Category Archives: literary fiction

Diversity in Fiction aka Vanilla Slush

I’ve been reading a lot of slush this past month.  Mountains of it, really.  So much slush that I have imprints of the little yes/no/maybe buttons burned indelibly into the inside of my eyelids so I can see them staring back at me even in my sleep.

That’s a whole lot of slush.

But the biggest problem for a slush reader is that so very much of it is the same.  Well not really.  The setting changes a bit.  This one is set in a car.  That one is on a far away planet.  There’s a cute setup about a mystical creature under a bed.  But more times than not they all come back to the same thing.

Vanilla slush.

A white, middle class, educated protagonist.  Heterosexual.  Generally male.  Sometimes we get an educated, middle class, heterosexual white female.  Usually she’s fairly angst-ridden and she’s looking for love.  Or she’s bitter about love.  Or she has a cat.

We get an awful lot of cat stories.  You submitters sure do love your cats.   And I’m glad you love your cats…. *sigh*  But that’s beside the point.

So I’m challenging you to throw some other flavors into the slush.  Send us some rocky road.  Some pistachio chip with sprinkles.  Avocado with bacon chips and a dash of honey drizzle on top.

The world’s too big and diverse and wonderful.  Not that vanilla isn’t wonderful.  I’m about as vanilla as they come.  But vanilla is so much tastier with a zesty side of Latin   transgender astronaut.   Or a QUILTBAG family battling to stay together after the alien apocalypse.

Send us every age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, and creed you’ve got.  Send characters with disabilities and physical limitations that make us reexamine our stereotypical expectations.  To the LGBTQ community, Flash Fiction Online is your ally in a search for equality.  This is an open invitation.  We don’t publish erotica or gore.  But we do love characters and story plots that push the boundaries and make us think.

Now, a caution.  You can send the best flavor ever conceived, but if it’s not well written as a story, it’s still not getting through slush.  If it’s dripping all over the sides of the cone and puddling on my good shoes, that literary Harlem deliciousness isn’t getting a yes.  Craftsmanship is everything.  Hone your skills.  Make your characters sing.  Because slush needs them.

Flash Fiction Online needs them.

Now go write!

Much love,

Anna Yeatts, Publisher, FFO
annayeatts.com

Give Bruce Holland Rogers a Kickstart

Bruce Holland Rogers is well known to FFO fans; he wrote a monthly flash fiction column, published by Flash Fiction Online, for a couple of years. Among his writing awards are a Pushcart, two Nebulas, Bram Stoker and others. He’s one of a few to try to make a living of short fiction.

Now he’s starting a short-short (flash) publishing project via KickStarter. If you aren’t familiar with Kickstarter.com, it’s just cool, is what it is. It is a crowd funding group that favors creative projects, including all the arts, technology and others. The ‘crowd’ is a growing group of people who chip in a little bit or a lot for some project that appeals to them, just to be part of something cool. There are small, non-equity rewards, but that’s not the point.

Take a look at Bruce Holland Rogers’ 49: a square of stories for hip people. Don’t be left behind; he’s almost halfway home.

Flash Fiction Opportunities

Here are two opportunities for SF writers and, in due course, readers. Science magazine Cosmos soon will open another of their prestigious short story competitions, the winner’s story to be published in a print edition, and the runners up in an online edition. Frequently, these are flash fiction contests. Cosmos regularly publishes short SF. At the time of writing, they have a Ray Bradbury story…yeah, I heard of him.

A long-standing online literary and genre quarterly magazine, Eclectica, is sponsoring a flash fiction competition for stories under 800 words, any theme, for their October/November issue.

Interested writers may find out more about these contests via Circalit, who helps writers manage their writing projects, and who is providing submissions support for the Cosmos competition and the Eclectica competition.

 

FFO Alumnus Stefanie Freele Publishes Short Story Collection

Stefanie Freele published two flash stories here (1 2) at Flash Fiction Online. We’re glad to note that she’s recently published a short story collection, Surrounded by Water, with Press 53. Stories in this collection received much note: first and second places in Glimmer Train fiction contests, a 2010 Million Writers Notable Story Award,  an Editor’s Pick in the Mid-American Review Fineline Competition, and a Pushcart Prize nomination. (See more details at the publisher’s site.)

You may view the Amazon.com’s page for Stefanie’s collection here.

Congratulations, Stefanie.

Five Star Literary Stories

I just found a great site called Five Star Literary Stories, run by three-time Pushcart nominee T.J. Forrester. I don’t suppose it’s shocking, with a name like that and an editor with those credentials, that it focuses on literary fiction (as opposed to science fiction, thrillers, etc.).

It might be especially beneficial if you don’t always like literary fiction, or if you’re not sure what people see in some of those fancy-schmancy stories. The reviews I’ve seen so far have been intelligent without being pretentious, so you’ll read a very short story plus a good review — and nothing, in my experience, enriches a reading experience more than seeing what other intelligent readers see in a given story.

Naturally, when I saw what TJ was doing, I wanted to be a part of it, so I spoke to TJ and I’ll be nominating Stefanie Freele’s “James Brown is Alive and Doing Laundry in South Lake Tahoe“.

I’ll be adding this to my links page, too.