The Autumn series of flash fiction sessions is up and running at The Ram, Widcombe Bath 12.00 pm – 2.00 pm on Wednesdays. Contact me at my email address below, if you want to drop in. There’s sometimes room. You’ll learn about writing fiction under 1000 words. We’ll read different examples of the form, I’ll prompt you to write, you’ll get feedback on your drafts and learn ways to hone your pieces ready for submission to magazines or contests. Continue reading “Adventures in short-short fiction”
January 2018 is starting off with a flourish. I am honoured to be interviewed as guest reader for Smoke Long Quarterly and am selecting a story from the submissions received from January 8th to January 14th. They suggested I could include a picture of my writing desk but didn’t use it eventually. Anyway, as it’s now a lot tidier than it was, here is the grand tour…
- My Linux Ubuntu desk top computer. I abandoned Apple Macs last year for the delights of updating the Libre Office word processing software (just as good as Word) free. And the machine won’t need upgrading like Apples either. And it was much cheaper. It’s very fast.
- On the first shelf facing outwards, the four books that Ad Hoc Fiction published in 2017. Ad Hoc fiction does all the background competition administration and web development work for Bath Flash Fiction, as well as Bath Short Story Award. I’m so excited they are now a small press, and published To Carry Her Home, Bath Flash Fiction Volume One early last February, How to Make a Window Snake, the collection of winning novellas-in-flash in June. And Bath Flash Fiction Volume 2, The Lobsters Run Free in December 2017 along with Flash Fiction Festival, One. And there’s more to come next year. Individual collections as well as the 2018 anthologies.
- My debut pamphlet ‘The Chemist’s House is up there on that shelf too. One of the highlights of last year was being published by V. Press.
- The scented candle in the pink tin. Rose.
- The re-useable water bottle. Going to really make big efforts to reduce buying plastic this year.
- The extremely cheap Nokia phone I use for infrequent calls and texts. I use an iPad for everything else and am resisting a smart phone. The little orange book rests on a note pad which is supposed to detail what I eat every day. But I haven’t filled it in for several months.
- The junk box. Full of junk. But pretty on the outside.
- That little flowery box contains some jewellry.
- Second shelf — the 1815 portrait of my ancestor, Hannah Hopkins. Probably should use this name as an alternative author name sometimes. Just for the luck of it. It’s next to …
- the hedgehog frame containing a tiny picture of my parents, looking young. Too small to see.
- A few book titles just about visible. ‘Sudden Fiction‘, my first intro to flash fiction. A Richard Ford novel, which is in the wrong place there. Should be on the alphabetical novel shelves. It’s next to Writing the Natural Way, one of the first books on writing I bought, years ago.
- My hour glass has fallen behind the computer. You can just see a flash of glass and orange sand peeking out. I do plan to write fiction for at least 60 mins several times a week this year. And to make that a priority instead of the numerous other writing activities I am involved with. So I have given the hour-glass its own picture. If it’s visible, I won’t forget. And I want to submit more this year.
Being involved in so many flash fiction projects is really exciting. And in my 60s, it’s thrilling having success as a writer of short-short fiction. There’s nothing like being a late developer. So here’s the latest news…
In early September I read my first prize winning story,’At the Hospital’ at the Retreat West launch of their first winners’ anthology, What was Left,in Waterstone’s book shop, Reading.
At the end of September I launched The Chemist’s House, my V.Press pamphlet, which was published in June and fellow flash fiction writer, Diane Simmons, made me a cake pictured here.
That was a fantastic addition to a fun evening at St James’ Wine Vaults Bath. And a lovely surprise. We ate half of the cake at the evening. And it kept me going in cake for quite a while afterwards. Diane, Tino Prinzi, Conor Haughton, Meg Pokrass and Alison Powell were guest readers at the occasion and all read brilliantly.
On Saturday morning, 11th November, I am thrilled to be reading my August Word Factory flash of the month, ‘Other People’ at the flash fiction event at the Word Factory Citizen Festival . (More about the 0rigins of that story in my previous blog post).
Last month, I was short listed in the Bridport flash fiction prize with a story, originally drafted in the amazing Kathy Fish Fast Flash online course last May. I have now submitted that one elsewhere. This month, my flash fiction, ‘Swifts’, originally published in the ‘Nottingham Review’ was highly commended in the Inktears flash fiction competition. It will be published on their website soon.
In the last month, I’ve been busy compiling the Flash Fiction Festival June 2017 festival anthology with the help of Diane Simmons and Santino Prinzi and that anthology, together with the second volume of Bath Flash Fiction, will be published by Ad Hoc Fiction, by the end of the year. Some great reads inside those. And both books look really good.
My article on turning dreams into fiction will be published in Project Calm magazine this month. And I am so delighted that stories from Charmaine Wilkerson and Alison Powell, as well as one of mine from my pamphlet, will be included as examples of dreams turned into fiction. Charmaine and Alison came to my Dream Breakfast session at the flash fiction festival in Bath and drafted the stories there.
I love teaching writing and am co-running an intensive ‘Flashathon’. at Trinity College, Bristol on 25th November with Meg Pokrass from 10 am – 4.00 pm. Production of at least six micro drafts is guaranteed and there’s an opportunity to get feedback and editing tips too. We’re holding the second flash fiction festival at Trinity College in July 2018, so it’s an opportunity to take a peek at the venue. Some places left. And anyone already addicted to the form or interested in trying their hand at short short fiction is welcome. Booking and more details at bathflashfictionaward.com under ‘Event’.
I’m also running a series of eight sessions on writing and editing flash fiction, suitable for beginners and experienced writers of the short-short form, in Bath beginning in January. Wednesday lunchtimes upstairs at Cafe Retro. There are currently six places left. More details and booking at writingeventsbath.com
There is so much going on in the world of flash fiction! The big news for me is that my flash fiction pamphlet, ‘The Chemist’s House’, published by the wonderful Sarah James at V Press is now out in the world and you can buy it here on this site. The picture is me being a proud author on publication day,which was yesterday, Friday 16th June. My pamphlet will also be for sale at the Flash Fiction Festival on 24/25 June in Bath.
In other flashy news, I was delighted to reach the final 22 in Flash Frontier’s Micro Madness contest. They post one story a day until June 22nd, National Flash Fiction Day in New Zealand. Scroll down their blog to June 14th, to read my story about the Owl and the Pussycat’s future relationship. I am also thrilled that my flash fiction written during Flashnano last November, ‘Ten Ways to Prepare For Your Brothers’ Visit’, is going to be posted on the Flash Flood blog on National Flash Fiction Day UK at 1.00 pm. It will be nice to see it up there at lunch time on Saturday, during the Flash Fiction Festival. So many flash fiction friends from social media are coming. It’s going to be amazing. And I will get the chance to read a story from my pamphlet in the evening of readings on the Saturday night. Booking for the festival is closed and nearly everything is now sorted. It’s been great working as the Director with the flash festival team. Meg Pokrass, Diane Simmons, Santino Prinzi, Michael Loveday, Matt Coles and Louisa Bailey. And we also have Freya Morris in charge of the raffle on the day.
For those who are coming, see you soon. For those who aren’t able to make it, there’s always next year. The intention is definitely to hold another one in 2018.,
I don’t mean climate-wise. It feels okay for me write ‘cool’. If I attempt to say ‘cool’ out loud, I sound like a pigeon, apparently. The word just doesn’t sound right coming out of my mouth. It’s an age thing.
Anyway, the cool February events: Three of my tiny flash fictions have been published on Great Jones Street, the short story app which contains around 1000 stories to read on the move, on mobile devices. And I got money and a free tee-shirt too. Search my name to find my fictions.
I won the Retreat West yearly flash fiction contest judged by David Gaffney with my flash fiction ‘At the Hospital’. I wrote the first draft of this in one of the brilliant flash fiction online weekends with Kathy Fish. Winning first prize was a huge and wonderful surprise. I thought I had included a big spelling typo in this story. But apparently not. A different version will be published in my forthcoming pamphlet from V Press. David made some very nice comments
“At The Hospital is an intimate and moving encounter between a young girl and her dying grandparent, and the way it focusses on the minutiae of the scene – the grape she is peeling for her granddad, the colour of his skin, the bird outside the window opening and closing its beak – create a emotionally powerful vignette. ‘The hairs on his chest are still black and wiry,’ she says and ‘a pulse ticks in his throat. I don’t like the way the grape trembles in my fingers. ‘ Its hard to end a scene like this but the author does it brilliantly with the stunning last line ‘I still don’t know how to put on the brakes.'”
The third piece of big news this month was the launch Bath Flash Anthology at the beginning of this week. Ad Hoc Fiction, designed the cover, and laid it out beautifully. It’s the first book from their new press. People (and me) love the way it looks and reads. I am so pleased. 145 page-long stories from authors in eleven different countries from the first four rounds of the Bath Flash Fiction Award Do buy it, because it contains such a wide variety of flash fiction.
Finally, with the help of Festival Curator, Meg Pokrass and the festival team, Diane Simmons, Michael Loveday, Tino Prinzi, Ken Elkes and Linda Selick-York, I have organised the first UK festival entirely devoted to flash fiction, taking place at the New Oriel Hall in Bath on 24th and 25th June, the same weekend as National Flash Fiction Day on the Saturday.
Every one of the UK’s finest Flash Fiction Practitioners said ‘yes’ when we asked them if they would like to come and lead workshops or do talks. Also, it was a major achievement on my part to obtain Arts Council Funding to cover costs for the workshop leaders and more. Pats self on back for that. It’s going to be fabulous. We hope anyone who wants to find out more about flash fiction or extend their skills will come and get addicted to the creative potential of flash fiction. It’s now open for booking. Do come. Look at the action-packed programme on flashfictionfestival.com and you won’t want to miss it.