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Today we welcome our new Flash Fiction Editor Jennifer Harvey to Litro Online. Some of you may already be familiar with Jennifer having read her flash fiction here at Litro. Her stories have also appeared in various journals and anthologies including Carve Magazine, Visual Verse and the 2014 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology. In 2014 her flash fiction was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Jennifer explains what she’s looking for in a great piece of flash fiction and tells us about some new features she has planned for our Friday Flash slot.
Flash Fiction is one of my favourite short story forms. I love to write it and I love to read it.
I love the fact that it is a little undefinable. Neither a story nor a poem. But you know it when you see it.
So, as flash fiction editor, what am I looking for?
I love stories that linger, stories I can’t quite shake off. For me, memorable stories are told by memorable characters, so I want to be drawn in by a strong narrative voice that puts me straight into a character’s mind and I want to ‘hear’ sharp dialogue which brings those characters to life.
Ideally, the story and the characters don’t get lost among meandering, purple prose. The sparseness of flash fiction is often what makes it so special. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate descriptive prose. Something lyrical, with rich, evocative language will definitely grab my attention, and I always enjoy unusual settings, especially if they shape a character’s thoughts and actions.
Quirky, whimsical ideas are fine, as long as they don’t come across as ‘gimmicky’. I like an idea to serve a purpose in a story, one that helps me better understand the events and the characters.
Balance, I suppose, is what I’m after. Well-crafted stories that combine plot, character, dialogue and setting in ways that make me catch my breath. But this doesn’t mean I only want straightforward storytelling. I also love a surprise. If you can knock me sideways with a clever, innovative tale then go for it!
If you want to get a sense of the kind of flash fiction that makes me go “Wow!” take a read of Call of the Cicadas by LP Lee it’s an astonishing piece.
A Flash Of Inspiration
We have great flash fiction online at Litro and we want to know what our readers think about it. What are your favourite flash fiction pieces? Why do you like them? We want to know.
So we’ll be introducing two new features to Friday Flash.
Each month we will chose one Friday Flash and feature it in our new monthly column “A Flash Of Inspiration” in which we’ll explain why we chose the story for publication, alongside a short interview with the writer discussing the inspiration behind their story.
We hope this new feature will shine some light on the editorial decision making process and allow readers to get to know our writers a little better. But we also want to know what you think of our choice. Do you agree, or did a different story catch your eye?
To kick this off we have a feature coming up with Tania Hershman in which we discuss her story ‘Think of Icebergs’.
Over To You
Every quarter we will also select one Friday Flash from the top six readers’ favourites – based on the comments and likes received over the three month period – and develop it into an audio story. So if you want to receive your favourite stories in this new audio format then join in the discussion.
In the meantime, if you have any ideas for features that you would like us to consider for Friday Flash then drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.
And, of course, keep sending us your stories. After all, it’s the stories that make Litro what it is.
You can submit your Flash Fiction to Litro here.