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Interview with Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Glittership Editor

  1. Glittership is open to flash fiction and short stories. Do you think there are differences to what makes each length of story successful?

Yes, but I find it difficult to articulate these differences in a way that doesn’t immediately sound fake to me. I think that flash fiction is most successful when it focuses very intently on one piece of the story, like a feeling, or a character, or an idea. As short stories get longer, they need to “do more” to be successful. But, that’s true of all fiction. The more words you use, the more you need to give me.

Of course, now I’m sitting here thinking about the ways in which flash fiction starts to approach poetry in some ways, in that each word becomes more and more important when the story gets shorter.

Then again, no matter what length you’re talking about, you shouldn’t have extraneous words just hanging out and doing nothing… heh.

  1. Do you have a favourite piece of flash fiction? If so, what about it stands out?

I don’t have a favorite – and even worse, I have the traditional writer’s problem when it comes time to start listing favorite stories or books. Essentially, I just go blank, and it’s like I’ve never read anything at all.

  1. You’ve worked as a slush reader for Shimmer in the past. Have you noticed any differences in how you evaluate stories now that you’re looking to create audio versions?

I quit reading for Shimmer last summer, but that was only because I felt like it was time for me to move on and work on my own editing projects. So far, the biggest change between how I read for Shimmer and how I read for GlitterShip is that with GlitterShip, I’m the boss. When I read for Shimmer, I was trying to pick stories that I thought might appeal to Elise, and was supposed to pass more stories up to her than we would ever buy so that she could choose between them. Now if I hold onto a story for a while, it’s just to see if how I feel about it changes.

I think that eventually I’ll be looking for different things in terms of how a story reads, but in my experience those differences are fairly slight. The two of my stories that tend to read the best have a lot of visual elements in them – scene breaks, poems, Kickstarter formatting. At the end of the day what I care about is whether or not I’ve chosen good stories, and then talented readers will take care of the rest.

  1. Glittership’s focus is on LGBTQ characters and issues. Do you have any advice for non-LGBTQ authors who might be interested in submitting their work?

In general, I think that anyone who is writing about people from a marginalized perspective that they don’t share should be reading copious amounts of fiction written by authors who are marginalized in that way. So, read fiction by authors who are out as queer.

Other than that, just send me the story! If I like it, I’ll buy it. If I don’t, well, we all get rejections.

  1. Anything else you’d like to say?

The first episode came out on April 2nd, so readers and listeners can check that out at our website (glittership.com). Additionally, issue #2, which will be out on April 9th is going to be a “flash medley” with three different stories between 700 and 1300 words, so lovers of flash fiction should definitely stop by on the 9th to check that out.

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

Editorial Calendar Through November

Here’s the editorial calendar for the next few months. This doesn’t include Bruce Holland Rogers’ contributions or the Classic Flashes. I publish on the first Tuesday or Thursday of the month, whichever comes first.

August: Going live on 8/4
* There Are No Great Truths Here — Danielle Friedman
* Purpose — R.W. Ware
* A Taste For Life — Patrick Freivald

September: Going live on 9/1
* Suddenly Speaking — Ray Vukcevich
* Doofus — Mark Patrick Morehead
* How High the Moon — Patrick Lundrigan

October: Going live on 10/1
* Eating It Too — Kristine Kathryn Rusch
* Death Babies — S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.
* The Door — Damon Shaw

November: Going live on 11/3
* My Superpower — Leslie A. Dow
* A Delivery of Cheesesteaks — Alan Grayce
* Irma Splinkbottom’s Recipe for Cold Fusion — Janene Reichert Murphy

Our Editorial Practices

I recently put some information about our editorial practices in the Flash Forum. I put it there instead of on a separate page to encourage people to ask questions, complain, make suggestions, offer to be a part of the team, and so on.

Generally speaking, I like transparency in the editorial process. When things aren’t transparent, it’s generally because of logistical or other constraints, not because I prefer to keep things under wraps.