. Curvy. Flowers. She never bought fresh flowers. Why not? She’d buy some. She’d u...

November 19, 2015

New Fiction
Alise Wascom
Alise Wascom
"Use Writing as an Excuse to Travel to Beautiful Places (and other Confessions of a Conference Monster)"

Up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the mornings were cold and the internet worked only after the sun came out and re-charged the cells from the panel on the roof, after the little yurt where I was ...

November 17, 2015

Developing a Writing Life
Alina Stefanescu
Alina Stefanescu
The Story Behind the Story: "Mother-In-Law Collection"

The story was inspired by my Romanian grandfather's stamp collection-- four albums of stamps which chronicle Romania's history und...

November 16, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
"Mother-In-Law Collection"

I’m no Mata Hari but I’m good at what it takes to get a mother-in-law. Not good at the marriages or the swindle of supper and spouses, mind you, but a woman’s got to be ...

June 17, 2015

New Fiction
Ryan Griffith
Ryan Griffith
"Lena Keeps Her Secret"

The scar ran like spilt wax down her shoulder and arm. Her face changed as she spread lotion over the ruined flesh, eyes pooling with something he did not understand or ask about. Even dressed, her ha...

November 06, 2015

New Fiction
A.M. Gwynn
A.M. Gwynn
"Burning Bridges"

I wondered if she thought of me while she was falling; sails unfurled, velocity stripping the feathers from her wings. I didn't know how she could jump without telling me what dead would be ...

November 05, 2015

New Fiction
Kent Wascom
Kent Wascom
Author Interview Series: Kent Wascom

A native of the Gulf south, Kent Wascom attended Louisiana State University and received an MFA from Florida State University. He was awarded the 2012 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival ...

October 31, 2015

Interviews (all)
Novel Flash: The Blood of Heaven

When I came again into the bedroom, I found Red Kat...

September 01, 2014

Novel Flash
Doug Cornett
Doug Cornett
"The Impersonator"

Ray lopes through the sunlit street, the heavy wooden cross burying splinters all over his back. The crown, which took him two days to make, digs itself into his head. Genuine streaks of sweat and blo...

October 29, 2015

New Fiction
"The Impersonator"

Ray lopes through the sunlit street, the heavy wooden cross burying splinters all over his back. The crown, which took him two days to make, digs itself into his head. Genuine streaks of sweat and blo...

April 23, 2015

New Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "The Impersonator"

...

February 28, 2015

Flash Audio Series
Jess Walter
Jess Walter
Author Interview Series: Jess Walter

A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the author of six novels, one book of short stories and o...

October 27, 2015

Interviews (all)
Lynsey Morandin
Lynsey Morandin
Ask an Editor Series: Hypertrophic Press

Lynsey Morandin is the Editor of Hypertrophic Press. Originally from Canada, Lynsey holds a degree and post-graduate certificate in book publish...

October 25, 2015

Ask an Editor Series
Laura Valeri
Laura Valeri
Flash Audio Series: "Thieving Magpie"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our series, Laura Valeri reads "Thieving Magpie." [soundcloud id='191838100' width='100%'] &nb...

October 24, 2015

Flash Audio Series
The Story Behind the Story: "Thieving Magpie"

In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Laura Valeri talks about what motivated her to write "The Thieving Magpie." Ever since I ca...

September 26, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
"Thieving Magpie"

Her ex-husband was stealing from her. She had followed him from Italy to America, raised his three children, cleaned his house, ironed his shirts, cooked his meals, and then, after nearly fifty yea...

September 05, 2015

New Fiction
Eleanor Morse
Eleanor Morse
"Collisions in Broad Daylight"

When accidents happen, there’s a hesitation before the impact, like a syncopation in music. The heart hesitates, the pulse is disturbed, something moves in to take the place of the ordinary downbeat, ...

October 22, 2015

New Fiction
Christopher D. DiCicco
Christopher D. DiCicco
Author Interview Series: Christopher DiCicco

Tell us about So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds. The stories are told from the perspective of narrators learning to cope with absurd pain. ...

October 21, 2015

Author Interview Series
"Even Toy Swords"

When the boy next door knocked on mine and pronounced himself dead, he had a gun and I had a sword. Because, after all, I was the girl. He said it was only fair, that I should take what"s handed to me...

August 27, 2015

New Fiction
"Even Toy Swords"

When the boy next door knocked on mine and pronounced himself dead, he had a gun and I had a sword. Because, after all, I was the girl. He said it was only fair, that I should take what's h...

December 11, 2014

Featured Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "Even Toy Swords"

...

September 21, 2014

Flash Audio Series
Daniel Romo
Daniel Romo
"Self as Coffee Shop"

I ask to speak with the manager, but he’s on his break. The baristas keep giving me tea with not enough water. They have big tits, so I forgive them at first. But the ratio of water to tea...

October 17, 2015

New Fiction
"October"

I try not to stare, but their legs are so long. Tan limbs lingering in line as if highlighting their youth. As if macchiato is a recipe for hotness. I fight the urge to try to claim and climb th...

October 20, 2014

Featured Fiction
Emma Bolden
Emma Bolden
"Before She Was a Memory"

I didn’t recognize her without her head. The policeman took me to the morgue. He told me to look. I looked. There was an expanse of steel, smooth and inscrutable as any lake, her body arcing towards h...

October 14, 2015

New Fiction
Brandon Romano
Brandon Romano
"A Review of The Best Small Fictions 2015"

Having studied creative writing in both the US and the UK recently, I can attest that “small fictions,” to borrow the pithy designation from the editors of ...

October 13, 2015

Reviews
Nickolas Butler
Nickolas Butler
"Sashimi Bear"

On the television screen: a man eating the yet-beating heart of his enemy, chin red and wet with hot blood. We gagged in delight, in mock horror. Outside, Coop’s daddy was skinning a deer. We rushe...

October 12, 2015

New Fiction
W Tracy Dillon
W Tracy Dillon
"The Closer"

Dr. Morris Klozer had to tell another patient that he was dying.  It was his third of the afternoon. About a year earlier, an orderly had started calling him “The Closer,” and it made sense, so it ...

October 10, 2015

New Fiction
Pamela Correll
Pamela Correll
Flash Audio Series: "A Late Appointment"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our series, Pamela Correll reads "A Late Appointment." [soundcloud id='208197838' width='100%']...

October 08, 2015

Flash Audio Series
The Story Behind the Story: "A Late Appointment"

I worked as a social worker for 42 years; 27 of those as a psychotherapist. "A Late Appointment" is a true story. The client is so typic...

September 19, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
"A Late Appointment"

Everyone who comes in here changes the molecules just a little.  They bring their energies, their problems, their jealousies and their tears - every appointment shifts the molecules and adjusts them t...

September 07, 2015

New Fiction
"A Late Appointment"

Everyone who comes in here changes the molecules just a little. They bring their energies, their problems, their jealousies and their tears - every appointment shifts the molecules and adjusts them to...

June 10, 2015

New Fiction
Pamelyn Casto
Pamelyn Casto
"The Magic of Storytelling: Films in a Flash"

Francis Ford Coppola says the earliest filmmakers were magicians. Today, the abracadabra that began the industry is clearly alive and thriving as more and more filmmakers are busy creati...

October 06, 2015

Fiction & Culture
"Flashes On The Meridian: Dazzled by Flash Fiction"

Lately there are brilliant flashes of fiction almost everywhere you look. You see them in print journals, maga...

May 11, 2015

Flash Talk
A List of Flash Fiction Collections

FIELD GUIDE TO WRITING FLASH FICTION: TIPS FROM EDITORS, TEACHERS, AND WRITERS IN THE FIELD...

December 11, 2014

Reading Lists
Nathan Filer
Nathan Filer
Novel Flash: The Shock of The Fall

I should say that I am not a nice person. Sometimes I try to be, but often I'm not. So when it was my turn to cover my eyes and count to a hundred -- I cheated. I stood at the...

October 05, 2015

Novel Flash
Anthony Varallo
Anthony Varallo
"Monkeyshines"

It’s hard to say when we realized our son had monkeyshines. My wife always claims she was the first to notice, and I guess that’s true, since she was the one who called me over to his bedroom door one...

September 24, 2015

New Fiction
Why I Write: Anthony Varallo

I first started writing short stories my sophomore year in college, when I signed up for a fiction writing workshop for reasons I can’t even remember now.  I had written a few things ...

December 30, 2014

Why I Write
John Brandon
John Brandon
Author Interview Series: John Brandon

...

September 21, 2015

Interviews (all)
Tara Masih
Tara Masih
Ask an Editor Series: Tara Masih

For this segment of our Ask an Editor Series, we asked Tara about The Best Small Fictions 2015, her a...

September 18, 2015

Ask an Editor Series
"The Summer of Whooping Cough"

Up and down our street, coughs pepper the night, soft gunfire from scattered positions. Our ability to fall into a deep sleep is impossible, as our windows are wide open to catch any bit of tepid air ...

September 13, 2015

New Fiction
Sherrie Flick
Sherrie Flick
"Silence, Pushing"

Their daughter Elizabeth wanted a dog, had wanted one for quite some time. Now that she hid away in her room most days, it seemed like the right thing to do. They’d get her a puppy, and sh...

September 17, 2015

New Fiction
Michael Grubb
Michael Grubb
"Early Morning Landing in Newark"

Dropping from heaven and looking out the window, the clouds thin and lights wink through the whistling dark where tail lights are drifting down lanes and freeways. Beads on a string, red blood cells b...

September 10, 2015

New Fiction
Lili Potpara
Lili Potpara
"Amerika Street"

Slovenia (from Fl...

September 08, 2015

New Fiction
Jesse Goolsby
Jesse Goolsby
Novel Flash: "I'd Walk with My Friends If I Could Find Them"

“Maybe we can get him into luge,” his mother says, thumbing back at her son. Then, tone rising: “How many people can be into luge? A hundred?” “A thousand, worldwide. Still good odds.” “What do ...

September 06, 2015

Novel Flash
Michael Brasier
Michael Brasier
"Hard Reset"

The battery icon on my forearm steadily blinks. One bar left. On my wrist below the recently replaced steel joint is a single LED bulb installed by Dr. Powell to warn him and myself when I have ...

September 03, 2015

New Fiction
Mónica Lavín
Mónica Lavín
"Volcanic Fireflies"

Mexico (from Flas...

September 01, 2015

New Fiction
Felicia Eth
Felicia Eth
Ask an Agent Series: Felicia Eth

Felicia Eth is a literary agent at Felicia Eth Literary Representat...

August 31, 2015

Ask an Agent Series
Pete Stevens
Pete Stevens
"Steps Taken towards Breakdown"

1. When the young Husband returns from the lot with a black SUV that can only be described as compact. How the Wife holds her palm to the slight swell of her belly and says, It’s the wrong color, the...

August 29, 2015

New Fiction
Kevin P. Keating
Kevin P. Keating
Author Interview Series: Kevin P. Keating

After working as a boilermaker in the steel mills in Ohio, KEVIN P. KEATING became a professor of English and ...

August 28, 2015

Interviews (all)
H. J. Shepard
H. J. Shepard
"Please Hold Me the Forgotten Way"

United States (from ...

August 25, 2015

New Fiction
Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr
Novel Flash: All the Light We Cannot See

...

August 24, 2015

Novel Flash
Rita Ciresi
Rita Ciresi
"Hot Yoga"

    He comes in late and unfurls his mat too close to mine. During Salutation I hear his every breath. During Noos...

August 20, 2015

New Fiction
Why I Write: Rita Ciresi

Shhhh. Don't tell anyone. But I'm a faux-academic. I teach my classes. Hold my office hours. Attend meetings. Push papers. I tell strangers I'm a teacher. I confess only to myself--and the IRS--...

March 08, 2015

Why I Write
Flash Audio Series: "Hot Yoga"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our series, Rita Ciresi reads "Hot Yoga." [soundcloud id='168216...

September 17, 2014

Flash Audio Series
Muna Fadhil
Muna Fadhil
"Prisoner of War"

Iraq (from ...

August 18, 2015

New Fiction
Joseph Han
Joseph Han
"A Break Up in Stages"

  After three and a half months, which winds up being the halfway point in your relationship, this is the first time Mia wanted to break up with you. Before that, while you were first datin...

August 15, 2015

New Fiction
David Abrams
David Abrams
"Marital Tip #79"

When out of town on a business trip, do not get caught up in the moment. Remain emotionally-neutral whenever possible. For example, it is not advi...

August 13, 2015

New Fiction
Mohibullah Zegham
Mohibullah Zegham
"The Tiger"

Afghanistan (from Flash Fiction International...

August 11, 2015

New Fiction
Luke Whisnant
Luke Whisnant
"Later I Find Out My Mother Has Read On WebMD That Antioxidants Can Prevent Cancer"

It was just a cheap fold-up lawnchair—retro style, wide white-and-green plastic straps woven over a lightweight metal frame—that she bought for the beach but never got to use. She ha...

August 06, 2015

New Fiction
Daren Dean
Daren Dean
Why I Write: Daren Dean

“The type of mind that can understand good fiction is not necessarily the educated mind, but it is at all times the kind of mind that is willing to have its...

December 10, 2014

Why I Write
"Twinkling"

The sound of the screen door slapping shut told me Dennis was home early and something terrible must have happened.  Anymore he worked twelve hour shifts at the state hospital even though they said no...

September 20, 2012

Featured Fiction
"Furious"

Scenario #1 When Trisha leaves to go see her counselor he thinks he might just get in his truck and drive down to Biloxi where his friend...

July 13, 2011

Featured Fiction
Daren Dean
Daren Dean
Novel Flash: Far Beyond the Pale

As long as I can remember everyone's always called me Honey Boy. It wasn't Mama who gave me that name, she just mostly called me “Honey.” Mama Horne used to take care of me when I was little and Mama ...

August 03, 2015

New Fiction
"The Heavenly Language"

As the car whipped over the rise, his stomach came up in his throat and he saw his father’s accusing eyes on him in the rearview mirror. He tried to sink back as far as he could into the b...

November 26, 2014

Featured Fiction
Lee Masterson
Lee Masterson
"Creating Memorable Characters"

Before you begin your new story, take a little time to create fresh new characters that are your own. Using someone else's well-established formula will only brand you as a hack with poten...

August 03, 2015

Fiction Craft
Brigitte Hoarau
Brigitte Hoarau
"Sanctuary"

Excerpt from in-progress book of linked stories Cal...

August 01, 2015

New Fiction
Emmalee Hagarman
Emmalee Hagarman
"Small Talk"

“Guard the house, Panda,” my stepmom says. She’s talking to our three-legged dog.   A car hit him when he was a puppy. Gangrene. He’s s...

July 30, 2015

New Fiction
Reiko Davis
Reiko Davis
Ask an Agent Series: Reiko Davis

Reiko Davis is a literary agent at Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency....

July 26, 2015

Ask an Agent Series
Nan Byrne
Nan Byrne
"The Baby's Hunger"

Da's stagger did less damage than his swing. He rolled about the kitchen like a boat with a keel hole scattering dishes and clanging empty soup pots, but he broke nary a houseware. The drunk...

July 23, 2015

New Fiction
Michelle Ross
Michelle Ross
Why I Write: Michelle Ross

A relative recently wrote to me because he recognized another family member in a fiction piece of mine. He condemned me for making inglorious details about this person public. Public is the keyword he...

July 11, 2015

Why I Write
"Kinetic Theory"

In college, my only friend was a long-limbed boy named Kaleb. He had a habit of rearranging other people’s things. Sometimes I caught him in the act. I’d watch him move the books on my shelf so tha...

June 13, 2015

New Fiction
"Transactions"

My mother stands outside the extended stay hotel with her enormous dog as I pull into the parking lot. She’s short on rent. Eight hundred dollars this time. A few dozen words in almost as many year...

May 12, 2015

New Fiction
Juliana Kapetanov
Juliana Kapetanov
"Sleeping"

The phone rings. I flush the toilet. I hurry up and wash my hands. I grab the cordless from the bedroom, as not to wake the sleeping baby. “Hello?” “Hi, Jenny. It’s me. I’m running a little late...

July 09, 2015

New Fiction
Deana Nantz
Deana Nantz
"Blanched"

As an infant, Penelope spent a few nights in Saxon County hospital.  Her mother, Janice, feared mold like the plague, filling the country air with ammonia and bleach.  When Janice wasn’t cleaning the ...

July 03, 2015

New Fiction
James Reidel
James Reidel
“Lamplit by Shirley Temple’s Late Films”

With midnight gone are your dance numbers with butlers and windmills, your lollipop song sung up and down the aisle of a silve...

July 02, 2015

New Fiction
"Black Out"

With your ear to the pillow you listen to the sirens and its foam harden as you bury your face, a pillow as hard as the sandba...

May 07, 2015

New Fiction
Jon Clinch
Jon Clinch
Author Interview Series: Jon Clinch

Jon Clinch's first novel, Finn—the secret history of Huckleberry Finn’s father—was named an American Library Association Notable Book and was chosen as one of the year's best books by the ...

July 01, 2015

Author Interview Series
Erin Lyndal Martin
Erin Lyndal Martin
The Story Behind the Story: "Grow Grow Grow"

Once, in a reverie, I listened to the PJ Harvey song “Grow Grow Grow.” I sowed a seed Underneath the oak tree I trod it in With my b...

June 30, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
"Grow Grow Grow"

I don’t need anybody to tell me what I was thinking when I went outside in my boots that day. My gloves, I put on gingerly, picking up the paper napkin. I did not bother with my hat. Under the snow...

May 26, 2015

New Fiction
Josh Russell
Josh Russell
Novel Flash: Yellow Jack

...

June 29, 2015

Novel Flash
"Moscow"

Before the war I was a pastry chef, a milliner, a streetcar conductor, the foreman of a vodka distillery. My name is Josef, is Karl, is Alexander, is Anastas. I am a Muscovite, I was born in Kiev, in ...

September 01, 2011

Featured Fiction
Andrea Baldwin
Andrea Baldwin
Write Now: "Extending and Advancing"

...

June 27, 2015

Write Now: An Ongoing Workshop for Writers
Write Now: "Playful Collaboration"

...

April 20, 2015

Write Now: An Ongoing Workshop for Writers
Write Now: "Dear Diary"

...

April 06, 2015

Write Now: An Ongoing Workshop for Writers
Write Now: "The Art of Rewriting"

...

March 23, 2015

Write Now: An Ongoing Workshop for Writers
"Conflicting Advice"

For most of my life, I’ve considered writing to be a solitary activity. When I began studying creative writing at university, I discovered the joys and frustrations of ‘critique groups’. Then a fellow...

February 22, 2015

Write Now: An Ongoing Workshop for Writers
Write Now: "Proofreading"

Proof-reading, say all the self-help books, is vital. A manuscript riddled with typos and grammatical errors conveys a lack of respect for yourself, your work, and your reader. It's just sloppy, and t...

October 28, 2014

Write Now: An Ongoing Workshop for Writers
Write Now: "Ideas"

In Neil Gaiman’s Sandman #17 ‘Calliope’, Morpheus punishes a writer by overwhelming him with ideas for stories. ‘They’re coming so fast,’ gasps the writer, ‘swamping me, overwhelming me…’ Like most...

October 19, 2014

Write Now: An Ongoing Workshop for Writers
Write Now: "Realistic Dialogue"

I recently read a draft of a colleague’s story. I was thoroughly enjoying the tension, the mystery, the literary craft of the tale – until, a third of the way into the story, the foc...

September 22, 2014

Write Now: An Ongoing Workshop for Writers
A. Nicole Kelly
A. Nicole Kelly
"Milk Teeth"

So now she knew and it was done, and as the curves in the road rocked her in and out of the same bad dream she thought of him: of how rough he’d been with the woman at the wedding, of how surprised he...

June 25, 2015

New Fiction
Norman German
Norman German
"Second Wave"

Later that afternoon, at the head of River Road, I was trying to explain the situation to the deputy. After the first wave of the storm surge, the water on River Road had dropped to three feet, dow...

June 24, 2015

New Fiction
Mick McGrath
Mick McGrath
"A Review of Darrin Doyle's The Dark Will End the Dark"

The Dark Will End the Dark by Darrin Doyle (Tortoise ...

June 23, 2015

Reviews
Kara Cochran
Kara Cochran
Not Myself: On Writing Other Perspectives

This never-ending debate came up several times in my MFA classes: can a writer write from the perspective of another race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, or identity? The importance of th...

June 22, 2015

Fiction & Culture
"Lessons for the Genres"

As I examined my AWP conference loot, I pulled out a book called Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief by David Starkey. A gentleman at the Bedford/St. Martin’s booth was happy to give ...

May 17, 2015

Fiction Craft
"Don’t Tell Me What to Think or How to Feel: Avoiding Didacticism"

In my last article, I touched upon the importance of subtlety of theme in effective writing. This can also be understood as the avoidance of didacticism, defined on Dictionary.com as “teaching or inte...

May 15, 2015

Fiction Craft
A "Real Job": The Legitimacy of Creative Writing

Over the course of my creative writing MFA, the topic of the work-writing balance has come up more than a few times. Some of my colleagues have the luxury of attending our program full-time and not wo...

March 01, 2015

Developing a Writing Life
"Instant Gratification: Sharing Your Creative Work"

Whenever I successfully complete a story, poem or creative work, my first impulse is that of a high school gossip with a secret: share it. I await the person’s opinion with anticipation and excitement...

January 16, 2015

Fiction Craft
"The Overly Sensitive Writer"

Anne Lamott recently wrote an article titled “Me, the overly sensitive child,” adapted from her book, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair. In it, she discusses the peril...

January 10, 2015

Developing a Writing Life
Be Yourself: Memorable Characters in Flash

Lord of the Rings’ Gandalf, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Memorable characters are at the crux of good prose, from screenwriting to literary ...

November 21, 2014

Flash Talk
Letting the Small Magnify the Big: Symbols in Flash

When I mention flash fiction to non-writers, most have no idea what I’m talking about. “Flash? What’s that?” After I explain, their confusion turns to intrigue. “Wo...

October 15, 2014

Flash Talk
Deborah Schneider
Deborah Schneider
Ask an Agent Series: Deborah Schneider

Deborah Schneider is a partner at Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents Inc. For this installment of our Ask an Agent Series, we asked Deborah what ...

June 21, 2015

Ask an Agent Series
Caroline Swicegood
Caroline Swicegood
"Anticipation"

There is a ledge near the Ponte degli Scalzi and that is where I sit on my last night in Venice, smoking cigarettes and watching lovers on the bridge, vaporetti chugging by in the Grand Canal.  A vapo...

June 20, 2015

New Fiction
Claire Anderson-Wheeler
Claire Anderson-Wheeler
Ask an Agent Series: Claire Anderson-Wheeler

Claire Anderson-Wheeler is a literary agent at Regal Literary. For this installment of our Ask an Agent Series, we asked Claire what she typically loo...

June 19, 2015

Ask an Agent Series
James Elens
James Elens
"The Music Man"

I play a bad hand, with a bad face and an empty wallet, and when they take down my high stack, I feel those hideous blue lights on the walls of this water-logged Toulouse Street hole in the wall...

June 18, 2015

New Fiction
Les Hunter
Les Hunter
"What We Talk About When We Talk About Lisa Frank"

The door was shut and we were locked inside. This was not by choice. There were three of us equipment managers. Steven had one leg longer than the other and wore a brace on the short leg. It was th...

June 16, 2015

New Fiction
"What We Talk About When We Talk About Lisa Frank"

The door was shut and we were locked inside. This was not by choice. There were three equipment managers. Steven had one leg longer than the other and wore a brace on the short le...

May 14, 2015

New Fiction
Bre Hall
Bre Hall
"Blood Stained Snow"

The white snow, spotted with blood, moved. It trembled under Kenny Howard’s boots as he stomped toward me “Get up, boy,” he said to me through his coarse moustache. “Stand up, and fight me like a m...

June 16, 2015

New Fiction
Allison Pinkerton
Allison Pinkerton
"Frayed"

We couldn’t look. We saw, but we couldn’t look. We saw: the yellow police tape around the bridge, the frayed swinging rope, the abandoned white sock in the river below. We avoided each other;...

June 14, 2015

New Fiction
Melinda Combs
Melinda Combs
"Blue Meat"

When Beth started the paleo diet, her stomach burned like a smoldering fire. Paleo because her fit and high-performing fri...

June 11, 2015

New Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "Blue Meat"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versio...

September 15, 2014

Flash Audio Series
Andrew Bertaina
Andrew Bertaina
A Review of Flash Fiction International

...

June 08, 2015

Reviews
A Review of Leesa Cross-Smith's Every Kiss a War

Every Kiss a War by Leesa Cross-Smith (Mojave R...

February 19, 2015

Reviews
A Review of Lydia Davis' Can't and Won't

...

December 27, 2014

Reviews
A Review of Praying Drunk

Praying Drunk by Kyle...

November 04, 2014

Reviews
A Review of Stuart Dybeck's Ecstatic Cahoots

Ecstatic Cahoots by Stu...

September 04, 2014

Reviews
"It Sings"

I constantly forget things. I leave for work with an empty coffee mug; I leave toothbrushes in hotel bathrooms; I leave our children’s toys...

July 26, 2014

Featured Fiction
Peter Stavros
Peter Stavros
"Sadie Says We Have To Leave"

Sadie says we have to leave, take off, get the fuck out, to somewhere, anywhere, the beach maybe. “We just have to leave,” she says to me at three-something in the morning. She just walks into my room...

June 08, 2015

New Fiction
Gary V. Powell
Gary V. Powell
"Bear"

After his girls went to bed, Tyler stayed up late, flipping through magazines and finishing his six pack. Early August in the UP and the sun didn’t set much before midnight, anyway. Their cabin, on...

June 07, 2015

New Fiction
Sara Lippmann
Sara Lippmann
The Story Behind the Story: "Wolf or Deer"

This past summer, I returned to my childhood summer camp to teach creative writing after having been away from the place for more than twenty years. The setting, that inimitable blend of new and old, ...

June 06, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
"Wolf or Deer"

When it rained, we played Would You Rather on the cabin floor. It was a game of tough choices. Would you rather eat sand or ash? Snakes in your bed or spiders in your ear? We sat in a circle,...

June 02, 2015

New Fiction
Landon Houle
Landon Houle
"Nothing but Rust"

He tells her she doesn’t need to come all the way out there. Though all the way out there is no further than the clothesline where once she trucked and hung load upon load. She throws open the scre...

June 05, 2015

New Fiction
William Blome
William Blome
"Quinces"

I never thought so years ago when I was only an apprentice clown in Hackensack, but stay in this business long enough, and y...

June 04, 2015

New Fiction
JLSchneider
JLSchneider
"Winter"

There’s a small spot in the woods where it was done. Your family swept away the leaves and dropped you when the cold swiveled in like the white blood of your mother’s bad moment with birth, and ever s...

June 03, 2015

New Fiction
Michael Griffith
Michael Griffith
Ask an Editor Series: Michael Griffith

Michael Griffith is the Fiction Editor at Cincinnati Review. For this segment of our Ask an ...

June 01, 2015

Ask an Editor Series
"The Fire Down Below"

"I hate you," said Letitia, rubbing her bruised eye with one hand while with the other holding aloft a chair to ward him. The chair was heavy, and it wobbled toward her injured eye, making her wince. ...

March 24, 2012

Featured Fiction
Phyllis Moore
Phyllis Moore
Why I Write: Phyllis Moore

I found my love for writing late, in my sixties. There were inklings earlier. I dabbled in writing stories for the children I worked with, making them the main characters in the fantasy stories we mad...

May 30, 2015

Why I Write
Jason Nemec
Jason Nemec
"Six to Win"

The day after Marie left, I had to put my dog down. Poor thing could barely walk anymore. That damn mutt was ugly as sin — a Beagle mixed with a Pit mixed with God knows what else — ...

May 28, 2015

New Fiction
Laryssa Wirstiuk
Laryssa Wirstiuk
"Lean & Mean-ing: Flash Fiction as Compromise Between Digital Impatience and Search for Meaning"

Studying creative writing, in particular fiction, is about more than just learning how to invent stories or passing time with an imaginative diversion. Once a graduate student of creative writing, I l...

May 23, 2015

Flash Talk
Elizabyth A. Hiscox
Elizabyth A. Hiscox
"Remains"

The mortuary slip stated clearly what was to be done: “At the expense of the Bereaved.” There was nothing but acronyms bouncing in Claire’s head: C.O.D. and D.O.A. and ...

May 21, 2015

New Fiction
Jill Kramer
Jill Kramer
Ask an Agent Series: Jill Kramer

Jill Kramer is a literary agent at Waterside Productions, Inc. For this installment of our Ask an Agent Series, we asked Jill what she typically loo...

May 18, 2015

Ask an Agent Series
Grant Faulkner
Grant Faulkner
An Interview with Grant Faulkner, author of Fissures

Grant Faulkner's new collection of flash fiction, Fissures, was recently published by Press 53. ...

May 16, 2015

Interviews (all)
"Charms"

The sound of quarters dropping into the washing machine at the Laundromat. Things would be clean. The click of my mother’s pocketbook opening. Things would be paid for. She tossed her purse into the f...

March 19, 2015

New Fiction
The Story Behind the Story: "Infamy"

In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Grant Faulkner talks about what motivated him to write "Infamy...

March 02, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
Flash Audio Series: "Infamy"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our series, Grant Faul...

September 01, 2014

Flash Audio Series
"Infamy"

“When you’re fat, it doesn’t matter what you wear,” Ginny said. “Nothing’s going to cover up your blubber.” She’d worn tight-fitting clothing and ...

August 21, 2014

Featured Fiction
Katie Cortese
Katie Cortese
Why I Write: Katie Cortese

Because one of my earliest memories is my father reading The Hobbit out loud as I drifted off to sleep. He’s an electrical engineer. Left-handed, despite the best efforts of the nuns, and can draw up ...

May 09, 2015

Why I Write
"Anger Management"

My sister’s eight-year-old Alfie is incontinent. She says it’s normal for kids like him who have disappearing daddies and fifteen different aunties to watch him on the weekends and nothing resembling ...

March 24, 2012

Featured Fiction
"Hide and Seek"

I knew I lost the baby when my jeans zipped up again. “Shit,” I pressed the palms of my hands to my stomach where it should be, where it had been for the past eight months, but there was nothing bu...

September 01, 2011

Featured Fiction
Jacob Appel
Jacob Appel
Why I Write: Jacob M. Appel

When I was sixteen years old, I fell madly in love—as only sixteen year olds can—with a young woman who was madly in love with someone else.  As an adult, fortified by countless loves lost and multipl...

May 05, 2015

Why I Write
Gary L. McDowell
Gary L. McDowell
"One Time In-Between"

“One time I set fire to a mattress,” Jill says. “What is, why you’re not allowed within 500 feet of any WalMart?” Hess says. “Di...

April 30, 2015

New Fiction
Daniele De Serto
Daniele De Serto
"Demolitions"

--English translation by Wendell Ricketts When I got to Max’s house, the door was open. He was stretched out on the sofa, that gorilla-sized body of his spilling off the ends. Empty beer b...

April 27, 2015

New Fiction
Dusty Cooper
Dusty Cooper
"Burial"

On Tuesday, Mark’s mother died. I found her on the couch crumpled in a blanket like a threadbare cushion. Framed by ash colored braids, her face looked like a wilted petal. I didn’t have to check her ...

April 16, 2015

New Fiction
Chantel Acevedo
Chantel Acevedo
Author Interview Series: Chantel Acevedo

...

April 13, 2015

Interviews (all)
"What Happened to Mimi Acosta, the Most Beautiful Girl at Escuela San Benito"

(Cuba, 1961) The letter that secured her space on a flight to the United States came sooner than was expected. Mimi got to it first and hid it in her bra for a week before showing it to he...

August 18, 2014

Featured Fiction
Kerry Cullen
Kerry Cullen
"We Were Older"

We were old, the two of us. We were old in chairs, our hunched bodies stooped over. We were old standing. Leaning on canes, against walls and fences and cars, pretending to be careless; grasping for s...

April 09, 2015

New Fiction
Patrick Parr
Patrick Parr
"Outer Life"

While coming back to his home, the man had stopped off at a store and picked up a place mat of the solar system. It had all the moons, the asteroid belt, and nine planets, including the now demo...

April 02, 2015

New Fiction
Jennifer Flannery
Jennifer Flannery
Ask an Agent Series: Jennifer Flannery

Jennifer Flannery is the founder of Flannery Literary. For this installment of our Ask an Agent Series, we asked Jennifer...

March 30, 2015

Ask an Agent Series
Craig Buchner
Craig Buchner
"About Future"

When our mother asks why I had my brother put down, I don’t lie, not over the phone. “I had to,” I say. “It was time.” I expect her protest—“A health issue? Was he sick?” “He was 39,” I say, li...

March 12, 2015

New Fiction
Diana Abu-Jaber
Diana Abu-Jaber
Author Interview Series: Diana Abu-Jaber

Diana Abu-Jaber is most rece...

March 09, 2015

Interviews (all)
Will Cordeiro
Will Cordeiro
"High Dive"

Jenny climbed the first rung of the ladder, bare skin against abrasive grip. An older girl, two boys from her class, and some fat kid were in front of her in line. The fat kid’s swimsuit dripped on...

March 05, 2015

New Fiction
Why I Write: Will Cordeiro

Gertrude Stein famously said, “I write for myself and strangers.” I write for many reasons. One of these is to become estranged from myself. Often in daily life I intuit a firm sense of who I am, w...

February 28, 2015

Why I Write
John Duncan Talbird
John Duncan Talbird
The Story Behind the Story: "Ravening Beasts"

I went to college in the South so I read a lot of Faulkner, both on my own, and also in class since I was an English major. I think I read As I Lay Dying in three different courses. I’ve lost count of...

March 03, 2015

The Story Behind the Story
"Another Coming of Age Story"

When the carrot—a science project on a window sill—opens an eye, when it grows legs and leaves its glass to walk the room, when it seems to develop sentience, John is touched by a gn...

December 27, 2014

Featured Fiction
"Ravening Beasts"

When Christine receives her award for “Good Citizenship,” the presenter will try to kiss and fondle her. She is an advocate for choice and a volunteer at our local Planned Parenthood, picks up tras...

October 13, 2014

Featured Fiction
Shuly Cawood
Shuly Cawood
"Young Love"

They dug for pesos in their pockets. The pesos were round and shiny and heavy. The man took the money from their outstretched hands without a word. Jackie had seen this ride and wanted to try it. She ...

February 27, 2015

New Fiction
Melissa Burton
Melissa Burton
"How To Restring a Guitar"

There was a red-bearded man on the airplane playing a guitar. His hips were gyrating in the seat which later caused a female passenger to wake up heatedly from a dream. I sat warily in the seat next t...

February 26, 2015

New Fiction
Nayomi Munaweera
Nayomi Munaweera
Novel Flash: Island of a Thousand Mirrors

It is 1948 and the last British ships slip away from the island of Ceylon, laboring and groaning under the weight of purloined treasure. On board one such vessel, the captain's log includes ...

February 23, 2015

Novel Flash
Chella Courington
Chella Courington
"Restless Days"

Adele thought about Elizabeth Hardwick, how she moved from Lexington, Kentucky to New York City, going back south for family visits, never feeling at home there, always the outsider. “The stain of pla...

February 19, 2015

New Fiction
Todd Covalcine
Todd Covalcine
Flash Audio Series: "The Funny Thing About a Cambodian Prison"

...

February 17, 2015

Flash Audio Series
"The Funny Thing About a Cambodian Prison"

Oh, the funny thing about a Cambodian prison, he says, is that if you have money, you can live better on the inside than you can on the out.  That’s Danny for you.  It tells you ...

December 10, 2014

Featured Fiction
Joni B. Cole
Joni B. Cole
"Processing Feedback"

Here is what most writers forget. You are the boss of your own story. Not the other writers in your critique group. Not the famous author whose workshop you were lucky enough to get into at the ...

February 16, 2015

Fiction Craft
Kate Wisel
Kate Wisel
Flash Audio Series: "Cribs"

...

February 15, 2015

Flash Audio Series
"Cribs"

Summit Ave. Raffa comes to live with you in December, during school break. You and Jess have a two-bedroom on a quiet street. You’ve gotten used to Jess’s half-hung Freddy Mercury posters...

February 11, 2015

New Fiction
Dylan Fisher
Dylan Fisher
"Dinner"

Dinner is braised rabbit with fennel and mustard. The rabbit meat, Dad says, reminds him of Iowa in the winter. He removes his glasses and asks me to help him tell a story about a rabbit in Iowa snow....

February 14, 2015

New Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "Dinner"

...

October 05, 2014

Flash Audio Series
Leah Browning
Leah Browning
"Small Talk"

Paulie decided, as a joke, to buy a gorgeous, formerly handfed Scarlet Macaw. She put the parrot in a tall gilt birdcage in the corner of her living room, where it could be seen from the front window,...

February 12, 2015

New Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "Small Talk"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our se...

September 04, 2014

Flash Audio Series
Michael Chaney
Michael Chaney
"Defining Such a Thing as Flash Fiction”

It’s an operation of mental classification and it requires much thinking inside the box. Even so, there are worse ways of thinking. The same obsession for labeling things according to exacting discrim...

February 10, 2015

Flash Talk
Pamelyn Casto / Geoffrey Fuller
Pamelyn Casto / Geoffrey Fuller
"Giving Your Tale a Twist"

In many ways, twist endings are the lifeblood of flash fiction, the sudden reversals that change everything. Flash fictions like thi...

February 09, 2015

Fiction Craft
A Short Course in Short-Short Fiction

Short-shorts seem so simple. Also known by such names as sudden, flash or micro fiction, short-shorts are tight little tales packed into 1, 500 or so words. They can be powerful and m...

November 06, 2014

Fiction Craft
"Turn Your Anecdotes Into Flash Fiction"

Stories, stories everywhere! You hear anecdotes and gossip at the office water cooler, over the backyard fence, at parties. You watc...

September 28, 2014

Flash Talk
Kristine Ong Muslim
Kristine Ong Muslim
"Letter to a Certain Dr. Bill"

Dear Dr. Bill, I received your message. I’ve been meaning to call you back yesterday, but I did not want to talk to you over the phone. I’ll see you on Monday. I promise to show up at eight. I s...

February 05, 2015

New Fiction
"The Longest Night"

For the third time, Ellen Machin asked for permission to turn on the light. She said she could no longer stand the dark. Before that, she had complained about a lot of things—her prickly blanket, her ...

November 06, 2014

Featured Fiction
John Jodzio
John Jodzio
"How To Get Goth Girls Hot"

My roommates are gone for the weekend so I snort one of my mom’s blood clotting pills and invite Lindsay over. When she gets there I take a steak knife and slice open my palm and show her ...

February 02, 2015

New Fiction
Michael Croley
Michael Croley
"What Should Not Matter"

A thimble. This is what she had picked—with great care he was sure—to give him for their first anniversary. I wanted to do something, well, different, she said. Something you’d always remember, that y...

January 29, 2015

New Fiction
GC Smith
GC Smith
Why I Write (Murder Stories): GC SMITH

Much of our culture may be fascinated with death, I'm not. In most of my writing murders (but not necessarily killings) take place off camera. Do people read mysteries to indulge their fascination wit...

January 28, 2015

Why I Write
Denton Loving
Denton Loving
"Treacherous"

When the towers fell, I was seeing two women: Angela and Barb. One wanted to get married. One wanted to have sex in public parking lots and mall bathrooms. I wanted them both. Twelve years later...

January 28, 2015

New Fiction
Blake Kimzey
Blake Kimzey
Flash Audio Series: "Helicopter Wounds"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our se...

January 27, 2015

Flash Audio Series
"Helicopter Wounds"

Stuck in morning traffic, I received a call from my mother. She sobbed quietly into the phone. I turned the radio off. I had to tell her to slow down. She finally choked it out: my younger broth...

November 13, 2014

Featured Fiction
Fabiyas M V
Fabiyas M V
"A Stringless Violin"

Emptiness spreads. He sits on a wooden silence. She lies on a damp mat. ‘Nimisha’, they call her. She looks fair in her layette. She is a moon. Kovilan and Kotha are in the moonlight now. Kovil...

January 22, 2015

New Fiction
Jim Barnes
Jim Barnes
"At the Wood Pile"

The first sound he heard in the morning was a sharp cry. He thought he was dreaming, but he looked to the foot of the bed and saw the old upright piano his sister sometimes let him thump and he ...

January 20, 2015

New Fiction
Amanda Saint
Amanda Saint
"Richard Skinner on Writing Flash Fiction"

...

January 19, 2015

Flash Talk
"As Far As You Can Go"

Hopefully you’ve all read Lesley Glaister’s, As Far As You Can Go. I chose this as I'm going off on my own Australian adventure next month and what struck me the first time I read this novel ...

November 07, 2014

Fiction Craft
Anne Dyer Stuart
Anne Dyer Stuart
"A Real Kicker"

He is there, Caitlin’s father, on the burnt brown summer grass, pulling weeds by the sidewalk and I do not know this is the last day I will see him—how my mama waits for him to say something, waits fo...

January 15, 2015

New Fiction
Kristin Brace
Kristin Brace
Nothing Stands Still: A Conversation with Novelist Eleanor Morse

Eleanor Morse is the author of White Dog Fell from the Sky, a novel set in southern Africa in the 1970s. Other novels include Chopin's Garden and An Unexpected For...

January 15, 2015

Interviews (all)
Bobby Sauro
Bobby Sauro
"Marvelous, South Dakota"

On my birthday, my wife read from a paper scroll to announce our divorce. She decreed that she and her boyfriend, a champion jouster at Medieval Times, would get married during the Renaissance F...

January 14, 2015

New Fiction
Christopher Lowe
Christopher Lowe
Why I Write: Christopher Lowe

Memory’s a long-con. As we live our lives, events seem so indelible that they’ll never fade. In the moment – and in the days, months, years after – we convince ourselves ...

January 13, 2015

Why I Write
The Story Behind the Story: "These People"

In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Christopher Lowe talks about what motivated him to write "These People." It's almost always the case ...

November 01, 2014

The Story Behind the Story
“These People”

We are here with them now, the blue lights flashing.  When the woman was just a girl, her mother told her that she’d remember some days forever.  She, the mother, had been talking of the girl’s period...

October 02, 2014

Featured Fiction
T. Gene Davis
T. Gene Davis
"Hook the Skimmers"

Congratulations! An editor loves your prose. You’ve sold your story. Feel wonderful. You should. After the euphoria collapses, you wonder when the fan mail and comments will...

January 12, 2015

Fiction Craft
Sarah Layden
Sarah Layden
"He Waits, Wants"

He shows her the calendar: it’s Day Fourteen, so they must have sex. Doctor’s orders. His cycle changes each month, but this morning when he held the stick between his legs and peed, the window showed...

January 08, 2015

New Fiction
"Two Hearts"

The baboon needed my heart. The surgery was scheduled for Tuesday. One more week of housing my own ticker, a healthy time bomb concealed beneath layers of muscle and skin and so much hair that my g...

January 16, 2014

Featured Fiction
Kevin Wilson
Kevin Wilson
Author Interview Series: Kevin Wilson

...

January 05, 2015

Interviews (all)
“The New Friend”

“What’s that hole in his back for?” he asked. “That’s where his insides go,”...

October 09, 2014

Featured Fiction
Dennis Palumbo
Dennis Palumbo
"Through a Glass Darkly: Crime Fiction as a Window on American Culture"

...

January 04, 2015

Fiction & Culture
Lily Iona MacKenzie
Lily Iona MacKenzie
Why I Write

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January 03, 2015

Flash Audio Series
Why I Write: Lily Iona MacKenzie

Tonight I skipped my daily hour or more of writing. A discipline I’ve maintained for many years, it has resulted in four novels, numerous short stories, poems, and essays. Not writing toda...

December 30, 2014

Why I Write
Kenneth Bonert
Kenneth Bonert
Novel Flash: The Lion Seeker

Whatever crouched beyond the lakes and forests of her green life was unseeable as night. She had never studied a map till it came time to leave forever and then her fingertips traced ceaselessly...

January 02, 2015

Novel Flash
Callie G. Gartrell
Callie G. Gartrell
"Lenora"

That Lenora is tender is something you discover only once you get to know her over shrimp cocktails laid out on beds of melting ice. You are a transplant, an immigrant to New Orleans avalanched from t...

January 01, 2015

Featured Fiction
Jason Jordan
Jason Jordan
Ask an Editor Series: Jason Jordan

Jason Jordan is the Editor-in-Chief of decomP magazine. For this segment of our Ask an...

December 29, 2014

Ask an Editor Series
Jean M Cogdell
Jean M Cogdell
Why I Write: Jean M. Cogdell

I wish, like George Orwell, I could say I’d envisioned myself a writer from an early age. However, as far back as I can remember, I feared putting words to paper. My mom could strike fear in the st...

December 23, 2014

Most Popular
Jordan Sanderson
Jordan Sanderson
The Story Behind the Story: "The Trespasser"

This story started with a vague but familiar feeling. I sometimes have the sense...

December 22, 2014

The Story Behind the Story
"The Trespasser"

He wasn’t from there, and as he passed crop after unrecognizable crop, the urge to stop overtook him. He pulled to the side of the road, and there he was, a grown-ass man sneaking into a field. He cou...

December 18, 2014

Featured Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "Fire Sermon"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our se...

August 25, 2014

Flash Audio Series
"Fire Sermon"

Nothing would burn. Barbecues consisted of people attempting to start the grill. “Pour some tequila on it,” they’d say. “Rub some sticks together for Christ’s sake,” they’d say. “My grandma told me ab...

August 06, 2014

Featured Fiction
Michael Garriga
Michael Garriga
"Catfight in a Cathouse"

Two Whores Brawling in a Storyville Brothel, French Emma Johnson’s Circus, During the Last Week of Legalized Prostitution, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 13, 1...

December 19, 2014

Featured Fiction
Erik Lewis
Erik Lewis
"Tat"

“It looks like cancer,” Mildred said over the scratchy cell phone. “She’s covered with it. Incorrigible! What is she thinking?” The brazen image leap...

December 19, 2014

Featured Fiction
Michael Caleb Tasker
Michael Caleb Tasker
The Story Behind the Story: "Snowbirds"

Homesickness prompted the writing of "Snowbirds" as I was living in Australia when I wrote this and I missed the cold, quiet nights I used to have ...

December 19, 2014

The Story Behind the Story
"Snowbirds"

It was cold that night but it was the wind that bit. The wind and the wetness that would sneak into your socks despite waterproof boots. I could smell the snow and the cold and could feel my nos...

December 17, 2014

Featured Fiction
Kimberley Cameron
Kimberley Cameron
Ask an Agent Series: Kimberley Cameron

Kimberley Cameron is the President at Kimberley Cameron & Associates, For this installment of our Ask an Agent Series, we asked Kim...

December 16, 2014

Ask an Agent Series
Jim C. Hines
Jim C. Hines
"Location, Location, Location"

You're reading through the first draft of your story. You have an interesting protagonist, an engaging plot, and a terrific opening to hook your readers. You turn to page two, and it hits yo...

December 15, 2014

Fiction Craft
Noelle Sterne
Noelle Sterne
"Igniting Your Writing Core"

Sometimes our writing creativity can blaze up like a bonfire and other times it can sputter like a weak campfire. It may wane, flicker at times, diminish to an ember, but it never goes out. You can bu...

December 13, 2014

Fiction Craft
"TV Watching Does Not Waste Writers' Time"

As writers, we probably won't feel guilty about watching primetime television shows if we've written eight straight hours and churned out 50 pages. If we haven't, we feel (a) we shou...

November 07, 2014

Fiction Craft
Matt Liebowitz
Matt Liebowitz
"Lies"

To my kids I’m telling piles of lies: That the Abyssinians peed in the burial urns of their ancestors; that Columbus had a twin sister; something fantastic about Kurdish trade routes. I&rs...

December 12, 2014

Featured Fiction
Randy Smith Meyers
Randy Smith Meyers
"The Caste System of Fiction"

...

December 08, 2014

Fiction & Culture
Nicholas A. White
Nicholas A. White
"Glow Sticks"

When I was a kid, one neighbor sold drugs and the other bought them. They would spend Sunday afternoons eating worms and crickets in the backyard. I think they were Puerto Rican. ...

December 04, 2014

Featured Fiction
Joel Looper
Joel Looper
A Review of Blake Kimzey’s Families Among Us

Families Among Us...

December 01, 2014

Reviews
Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
A Review of Sheldon Lee Compton's Where Alligators Sleep

Where Alligators Sleep bySheldon Lee Compton (Foxh...

November 29, 2014

Reviews
Kelly Kathleen Ferguson
Kelly Kathleen Ferguson
"PBR and a Shot"

The poet and I have settled on the Smoking Porch of No Return when the gap-toothed, retired stripper from Gallipolis lumbers from behind all Frankenstein arms. GOD I WANT TO GRAB ...

November 26, 2014

Featured Fiction
Jim Hicks / Emily Wojcik
Jim Hicks / Emily Wojcik
Ask an Editor Series: Jim Hicks & Emily Wojcik

Jim Hicks is the Executive Editor of the Massachusetts Review, and director...

November 24, 2014

Ask an Editor Series
Angus Woodward
Angus Woodward
"Bad Oil Storm"

Word came in over the Bakelite® radio that an oil storm was headed our way, swirling up out of the oceanic petroleum fields to the south. There was plenty of advance warning, as the oily roa...

November 21, 2014

Featured Fiction
Keith Rebec
Keith Rebec
The Story Behind the Story: "Down at the Doll Plant"

"Down at the Doll Plant" was influenced by my time spent working in...

November 19, 2014

The Story Behind the Story
"Down at the Doll Plant"

Gill was our extricating specialist. Whenever somebody at the doll plant got a hand or an arm caught in a compression mold; or a piece of clothing wound around a spinning shaft; or a lock of hair pull...

July 13, 2014

Featured Fiction
John Spurling
John Spurling
Novel Flash: The Ten Thousand Things

The times are turning bad again. I have been arrested for going to see a private art collection. Can you believe it? An old man of nearly eighty, a retired magistrate, is put in prison on suspic...

November 13, 2014

Novel Flash
Jessica Kinnison
Jessica Kinnison
The Story Behind the Story: "Net"

In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Jessica Kinnison talks about what motivated her to write "Net." I write about a subjec...

November 13, 2014

The Story Behind the Story
"Net"

--after viewing Andrew Wyeth’s “Day Dream”   Even looking at Fiona from my gray puffed-up armchair, I feel an intense need to press ...

October 04, 2014

Featured Fiction
Laura Biagi
Laura Biagi
Ask an Agent Series: Laura Biagi

Laura Biagi joined the ...

November 12, 2014

Ask an Agent Series
Paul Lynch
Paul Lynch
Novel Flash: Red Sky in Morning

Night sky was black and then there was blood, morning crack of light on the edge of the earth. The crimson spill sent the bright stars to fade, hills stepping out of shadow and clouds finding flesh. F...

November 07, 2014

Novel Flash
Erica Plouffe Lazure
Erica Plouffe Lazure
The Story Behind the Story: "Stacks"

In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Erica Plouffe Lazure talks about what motivated her to write "Stacks." ...

November 05, 2014

The Story Behind the Story
"Stacks"

It is intermission at a coffeehouse in a small town south of the city. Everything here is for sale: aging paperbacks and cracked teacups and homemade jelly (rosehip and rhubarb-blueberry) and dusty sh...

October 27, 2014

Featured Fiction
Flash Audio Series: "Stacks"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our se...

September 07, 2014

Flash Audio Series
Brad Watson
Brad Watson
Author Interview Series: Brad Watson

Brad Watson is the author of three books of fiction, all published by W.W. Norton and Co. Last Days of the Dog-Men (1996) won the Sue Kaufmann Award for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts...

November 03, 2014

Interviews (all)
"Cardinal"

This morning, a small bird flew into the windowpane and fell stunned into the stippa grass, one wing awry, so ...

September 24, 2014

Featured Fiction
Eric Laster
Eric Laster
The Story Behind the Story: “Re: Guilt”

In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Eric Laster talks about what motivated him to write "Re: Guilt." I wrote “Re: Gu...

November 03, 2014

The Story Behind the Story
"Re: Guilt"

We’d just been served our food when it happened, the Camry or whatever crashing through the front window and glass shattering everywhere and the driver out of the car sho...

July 31, 2014

Featured Fiction
"Man on High"

—Come down, my wife says. —No. She’s at the window of our son’s room. I climb above the window and straddle the gable so that she can’t see me. She will...

January 03, 2014

Featured Fiction
Karen Uhlmann
Karen Uhlmann
Why I Write: Karen Uhlmann

One of my earliest memories is of sitting with my father while he read. He was reading, and I was pretending - until I realized I wasn’t. The words came together on the page. They made sen...

November 03, 2014

Why I Write
"Husband Tastes Like Chicken"

Lover. Natalie turns the word over in her mouth. Licorice. As a child, she said words just to taste them. Pretzel was salt at the back of her throat. Fizz was gingery. Home was peach jam. Those wer...

June 05, 2013

Featured Fiction
Fernando Sorrentino
Fernando Sorrentino
A Conversation With Fernando Sorrentino

Pamelyn Casto, Interviewer; Celia Cordon-Tovar, Primary translator; Kent H. Dixon, Secondary translator. Q: I'm excited to hear about your newly translat...

October 31, 2014

Interviews (all)
Heather Miller Price
Heather Miller Price
The Story Behind the Story: "Shotgun Fog"

In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Heather Miller Price talks about what motivated her to write "Shotgun Fog." The idea for “...

October 31, 2014

The Story Behind the Story
"Shotgun Fog"

As you ate your breakfast of cold biscuits and gravy, your shotgun and rifle propped in the corner under the coat rack, all you could think about was getting out to the woods, getting that doe you’d b...

July 14, 2014

Featured Fiction
Dean Marshall Tuck
Dean Marshall Tuck
"Castleton Fireworks"

I’m seventeen and the first girl I’ll ever ask to be my girlfriend is lying down next to me in the bed of her dad’s Ford Ranger. It’s an old truck, it must be three feet wide, and I’ve never lain next...

October 30, 2014

Featured Fiction
Skylar Spring
Skylar Spring
"7 Tips for Writing Flash Fiction"

...

October 26, 2014

Fiction Craft
Kirby Gann
Kirby Gann
Author Interview Series: Kirby Gann

Kirby Gann is the author of the novels Ghosting (20...

October 22, 2014

Interviews (all)
Joseph Bates
Joseph Bates
"Components of a Good Opening Scene"

In The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, writer an...

October 21, 2014

Fiction Craft
Ruta Sepetys
Ruta Sepetys
Novel Flash: Out of the Easy

...

October 20, 2014

Novel Flash
Jennifer Unter
Jennifer Unter
Ask an Agent Series: Jennifer Unter

...

October 17, 2014

Ask an Agent Series
Marg Gilks
Marg Gilks
"Learning How: Courses, Workshops and Tutors"

"Beginning writers must appreciate the prerequisites if they hope to become writers. You pay your dues -- which takes years." -- Alex Haley When you're starting out, you ca...

October 12, 2014

Developing a Writing Life
Joelle Delbourgo
Joelle Delbourgo
Ask an Agent Series: Joelle Delbourgo

Joelle Delbourgo is the President at Joelle Delbourgo Associates....

October 10, 2014

Ask an Agent Series
Therese Walsh
Therese Walsh
Novel Flash: The Moon Sisters

The night before the worst day of my life, I dreamed the sun went dark and...

October 08, 2014

Novel Flash
Author Interview Series: Therese Walsh

Therese Walsh's debut n...

August 12, 2014

Interviews (all)
Margaret Luongo
Margaret Luongo
A Review of Kirsty Logan's The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales

The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales ...

October 07, 2014

Reviews
"Chinese Opera"

I kept the guts of the music box after Donny smashed it. The black lacquered wood had shattered on the staircase, while our son shrieked his face into a purple mask in his crib. My father had gi...

August 01, 2011

Featured Fiction
David Gaffney
David Gaffney
"Stories in Your Pocket: How to Write Flash Fiction"

...

October 06, 2014

Flash Talk
Chris Offutt
Chris Offutt
Author Interview Series: Chris Offutt

Chris Offutt is the author of two collections of stories--Kentucky Straight and Out of the Woods, two memoirs--The Same River Twice and No Hero...

October 01, 2014

Interviews (all)
Madeleine Crum
Madeleine Crum
Reading Lists: "Read 15 Amazing Works Of Fiction In Less Than 30 Minutes"

...

September 29, 2014

Reading Lists
Leigh Allison Wilson
Leigh Allison Wilson
"Flash Fiction and the Borg: In Praise of the Literary Still Moment"

...

September 28, 2014

Flash Talk
Stella Connell
Stella Connell
Interview with Stella Connell, Book Publicist

Stella Connell is a book publicist and the founder of The Connell Agency...

September 26, 2014

Interviews (all)
Madeleine Clark
Madeleine Clark
Ask an Agent Series: Madeleine Clark

Madeleine Clark is an agent at Sterling Lor...

September 25, 2014

Ask an Agent Series
Jason Cook
Jason Cook
Ask an Editor Series: Jason Cook

Jason Cook is the Founding Editor of Fiddleblack. For this segment of our Ask an Editor Series, we asked Jason what he typically looks for wh...

September 23, 2014

Ask an Editor Series
Tawni O’Dell
Tawni O’Dell
Author Interview Series: Tawni O'Dell

...

September 23, 2014

Interviews (all)
Susan Lerner
Susan Lerner
Flash Audio Series: "It's Not the Size"

The Flash Audio Series features audio versions of stories published on our site. In this segment of our se...

September 20, 2014

Flash Audio Series
"It's Not The Size"

Lis...

August 25, 2014

Featured Fiction
Julia Fierro
Julia Fierro
"Dysfunctional Parents in Fiction: The Mothers and Fathers We Love to Hate"

...

September 18, 2014

Fiction & Culture
Eric Lee
Eric Lee
“Her Skin”

The waves lap the shoreline with their pale green tongues and the wind carries my dead mother’s name over the dunes.  I drop my duffel bag next to a woman who could be my mother’s age.  She lies splay...

September 18, 2014

Featured Fiction
"Entering Susan's Heart"

The trailer’s steel door slams shut like the cage I spent half my life behind.  I plop the freshly butchered cow heart on the table, drop my drawers and stick the cold hard thing into its still warm c...

July 29, 2013

Featured Fiction
Dave King
Dave King
“Creating a Masterpiece”

In the days when many professions were controlled by guilds, your masterpiece was not your best or most celebrated work.  It was your firs...

September 15, 2014

Fiction Craft