International Book Awards AND The Great Fiction Flash Off this weekend!

The Great Festival Flash Off

Saturday, June 26, 2021

11 am to 8 pm (London time)

Cake Pops: Making a Savory Micro Sequence with Nancy Stohlman: 5:00-6:30 pm (London time)

Okay, bakers. For our technical challenge we want you to craft a string of 5-10 perfect mini-flashes into a showstopping centerpiece. The sponge should be poignant, the flavor should be profound, and the texture should be compact and dense, yet expansive and memorable. Identically perfect, well-rounded, separate, but together.

Few people know that Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets actually create a sonnet sequence. While they can obviously be read and loved alone, strung together they invite a new perspective. In this class we will use all the tricks and tools of compression, as well as consider the broader scope of a larger story. Inspired by sequences in literature and the natural world, we will crack stories open and string stories together to create a savory micro sequence that is both tiny and epic.

I promise you can’t eat just one!

More info and Register Here

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AND….

Going Short is feeling like a rock star today!

(*just announced) International Book Awards: Finalist

Next Generation Book Awards: Finalist

Reader Views Award: Winner

Thank you to Ad Hoc Fiction and everyone who has believed in this book!

Get Yours Now

Beauty in the Aftermath: A Creative Call to Action

Friends,

Are you feeling the shift? Something in the water these last few weeks… unfamiliar frequencies, extra static that you can’t quite put your finger on? A cautious shift into…joy? Hesitancy? Both?

In the U.S., there has been an impulse to move forward, and quickly! Take off your masks, everyone! Hug your friends! Go to Disneyworld! And yet it’s unsettling. For 18 months we’ve been dreaming of this kind of permission, but now we may feel stunned. Pausing in a fog of new feelings.

I’ve been trying to put a name to this feeling for weeks. It’s like slipping between worlds, inhabiting a strange, transitional, duty-free zone between here and there. A kind of reverse culture shock tinged with trauma.

Go with me for a minute…

You probably know about culture shock—if you’ve experienced it, you may remember feeling unmoored in the new spaces—not quite sure how to navigate in the face of so much difference. But…you eventually embraced the unfamiliar and opened your heart to the difference, and in that opening you found new ways, new foods, and new rituals.

I mean, that’s why we travel, right?

Fewer people talk about reverse culture shock. I first experienced it after spending 3 weeks on an anthropology trip in Nepal in college. We had been well prepared for the culture shock of Nepal—but, after 3 weeks of adjusting to a new everything: new climate, altitude, food, customs, time zone— we were completely unprepared for the re-entry. We had changed, and the old ways now seemed foreign and awkward. 

Returning created just as much disturbance as leaving—maybe more because we were unprepared for it.

But reverse culture shock is only part of the current equation. There is also the very real trauma of surviving a life-threatening situation. I don’t use the term PTSD lightly. But we carry the aftermath of life-threatening trauma—wars, accidents, abuse, starvation, or a deadly pandemic—in our bodies, sometimes for years, maybe even a lifetime. My grandparents lived in the shadow of the Depression for the rest of their lives.  

It was once explained to me that US soldiers in Vietnam began to experience more frequent instances of PTSD in part because of airplanes. In earlier wars, soldiers traveled home by ship, a process that took several weeks, and they traveled together. There was a natural buffer—a liminal time between the site of the trauma and the re-emerging into society. There were weeks of distance, processing, grieving, and connection among the soldiers that helped the re-entry process. But in Vietnam (and subsequent wars), most soldiers were debriefed and flown home on airplanes—leaving them only 18 hours to transition worlds. Which means they were in a war zone on Tuesday; thrown into their old lives and their old relationships on Wednesday. No wonder they struggled (and continue to struggle).
 
So combine the two—reverse culture shock with a bit of collective PTSD, and we get closer to defining this strange, in-between space we’re inhabiting these days. We are facing the aftermath and not sure how to reacclimate.

So now what?

What does a community of sensitive, emotionally attuned people do now, at this threshold? When there is a feeling of cosmic trepidation, hesitation, when making simple decisions seems overwhelming? When your creative work—wherever on the continuum you’ve been over the last 18 months—is again shifting. Perhaps the ripples we’ve been feeling is humanity herself shaking to be alive.

Now, as always, we turn to the artists—you and me—to hold a new vision of the world. More than ever we need the beauty makers and visionaries, the poets and painters and preachers. The storytellers. Our time has come, fellow art makers. Now, in the Reconstruction of our world—let’s help to leave it better and more beautiful than we found it.

Proud to be on your team,
Nancy
xoxo

“The Wacky, Weird, and Wonderful”–Zoom workshop fundraiser for Brilliant Flash Fiction

Virtual FUNDRAISING WORKSHOP WITH NANCY STOHLMAN

Saturday, JUNE 12, NOON MDT (Denver, CO, time)

Everyone attending the workshop will be eligible for a drawing to win one of 3 signed copies of Nancy Stohlman’s book, Going Short.

About the workshop:

“The Wacky, Weird, and Wonderful: Dazzling Narratives and Experimental Flash Fictions”

The constraints of flash fiction have ironically created a new sort of genre freedom, and flash fiction writers are embracing contortions that wouldn’t work in other forms: a motley circus of tightrope walkers and jugglers and trapeze artists plunging against their boundaries and defying narrative in breathtaking ways. In this one-hour workshop we’ll examine, discuss, and take bold risks with experimental narratives, attempting the kinds of literary acrobatics and daredevil antics that emerge when plots are forced to bend in small spaces.  

acrobats balance on Empire State Building, 1934

From Brilliant Flash Fiction: If you want to attend this workshop, please email bffnonprofit@gmail.com with WORKSHOP in the subject line, giving your name and an email address where we can send a Zoom link. We ask participants to donate $20 by clicking the Donate button at brilliantflashfiction.com. Everyone attending the workshop will be eligible for a drawing to win one of 3 signed copies of Nancy Stohlman’s book, Going Short.

More info, as well as contests, submissions, and other awesomeness, at Brilliant Flash Fiction

Writer’s Digest Short Story Virtual Conference May 22-23

Thanks to everyone who registered for summer workshops–all workshops are now FULL, and I am looking forward to working with you all!

If you were not able to register for a workshop intensive: I will be participating in several live (Zoom) opportunities in May and June! The first one is this weekend, at the Writer’s Digest Short Story Virtual Conference:

Writer’s Digest Short Story Virtual Conference, May 21-23

Writer’s Digest is pleased to present an exclusive virtual conference for short story writers! On May 21-23, our Short Story Writing Virtual Conference will provide expert insights from SEVEN award-winning and best-selling authors on the finer points of how to write a short story. Spend the weekend learning techniques for honing your craft skills, marketing your short fiction, editing, and getting the tools you need to advance your career as a writer from seven different published authors.

Experience the education, camaraderie, and opportunities provided by a live writing conference without ever having to leave your home!

  • Marketing Short Fiction: The Science of Publishing by Jacob M. Appel
    The purpose of this session is to demystify the submission and selection process, ultimately leading to a more impressive acceptance to submission ratio.
  • Editing the Short Stuff by Windy Lynn Harris
    This session will walk you through a four-step plan to go from first draft to last with confidence.
  • Whose Story Is It Anyway?: Point of View in Short Stories by Ran Walker
    Award-winning author Ran Walker discusses the ins and outs, pros and cons, of using the various forms of point-of-view so that you can approach your next story with greater confidence.
  • How to Use Eight (vs Five) Senses in the Short Story by Jenny Bhatt
    During this session, we’ll look at practical examples from well-known short stories for how to leverage all eight senses in our own writing.
  • Going Short: Flash Fiction for the Flash-Curious by Nancy Stohlman
    In this session, veteran writer, publisher, and professor Nancy Stohlman will take you on a flash fiction journey to examine and discuss the fundamentals of flash, examine different approaches to the compressed narrative, debunk flash myths and distinguish flash fiction from its close cousins, the short story and the prose poem.
  • How to Develop an Enticing Story Premise by Rachel Swearingen
    In this session, you will learn how to use the elements of craft to discover the unique premise hiding in your material.
  • Worldbuilding and the Bi-valve Heart of the Story by Brenda Peynado
    This craft lesson will show you how to forecast the heart of the story within the first sentence or paragraph at the same time as it builds your fictional world, small or large—a family, a suburb, a spaceship, or a planet.

Info, full schedule, and registration for the conference:

***Going Short: Flash Fiction for the Flash-Curious will be held Saturday, May 22 at 3 pm EST/12 pm PST

Would love to “see” you there!