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Literary Nonfiction. Literary Criticism and History. Reference. With its unprecedented gathering of 25 brief essays by experts in the field, THE ROSE METAL PRESS FIELD GUIDE TO WRITING FLASH FICTION meets the growing need for a concise yet creative exploration of the re-emerging genre popularly known as flash fiction. The book's introduction provides, for the first time, a Literary Nonfiction. Literary Criticism and History. Reference. With its unprecedented gathering of 25 brief essays by experts in the field, THE ROSE METAL PRESS FIELD GUIDE TO WRITING FLASH FICTION meets the growing need for a concise yet creative exploration of the re-emerging genre popularly known as flash fiction. The book's introduction provides, for the first time, a comprehensive history of the short short story, from its early roots and hitherto unknown early publications and appearances, to its current state and practice. This guide is a must for anyone in the field of short fiction who teaches, writes, and is interested in its genesis and practice.


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Literary Nonfiction. Literary Criticism and History. Reference. With its unprecedented gathering of 25 brief essays by experts in the field, THE ROSE METAL PRESS FIELD GUIDE TO WRITING FLASH FICTION meets the growing need for a concise yet creative exploration of the re-emerging genre popularly known as flash fiction. The book's introduction provides, for the first time, a Literary Nonfiction. Literary Criticism and History. Reference. With its unprecedented gathering of 25 brief essays by experts in the field, THE ROSE METAL PRESS FIELD GUIDE TO WRITING FLASH FICTION meets the growing need for a concise yet creative exploration of the re-emerging genre popularly known as flash fiction. The book's introduction provides, for the first time, a comprehensive history of the short short story, from its early roots and hitherto unknown early publications and appearances, to its current state and practice. This guide is a must for anyone in the field of short fiction who teaches, writes, and is interested in its genesis and practice.

30 review for The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field

  1. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    This book is amazing! And much needed for those interested, but not an expert, in the 'flash fiction' form. Like some of the contributors to this guide, I have struggled with the term, feeling there is a difference between short-short stories (simply going by word count) and a true flash fiction piece, and some of the entries helped clarify this for me. I've had a few short-shorts published, but feel as if only one of them (maybe two) was a true flash. That one was inspired by a dream, and much This book is amazing! And much needed for those interested, but not an expert, in the 'flash fiction' form. Like some of the contributors to this guide, I have struggled with the term, feeling there is a difference between short-short stories (simply going by word count) and a true flash fiction piece, and some of the entries helped clarify this for me. I've had a few short-shorts published, but feel as if only one of them (maybe two) was a true flash. That one was inspired by a dream, and much of flash does have that dreamlike, off-kilter feel. In the past after reading flash fiction, I've felt that I just don't 'get' a lot of them, and that makes me feel inadequate. With the help of this book, I think I can become a better reader of this form, which is, of course, imperative before being able to write it. Like some of the other contributors, I've struggled with the label itself. One writer says it makes him think of a man in a raincoat! The term has always made me think of hot flashes(!) and now I'm wondering if that's not that too far off the mark, as both are adrenaline-charged and physically last only a minute or so, though their effects may linger longer.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    I found this book to be one of the finest resources of writing fiction in any genre I’ve ever worked through. I’d been curious about flash fiction for some time, having read several anthologies and individual chapbooks of flash, but always got a little stuck when I tried my hand at the form. The Field Guide offers a comprehensive yet entertaining historic overview of flash written by its editor, Tara L. Masih, a yummy (and extensive) reading and further resources list, and 25 wholly unique essay I found this book to be one of the finest resources of writing fiction in any genre I’ve ever worked through. I’d been curious about flash fiction for some time, having read several anthologies and individual chapbooks of flash, but always got a little stuck when I tried my hand at the form. The Field Guide offers a comprehensive yet entertaining historic overview of flash written by its editor, Tara L. Masih, a yummy (and extensive) reading and further resources list, and 25 wholly unique essays. I love how many different perspectives are in this book as well as all the little tidbits of helpful advice given in the essays. I was inspired by the exercises enough to actually do them, even though I’ve not had much success with the form before. I came away feeling like I could work with the form now that I’d grasped the central elements of flash. The book is like a smorgasbord of ideas and I’ve got a notebook of drafts to play with now. I also learned a little something about how to write better fictions in general—a nice added benefit, I think, of working through this resource.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nic

    I read this book with a highlighter in hand and a notebook at the ready. Masih really has put together a fine assemblage of essays, ideas, samples and exercises for the flash fiction writer. I was impressed by both the depth and the readability of her introduction, where she provides the most solid, comprehensive history of the form I've found anywhere. I was also struck by the absence of repetition in the contributor's remarks. I've read several books in this format - writing exercises culled fr I read this book with a highlighter in hand and a notebook at the ready. Masih really has put together a fine assemblage of essays, ideas, samples and exercises for the flash fiction writer. I was impressed by both the depth and the readability of her introduction, where she provides the most solid, comprehensive history of the form I've found anywhere. I was also struck by the absence of repetition in the contributor's remarks. I've read several books in this format - writing exercises culled from various teachers - and often the tone and quality swings wildly and you find repetition among them. In RMPFG2WFF, every musing on the form, and advice on how to approach it, was fresh, and together they comprise an outstanding, surprizing collection. I tried several of the exercises (with mixed results!) and can attest to this being more of a practical than academic handbook - or at least one that places numerous diving boards around the pool, encouraging you to dive in and give it a try. The only weakness: 1) the book's layout could be more appealing, and 2) I'd have appreciated more Flash Fiction examples and highly recommend Brevity and Echo, also published by Rose Metal Press, as an essential companion to this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adam Collings

    I came to this book hoping for a practical guide to the rules of writing flash fiction - though having finished the book I find that may have been the wrong goal - given that flash fiction appears much more experimental and literary than the kind of writing I'm used to. The book is a collection of essays - in a lot of cases more academic than practical. Some of them went over my head a bit. I have certainly learned a lot from this book - but the biggest lesson I've learned is that flash fiction I came to this book hoping for a practical guide to the rules of writing flash fiction - though having finished the book I find that may have been the wrong goal - given that flash fiction appears much more experimental and literary than the kind of writing I'm used to. The book is a collection of essays - in a lot of cases more academic than practical. Some of them went over my head a bit. I have certainly learned a lot from this book - but the biggest lesson I've learned is that flash fiction may not be for me. Still, the book has expanded my understanding and so in that regard it has done its job. If you want to learn more about writing flash fiction this book will be helpful - and the prompts at the end of each essay will give you valuable experience.

  5. 4 out of 5

    C. Clark

    http://hopeclark.blogspot.com/2011/02... I think flash fiction is fun reading. I adore novels, dislike short stories, but flash is sharp, tight, slap-me-in-the-face savvy. So when Tara L. Masih contacted me about her book, Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, I said I'd take a look at it, and see what I thought. This book is worthy of a collegiate classroom, my friend. If you have any inclination toward writing flash, read this. Published by Rose Metal Press, Writing Flash Fiction is edited by Ta http://hopeclark.blogspot.com/2011/02... I think flash fiction is fun reading. I adore novels, dislike short stories, but flash is sharp, tight, slap-me-in-the-face savvy. So when Tara L. Masih contacted me about her book, Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, I said I'd take a look at it, and see what I thought. This book is worthy of a collegiate classroom, my friend. If you have any inclination toward writing flash, read this. Published by Rose Metal Press, Writing Flash Fiction is edited by Tara L. Masih, also author of Where the Dog Star Never Glows, an award winning collection of her work. She's received glowing commendations by USA Book News, PublishersWeekly.com, San Francisco Book Review, and more. Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction has won its own list of commendations. A 2009 ForeWord Book of the Year #3 on Small Press Distributions' 2010 bestseller list A NewPages.com New & Noteworthy Book, May 2009 A recommended nonfiction book, Poets & Writers' Summer 2009 reading list An Amazon.com Top-100 literary reference book A Fiction Writers Review Favorite Anthology for 2009 The collection features essasys on flash fiction from: Steve Almond • Rusty Barnes • Randall Brown • Mark Budman • Stace Budzko • Robert Olen Butler • Ron Carlson • Pamelyn Casto • Kim Chinquee • Stuart Dybek • Pia Z. Ehrhardt • Sherrie Flick • Vanessa Gebbie • Tom Hazuka • Nathan Leslie • Michael Martone • Julio Ortega • Pamela Painter • Jayne Anne Phillips • Jennifer Pieroni • Shouhua Qi • Bruce Holland Rogers • Robert Shapard • Deb Olin Unferth • Lex Williford. For example, Sherrie Flick speaks of her obstacles in "Flash in a Pan, Writing Outside of Time's Boundaries". She recalls butting heads with her college professor about tiny stories being legitimate. He held up her piece by a corner, as if dirty, and announced to the class "This is not a story." For years such short works were called prose poems. Then Sherrie goes on to talk about what she loves about flash, one main point being the ability to forget plot, abandon time lines, and write liberally. Steve Almond writes the chapter entitled "Getting the Lead Out, How Writing Really Bad Poetry Yields Really Better Short Stories." Took him a couple of years to come to his conclusion, but you'll love his exercise and example in his chapter. He tells you to turn a project into a poem. Once done with it, remove the line breaks and see what type of prose you have. Amazingly with little effort, you have a cool piece of flash. Each chapter has a flash fiction exercise, and because flash is so short, each chapter has an example to drive home the point. If you've ever written flash, read flash or just thought about what flash fiction really is, pick up this book. It's tight, exciting, and instantly gratifying in that you'll reach the end and feel a thousand percent more qualified to write some fantastic flash.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katey Schultz

    Thanks to Rose Metal Press, who published the Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, I had access to a 38-page mini-history of flash fiction from around the world. This introduction, written by Tara L Masih (also the editor of the book), is one of the most engaging, specific introductions to a book I have ever read. I have a hard time not crossing my eyes when someone starts "talking history" but the combo of her succinct thoroughness and my own love of flash, has convinced me Masih’s intro is th Thanks to Rose Metal Press, who published the Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, I had access to a 38-page mini-history of flash fiction from around the world. This introduction, written by Tara L Masih (also the editor of the book), is one of the most engaging, specific introductions to a book I have ever read. I have a hard time not crossing my eyes when someone starts "talking history" but the combo of her succinct thoroughness and my own love of flash, has convinced me Masih’s intro is the best source around for the history of the genre. Masih is a great contributor to the flash fiction world and definitely an author to keep watching. This book, more than any other I've found in the genre, puts flash fiction on the map of literary significance.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hobie Anthony

    Love this book. The essays offer insights and contradictions, all in the service of one of my favorite genres - certainly the genre I have published the most in. If you write prose, you owe it to yourself to pick this book up. Flash is all over the internet and fits nicely on smartphone screens. Flash goes great in books, and I'm sure a journal is more likely to gamble on a two-page flash than a 30pp short story. Plus, Flash is powerful and fun to write. Get thee to the Rose Metal Website and pu Love this book. The essays offer insights and contradictions, all in the service of one of my favorite genres - certainly the genre I have published the most in. If you write prose, you owe it to yourself to pick this book up. Flash is all over the internet and fits nicely on smartphone screens. Flash goes great in books, and I'm sure a journal is more likely to gamble on a two-page flash than a 30pp short story. Plus, Flash is powerful and fun to write. Get thee to the Rose Metal Website and purchase this book!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nan

    Rose Metal Press continues to produce some fine collections. The introduction is a great survey of the short short. The essays come from some of the finest fiction practioners around (Stuart Dybek, Jayne Anne Phillips). A few of the prompts seem silly. (I don't think I'll try the inkblots, and the word loop is just loopy.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    A great anthology for those who want a book about the genre of flash fiction, or "sudden fiction" as it is sometimes called. This book is filled with essays and exercises regarding one of America's most popular literary forms. I especially enjoyed the introduction which explores the history of the short story. A great read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    What a stellar resource! Truly inspiring and great for both teaching and working with flash. I believe every writer of flash should own a copy! So helpful for teaching, too.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gene Brode

    If you want to learn how to write flash fiction and/or improve at it, you need to buy this book. I wanted to learn how to do flash fiction well, and someone had recommended this a year or two ago. When I finally got it I fell under the spell of these essays and found myself flooded with inspiration to create. I have been striving to write and improve my short stories in my spare time for years. I have several other books on craft, including Garder's The Art of Fiction, Burroway's Writing Fiction If you want to learn how to write flash fiction and/or improve at it, you need to buy this book. I wanted to learn how to do flash fiction well, and someone had recommended this a year or two ago. When I finally got it I fell under the spell of these essays and found myself flooded with inspiration to create. I have been striving to write and improve my short stories in my spare time for years. I have several other books on craft, including Garder's The Art of Fiction, Burroway's Writing Fiction series, and Butler's From Where You Dream, but none really delves into short short stories. Of course there are elements common to all fiction, but flash fiction demands a lot more than most people might think. Tara Masih's history of the short short is very interesting and spans the course of centuries. It should dispel the myth that flash fiction is just a new fad. She touches on writers from different times and cultures and shows the evolution of flash. The various essays give a different perspective on what flash fiction is or ought to do, and were for me the most compelling and inspiring part of the book for writing flash. I personally don't have a problem coming up with new ideas for stories, so I don't tend to respond to prompts often. But the exercises/prompts are great for practice, and some of the sample stories came directly from the exercises themselves. They're also great for expanding your creativity. One of the things I liked best about the book is that it gives you solid examples of flash fiction and the writers provide a sort of self-analysis so you can understand why they did what they did. I am also reading Flash Fiction International while I've been working through the Rose Metal Press Guide, and there have been more than a few stories in FFI which I just scratched my head at and dismissed as odd or not my taste. With the Field Guide, the teaching and examples help in a way that anthology doesn't always do. Get it. Mark it up. Then go write some stories.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    I picked up this book for several reasons, the first being that I'm a fan of the fiction that many of the essayists in this book write, but secondly as someone transitioning (ever so slowly) from career A to career B (one focused on the instruction of English and writing) I wanted to see what this book had to say. My hopes for the text were that it would have some decent insight, maybe a dash of inspiration -- it simply didn't have that. What The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fic I picked up this book for several reasons, the first being that I'm a fan of the fiction that many of the essayists in this book write, but secondly as someone transitioning (ever so slowly) from career A to career B (one focused on the instruction of English and writing) I wanted to see what this book had to say. My hopes for the text were that it would have some decent insight, maybe a dash of inspiration -- it simply didn't have that. What The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field had was a heaping dose of both packed tightly and parsimoniously (not a shocker give the topic of the book) into its pages along with a whole lot more. I've started recommending this book to friends be they casual readers, writers or teachers, there is something for each of them here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    The intro surprised me by establishing the historical and critical validity of "flash fiction." After all, acclaimed writers who've ducked under 1,000 words to tell a tale include Ernest Hemingway, Donald Barthelme, O. Henry, Jayne Anne Phillips, Jorge Luis Borges, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Ambrose Bierce, Sherwood Anderson, Ron Carlson, Stuart Dybek, and many more. This book has 25 craft essays paired with 25 examples of flash fiction. It makes a heck of an intro as well as a short mas The intro surprised me by establishing the historical and critical validity of "flash fiction." After all, acclaimed writers who've ducked under 1,000 words to tell a tale include Ernest Hemingway, Donald Barthelme, O. Henry, Jayne Anne Phillips, Jorge Luis Borges, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Ambrose Bierce, Sherwood Anderson, Ron Carlson, Stuart Dybek, and many more. This book has 25 craft essays paired with 25 examples of flash fiction. It makes a heck of an intro as well as a short master class.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Harley

    This book is making my month. Flash fiction is my métier, and more than any other discussion of flash, this book makes me proud of that. And gives me so much help with it. I am trying not to hurry, and not every contribution (it's a collection of articles) is meaningful to me, but it's going to be re-read as soon as I get to the end of it. And now i see there is another book by Rose Metal Press on prose poetry, and I must get it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    I read a bunch of this a couple of months ago for a flash fiction class I was teaching and there was definitely some great stuff in it. Tonight, I read the Stuart Dybek thing on Brautigan's story, Lint, and Deb Olin Unferth's piece about Diane Williams's (whose stories almost always seem to beg for analysis!). For teachers and students alike, this book could be a very important tool in understanding and creating quality flash fictions.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Has an excellent 27-page introductory essay on the history of flash fiction and then 25 essays on the craft of writing flash. Each essay is followed by prompts or exercises and a sample flash fiction. Good bibliography of anthologies and flash fiction story collections. Seems a fantastic tool for both writers and creative writing teachers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    No one is going to like every exercise in this book, but I'd say for me I want to try at least 85% of them. There are some great ideas to jump start your writing, and each chapter includes a story of it's own, so it's almost as much anthology as it is guidebook. I have a feeling this is the type of book I will refer to again and again for inspiration, rather than letting it just sit on my shelf.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Heather Fowler

    This is an excellent book of essays about writing flash fiction from many of the notable writers out there in the genre. I used it as part of a curriculum for a short fiction workshop I taught, and while geared toward flash and micro-fiction, the essays are equally valuable for those writing short fiction of a standard length. :) It also has writing exercises that are quite fun.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amorak Huey

    This whole series is solid. Lots of advice, musing, helpful exercises. I would say all these books are perhaps best-suited as introductions to the forms -- they don't break a lot of new ground, so if you've already been reading and thinking in depth about the forms, you won't necessarily find many surprises here.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Quinn Irwin

    While the collection is a little repetitious--perhaps sixty to seventy percent of the essays offered definitions of the form, some insightful, some not--and while not every essay is particularly helpful, the book, as a whole, is excellent. I recommend it to anyone interested in learning about flash fiction, as a writer or reader.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kenny Chaffin

    Love this book! Many poignant (short) articles and examples. I personally don't care so much for the exercises, but I know some people find them very useful (as do I on occasion). Required reading for anyone wanting to or practicing the art of Flash! P.S. also the Rose Metal Press field Guide to Flash NONFICTION. Is excellent as well!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Close

    A solid introduction to flash fiction. I especially liked the sample stories at the end of each section, particularly "In the Air a Shining Heart" by Lydia Copeland (such vivid description) and "The House of Women" by Bruce Holland Rogers (alienation from men...ah, yes). Lots to learn from and choose from. I also grateful for all the references to other flash fiction anthologies and journals.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Really nice compilation of thoughtful (and short) essays from various writers and editors about what makes flash fiction work—and worth reading. Also includes prompts and exercises for writing your own and a really nice (long) introduction to the history of flash fiction around the world.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lex Williford

    I admit I'm a little biased because I have an exercise in the book, but I've used it in several classes and most of my students loved it, including a few who've written great reviews I didn't know about here. Lex Williford

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kaye Linden

    I have read this book over ten times, taking notes and breaking down the wisdom from these well known writers of flash fiction. It is clear, professional and concise. I love this book. It is my "go to" reference for flash fiction.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Al Kratz

    Absolute requirement for flash writers. Lots of different takes on the form and not too too much dwelling of the by now over treated topics such as word count or introductory (pedantic) definitions of the form.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    I didn't write the majority of this book, so I think that allows me to rate it! :-)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Great insight and a variety of flash. Overburdened with so many efforts to legitimize and define by defying definitions.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    New reference book to add to my collection

  30. 5 out of 5

    Biscuits

    I wish I had more time to digest this book, as I interlibrary loaned it, but I enjoyed learning a little something. Definitely on the to-buy list.

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