July 26, 2021

#011: SmokeLong Quarterly Owner and Successful Writer, Christopher Allen, talks about what it takes to be a successful author, flash fiction, SmokeLong and lots more.

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Christopher Allen is Managing Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly, a very successful short fiction journal. He has also been teaching for almost 30 years. These days he mainly leads workshops on writing compelling flash narratives (stories under 1000 words). His own work has been published, most recently, in The Best Small Fictions 2019, Booth, Split Lip Magazine, and Gone Lawn as well as in over a hundred other journals and anthologies. His debut collection of flash fiction–Other Household Toxins (Matter Press)–came out in 2018.

He’s been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, The Best Small Fictions, Million Writers Award and others. His flash fictions and short stories have won or placed in numerous competitions.

As well as all that he’s judged the Cambridge Prize for Flash Fiction, the Bath Flash Fiction Award, and Micro Madness and has guest edited for journals such as Lighthouse Literary Journal, Ellipsis Journal, Flash Frontier and others.

In this episode we discuss Christopher’s writing approach, his insights about what it takes to write winning flash fiction pieces, SmokeLong Quarterly and much much more.

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May 25, 2021

#006: Laura Besley, one of the top fifty British and Irish flash fiction writers, talks about writing and how to craft powerful pieces of flash fiction.

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Laura Besley (@laurabesley) is an established short fiction writer, particularly in flash fiction and micro-fiction. She has two collections of flash fiction published already (The Almost Mothers and 100neHundred) and more on the way. She has been listed as one of the top fifty British and Irish flash fiction writers by TSS Publishing and has been nominated for Best Micro-Fiction. Laura has been published in multiple literary journals including Fictive Dream, Spelk, EllipsisZine, and a number of anthologies and print magazines. She also reads for Fractured Lit and a number of writing competitions.

In this conversation, we discuss flash fiction in general, her work to date, using writing as a form of personal therapy, connecting with readers on a deeper level, what it takes to write a powerful piece of flash fiction, and her writing processes. I highly recommend you listen to it if you are interested in flash fiction.

Laura Besley

Selected Links From Episode

You can find Laura on Twitter and Instagram.

Access Laura’s Amazon Author Page here.

Check out Laura’s flash fiction collections ‘The Almost Mothers‘ and ‘100neHundred‘.

Show Notes

Laura’s work (0m 10s)

Writing as a means of working out how we feel about things and making sense of the world (2m 20s)

The realities of parenting and the struggle (the theme for Laura’s flash fiction collection ‘The Almost Mothers’) (5m 50s)

Getting accepted in literary journals, difficulties, approach and advice (9m 45s)

Some positive ideas about how to deal with rejections (11m 21s)

Laura is a reader at Fractured Lit and a number of writing competitions, we discuss how reading and critiquing other people’s work is a great way to learn and refine your own writing (26m 20s)

Key elements she looks for when reading submitted flash fiction pieces and common errors and mistakes (31m 0s)

Carving out time to write and how she captures ideas and writes on the go (37m 0s)

Where she writes (39m 30s)

Seeking early stage critique and feedback and how to go about it (41m 20s)

The importance of capturing and stockpiling ideas for stories (44m 0s)

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May 12, 2021

#005: Jude Higgins, founder and organiser of the Bath Flash Fiction Award, talks about flash fiction, what makes an award-winning entry and how someone new to flash fiction can start writing it.

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Jude Higgins (@judehwriter) is the founder and organiser of several flash fiction awards and events including the Bath Flash Fiction Award, Bath Novella In Flash Award and Flash Fiction Festivals UK. She is also involved with the Bath Short Story Competition and a number of other groups and initiatives centred around short fiction. As well as all this, Jude teaches and mentors writers and organises various workshops related to the subject.

In this conversation, we discuss flash fiction in general, the various flash fiction competitions and events she is involved with, what makes an award-winning piece of flash fiction and advice for people looking to write their own flash fiction and get published. This is a great episode, packed with useful advice and insights from Jude. I highly recommend you listen to it if you are interested in flash fiction.

Selected Links From The Episode

Jude Higgins’ Author Website.

Bath Flash Fiction Award, Bath Novella-In-Flash Award and Bath Short Story Award.

The Short Fiction Press – Ad Hoc Press and V. Press.

You can access Bath Award Anthologies and other related publications here.

There is also loads of information about flash fiction on the BFF website here, which I’d really recommend checking out.

People Mentioned

You can find out more about Meg Pokrass on her website and access her writing here.

You can find out more about David Swann here and access his writings here.

You can find out more about Michael Loveday here and access his writing here.

Show Notes

Jude’s journey into flash fiction and her various projects (1m 40s)

What is flash fiction? (9m 10s)

Why Jude loves flash fiction and its experimental nature (13m 40s)

What makes an award-winning piece of flash fiction? (16m 13s)

Novella-In-Flash structure and format (17m 15s)

Advice to people thinking of starting flash fiction (19m 10s)

Use of idea prompts, memories and dreams (21m 10s and also 36m 45s)

Advice about submitting to competitions, journals and anthologies (24m 50s)

Embracing rejection and constructive criticism and using it to improve (27m 40s)

Online workshops, mentoring, teaching and events (31m 25s)

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April 20, 2021

#002: Kieren Westwood talks about flash fiction, his competition strategies and learning how to write.

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Kieren Westwood (@kierenwestwood_) is a writer of short fiction focused on the meeting point of literary and genre fiction. His work has been shortlisted and longlisted for a number of writing competitions including the Bridport Prize and Bath Novella in Flash Award. He also has a fantastic novella-in-flash, Gold Fury, published and available on Amazon. He also shares writing content on his growing YouTube channel.

In this conversation we discuss flash fiction, writing competition strategies and learning how to write.

Selected Links from the Episode

Kieren’s novella-in-flash, Gold Fury.

Kieren’s Website.

Kieren’s YouTube Channel.

Kieren’s Flash Fiction Writing Course.

You can find Kieren on Twitter here.

Kieren’s Discord Community.

The Bridport Prize Website and copies of the Bridport Anthologies of past winners.

The Bath Flash Fiction Award Website and copies of the anthologies of past winners.

Show Notes

We discuss (among other things):

His journey and passion for writing.

His writing style, the meeting point between literary and genre fiction and consistency of theme.

Writing influences.

Writing approach, tools, tactics and techniques.

Key writing advice.

Flash fiction and other formats.

Writing competitions and competition strategy.

What Kieren struggles with, in terms of his writing.

How Kieren supports other writers with his YouTube channel, Discord Community and Online Flash Fiction Course.

Future Plans.

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