Flash Fiction Boot Camp

Do you sometimes need a push to get writing? I do, especially in this time of quarantine, when normal life structures have been lifted. I find it helpful to have deadlines, prompts, and someone to hold me accountable.

That’s why I often sign up for writing workshops, flashathons, silent writing sessions, and other creative classes–to challenge myself. Just immersing myself in a world of writing, where other people are creating new work, is energizing and motivating.

I also find inspiration from leading writing workshops, and I’m teaching several this summer.

Right now, I’m teaching a flash fiction workshop for Cleaver magazine. A second session will start on June 20. This four-week class has weekly readings and writing assignments.

I’m also teaching a one-week intensive flash workshop for Truro Center for the Arts, June 15-19. This class will meet for three two-hour Zoom sessions in which we’ll generate and share new work, along with reading and discussion. Sign up here!

And coming later in the summer? A revision workshop.

Sometimes we all need a little push.

Feet dangling over river


The Monday Prompt, #5

Mix tape

The Mix Tape

Write a flash prose piece (fiction or nonfiction) that begins with a line from a pop song. Aim for not more than 400 words, and in the body of the story, use at least four other words that occur in the song lyrics (but no other complete line–just individual words).

The Monday Prompt, #4

Color My World

Pick a color that appeals to you from the color wheel, or a box of crayons, or the Pantone color web site.
Set a timer or stopwatch for one minute and brainstorm all the words and images that the color suggests to you. For example: blue = ocean, sky, blue note, having the blues, etc.

Next, pick a color that is the opposite of your original color. Set the timer again, and brainstorm all the words and images that come to you with that color. For example, yellow = sunshine, daffodils, banana, mellow yellow, etc.

Finally, set your timer for 10 minutes and write a short prose piece or poem that incorporates at least 3 words or images from each color prompt. If 10 minutes isn’t enough, keep going!

The Monday Prompt, #3

Opposites Attract

This week’s prompt: write a flash fiction (or nonfiction) story, or a poem, using pairs of opposite concepts, such as light/dark, sun/moon, sleep/wake, summer/winter, etc. You can brainstorm some specific opposites first, then use either the actual words or images that suggest them in your work.

Keep writing!

Salt and Pepper

Attachment Theory

New Stories in a Strange Time

We’re at it again, pretending nothing’s changed.

“Attachment Theory” published in trampset


I liked that we could craft whole conversations around lines from 1940s crime films. Or country songs. I liked that we could change the rules at any moment and not have to explain.

“Upstairs, Downstairs” published in Ilanot Review


He never tells me to smile. He says he likes me best for my perfect blankness.

“The Artist Poses His Muse Before a Goldfish Bowl (after Henri Matisse, Woman Before a Fish Bowl )” published in New Flash Fiction Review

The Monday Prompt, #2

Rainy Days and Mondays

How are all of you doing out there? Are you writing? I know I’ve been having a hard time focusing, tuning out the rest of the world to get into that state of creative flow. Living through a pandemic can do that to you!

I miss my writing group. I miss the days when writing about dystopian futures meant writing fantasy. But I’m still going to keep up posting a new writing prompt every Monday. Some will be words, some will be pictures, and some will be specific writing challenges.

No deadline, no pressure. Use these on your own, however you like. I hope they provide some inspiration!

This week’s prompt: Write a short prose piece OR a poem that begins with a line (or fragment of a line) from a song lyric.
Also incorporate the following:
– A word having to do with rain (could be rain, rainy, storm, cloud, etc.)
– A day of the week
– A type of fabric

The Monday Prompt, #1

These are interesting times we live in. As a pandemic virus spreads across the world, many of us are practicing social distancing and staying home. We’re doing the right thing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be boring, anxiety-producing, and frustrating at times.

Maybe writing can help. Starting now, I’m going to be posting a new writing prompt every Monday. Some will be words, some will be pictures, and some will be specific writing challenges.

No deadline, no pressure. Use these on your own, however you like. I hope they provide some inspiration!

Person alone in window
Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

Prompt #1

The Four-Year Itch (A/K/A the Leap Year Prompt)

Write a flash fiction story in four parts. Each section must have exactly four sentences. In addition, each section must follow the same character or characters, but take place four years apart.

Heroines wanted. Apply here.

Take aim at the Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize. Send your best, 750 or less.

The 2020 Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize Is Looking for Your Best Work

Do you have a flash fiction piece, 750 words or fewer, featuring a complex, female-oriented protagonist? The sixth annual Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize, sponsored by Spider Road Press, a woman-owned small press, is accepting entries through April 1, 2020.

I’ll be judging alongside writer Jae Mazer, and we want to read short stories that dazzle and sing. Stories with a female lead who is strong, or learns to be strong. She doesn’t have to ride dragons, fight crime, or single-handedly dismantle the patriarchy (although if you have a good story about someone who does that, power to you.) Maybe your heroine shines because of her inner strength, quiet endurance, or courage of conviction.

First prize: $300 plus online publication. Four honorable mentions receive $15 plus publication. Entry fee: $10. Full details and link to enter on the Spider Road Press website.

Flash Fiction Distillery

Flash Fiction DIstillery

In cooking, it would be the equivalent of making a reduction sauce, paring down each tale to its essence, giving it time to simmer, until you have an explosion of taste in just a tiny amount that lingers on the tongue leaving you wanting for more.  

– Jayne Martin on flash

For the next four weeks, starting Tuesday, January 21, I’m teaching a flash fiction workshop through the IWWG (International Women’s Writing Guild). We’ll be meeting for 90 minutes, 7-8:30 p.m., to read, discuss, and–of course!–write flash fiction. If you’d like to join, register here. I look forward to writing with you!

Best Microfiction

I am over the moon excited to have not one, not two, but three stories selected for the 2020 Best Microfiction anthology!

Best Microfiction

The stories chosen are:
“Warsaw Circus” (Milk Candy Review)
“Historic Preservation” (Cabinet of Heed)
“Why I Got Written Up by the Manager at Uncle Earl’s World Famous Bar-B-Q” (100 Word Story)

Thank you to the series editors for selecting my work and to the editors of Milk Candy Review, Cabinet of Heed, and 100 Word Story for publishing these pieces!