Is This Your Flash Fiction Manuscript?


If you answered yes, you are not alone. But now what? How do you put it all together? 


If you feel stuck at this phase of the process, take heart: This is one of the most common questions I get from writers working on a flash manuscript. But there is good news: this part of the process is creative, inspiring, and can be be approached with your own unique vision, resulting in a product that is much more than just putting various pieces under one roof.

Flash Fiction Books: Putting it all Together

April 2-30, 2018

In the Flash Fiction Books online course we will learn from different kinds of flash books, including anthologies, collections, novellas-in-flash and flash novels. So whether you are an editor designing an anthology or journal, an author attempting a collection, or you are embarking on a flash novel or novella, the transition from the narrow to the wide view of a body of work can ultimately be just as rewarding as the writing itself.

Learn strategies, avoid pitfalls, and gain new inspiration for how to package flash fiction for the world..

This is a 4-week online workshop format class with limited availability.

Cost: $159


Other questions? Contact me below:





“The Bad Thing” in Connotation Press plus a Compressed Q & A with Jonathan Cardew!

Read the original plus the compressed Q & A in Connotation Press here

The Bad Thing
by Nancy Stohlman

Once a bad thing happened, and the people were horrified and cried, played the details over and over like a particularly painful heartbreak. And someone decided that a memorial should be built and everyone should wear red and once a year everyone wore red and remembered the bad thing and it seemed right.

The next time a bad thing happened people decided it was only fitting to designate another color—white this time—and people wore white and some people wore red and white together to show how the two bad things were connected and that also seemed right.

But the bad things kept happening. Soon the primary colors were gone—then the secondary colors. The newest tragedies had to come up with creative coloring like teal or lavender and soon it expanded beyond colors—people in mourning for a specific tragedy could either wear the color or buy a bracelet made of that color and some people had 10-15 bracelets going up their arm until it was pointed out that the bracelets weren’t produced in an environmentally friendly manner and then people got rid of all the bracelets and tried to go back to the colors, but even the colors didn’t work now, because every color was affiliated with a tragedy and if you were wearing, say, lime green pants, but you didn’t know which bad thing was being mourned in lime green, then you might be called a poser and accused of trivializing other people’s suffering.

And still the bad things increased until there were several bad things every week, and new symbols had to be devised to express your horror: praying hands and beating hearts and hugging arms you could send electronically or made into magnetic bumpers stickers for cars or bicycles and you could also swap your electronic picture frame to one specially made to announce your devastation at the new bad thing, but sometimes another bad thing would happen on that same day and you would not know if you should keep the original picture frame to mourn the first bad thing or if you should update to mourn the most recent bad thing and those who updated would be called insensitive by the ones who had not yet finished mourning the first bad thing.

It got to the point where the bad things had to compete with the other bad things, and a thing that would have been pretty bad back in the days of the primary colors was now almost ignored. And people abandoned the picture frames but they didn’t know which symbol to use, now, which led them to create new symbols, like baking cakes in the shapes of tragedies that needed to be mourned and sometimes they traveled to the locations of the bad things just to feel the awfulness more acutely and they became jumpy like children in volatile households who are trying to read the signs and see the next bad thing approaching and so sometimes they would see regular things as bad things and jump at the sight of prayer hands or beating hearts or hugging arms until they became numb and the bad things kept happening but they were out of colors and out of ideas and so, eventually, they did nothing.


*Compressed Q&A with Jonathan Cardew and Nancy Stohlman (6 words max)*
Q’s: Jonathan Cardew
A’s: Nancy Stohlman

Q: Earliest memory?
A: Waiting for the Oz ruby slippers

Q: Some writers you love?
A: Saterstrom, Svalina, Hemingway, Garcia-Marquez, Atwood, Geisen,

Q: How to write flash?
A: Let go. Then let go more

Q: How NOT to write flash?
A: prose poem, vignette = flash fiction: no

Q: Favorite recent story read online?
A: I can’t keep up. In awe.

Q: The problem with politics?
A: Too much emotion; no strategy

Q: Finish this: “I woke under stars…”
A:  with pierced bellybutton, *Sturgis circa 1994*

Q: Finish this: “I write to…”
A: know myself/ stay out of therapy

Q: Pen your epitaph:
A: What the hell was that about?

Q: What’s sexy?
A: Mutual adoration.
(Two words says all.)

Q: What’s NOT sexy?
A: People who don’t read / can’t spell

Q: How you feel when you sing:
A: First naked, then clothed, then awesome

Q: Perfect dinner?
A: Adventurous and ethnic, outside seating cafe

Q: Now for something completely different?
A: Fried chicken and cheesecake. Avocados.

Q: Favorite six-word story ever?
A: I still make coffee for two

Q: Strangest experience?
A: Pick one: hitchhiking, Miss Nebraska, car-crash

Q: One song you love now:
A: “I’m Still Standing” stuck in head

Q: Something no one knows about you:
A: Renaissance Festival gypsy: 4 years

Q: The meaning of life?
A: Pick your avatar—now play!

Q: NOT the meaning of life?
A:  Is this the real life? just fantasy?

Q: City to lose yourself in?
A: Barcelona, Kyoto, Kathmandu, Berlin, (old) San Juan

Q: Country to lose yourself in?
A: Nepal, Spain, Puerto Rico, Spain, Germany, Spain

Q: Memory to lose yourself in?
A: Living in a van with a cat

Q: _ _ _ _ _ _?
A: Of course not, that’s f-ed up.

Q: Show us a picture with words:
A: I’m 7, blue eyeshadow, Wonder Woman

Q: Flip the Q&A:
A: Don’t tell me what to do.

Flash Books Online Course


April 2-30

So you’ve been writing and editing–now you’re thinking about a book. But how do you put it all together?


Whether you are an editor designing an anthology or journal, an author attempting a collection, or you are embarking on a flash novel or novella, there are new things to consider when you go from the micro to the macro view of a body of work. Learn strategies, avoid pitfalls, and gain new inspiration for how to package flash fiction for the world in this brand new class.

This will be a 4-week live online workshop format class with limited availability.

Cost: $159


Other questions? Contact me below:

UK Flash Fiction Festival July 20-22

Join me in the UK this July 20-22 for the second annual Flash Fiction Festival!

From the website: “We are happy to host the 2018 Flash Fiction Festival UK at Trinity College Bristol which is in Stoke Bishop, a beautiful part of Bristol and a short journey from the city centre. This year’s festival is supported by funding from Bath Flash Fiction Award.”

It’s going to be fantastic!

Flash Fiction Festival Presenters

From the UK Vanessa Gebbie, David Gaffney, Ashley Chantler, Peter Blair, Meg Pokrass, Jude Higgins, K M Elkes, Carrie Etter, Michael Loveday, Calum Kerr, Santino Prinzi, Haleh Agar, Tim Stevenson, Ingrid Jendzrejewski
From the USA Nancy Stohlman, John Brantingham, Grant Hier, Laurie Stone
From Germany Christopher Allen
From Ireland Nuala O’Connor

All the juicy details here


For Creatives, play is not a luxury


Creative Play: Hitting the Reset Button

True creativity begins as play.  And what is play but unstructured time where we allow our intuition to lead us to our joy? If we are writers, writing brings us joy. But too often in our modern world the joy of what we love is relegated  to “later” and play becomes a wistful luxury.

But if we are creatives, play is not a luxury but a necessity.

As artists, we understand that sometimes “writing” looks like walking, singing, staring at nothing, pages of journaling that “don’t count”, and most importantly lots of unscheduled time, hours that allow you to silence the usual demanding voices and get in touch with your true creative self. And while we may know that we need this (just like we may know that we should juice every day and do yoga), we rarely give ourselves what we–and more importantly our work—really need, taking care of everyone else first and our creative child last.

Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.”

A retreat is just one way to hit that reset button, giving yourself the gift of possibility and a fresh start so that you can bring your best, most imaginative, most original self to your work. So if you have always thought that a retreat was an indulgence you could not afford, maybe it’s time to ask yourself: what is it costing you NOT to?

–xoxo Nancy

Thinking about joining us in Costa Rica? More info

“Missing” in Jellyfish Review

Thank you Jellyfish Review!

-Read original and the rest of the issue here

Missing by Nancy Stohlman 

I went into Walmart for a bag of ice, something I never do because I don’t like Walmart, and I don’t like ice, and the ice was located next to the wall of Missing Persons and there I was: missing. My picture, the one I got for my passport last year, was hanging next to an artist’s rendition of what I would look like now, one year later, which was basically the same but with longer bangs, which was exactly what I did look like. I stood there confused, reading my height and weight. It said I was last seen in Walmart one year ago, probably last year when I went camping and also needed ice.

There was a number for info so I called. A woman answered. Missing Person’s Hotline she said.

I want to report a sighting of a missing person I said.


Here, at Walmart. It’s me. I mean, the missing person is me. I’m not missing, I’m right here. I’m not sure what’s going on.

She sounded unconcerned. Let me look in your records she says. Well, it definitely says that you are missing. For nearly 11 months. Where have you been?

I haven’t been anywhere I said.

What have you been doing?

I haven’t been doing much of anything, you know, just doing regular stuff. Who reported me as missing?

All information from sources is kept anonymous she said. You must understand why. People might be afraid to come forward if they had to give their names.

Well can you report me as not missing now? I asked.

Sure. We’ll need you to come down to the police station for fingerprint matching first, though.

I showed up at the station and they sent me to the Missing Person’s wing. I sat in the lobby and it seemed to me that everyone was staring, looking at my picture on the wall and then back at me. One woman finally approached the receptionist and said in a half-whisper — I want to report a missing person sighting.

I can hear you I said. I’m not even missing. There’s been a mistake.

They took my fingerprints, confirmed my identity, and then thanked me for coming forward. It’s only through the diligence of citizens like you that we are able to recover people who might stay missing she said, handing me a wet wipe for my inky fingers.

I went back to Walmart a week later to see if they had removed my poster but it had only been updated: Last seen in Walmart. Please call with any information.



Flash Fiction in Costa Rica with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman

What gift will you give yourself and your writing this year?

Do you dream of uninterrupted days to write in beautiful locations? Do you long to meet, be mentored by, and network with other writers? Are you enamored with flash fiction and want to learn more or refine your work?

Create in Costa Rica 

with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman

January 19-25, 2019– Registration now open!


Playa Negra, Costa Rica

Think long walks through the tropical forest that end on the beaches of the Pacific. Sleeping in the jungles, lulled to sleep by the sounds of crickets and tree frogs. A week to yourself to just focus on your writing. Maybe you can have it all.

More info here

Have a  look around. Watch the slideshow. Ponder. Dream. Let us know what you think. 


Kathy Fish & Nancy Stohlman

P.S. Limited accommodations so sharing encouraged…maybe you’d like to take your writing group someplace exotic?

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