Flash. The word itself evokes images. Quick. Efficient. Effective. The new literary world has come to embrace Flash Fiction and the acceptance of this (relatively) new format is spreading more every day. Few people have embraced it as strongly as Randall Brown, the founder of FlashFiction.Net, a nationally recognized blog that explores the use of compressed work in today’s literary scene. Randall has returned to the PWC to lead a Saturday afternoon feature on flash fiction called “Micro. Sudden. Flash. Fiction.” We asked Randall to talk about the conference, his work, and what drives him. Find out what he has to say after the break!
How important are conferences and conventions to a writer?
It’s important, I think, for writers to expose themselves to differing perspectives about writing and publishing. Writing conferences allow writers to hear multiple points-of-view about all things writing/publishing related. As I’m writing, I often am focused upon expressing myself through words, while possibly ignoring the desires of readers/publishers. Conferences & conventions help me think beyond that expressivist desire to the larger world that includes the wishes of agents, editors, publishers, and readers.
What are some hints for getting your butt in the seat and your hands on the keyboard?
I began to write my first novel (just recently completed) in a therapist’s office, and each time I stopped working on the novel, I wrote down the thought that stopped me. Then, together we discussed and unraveled the thought and the belief system behind it. The nice thing about flash fiction is that the story is sometimes finished before those self-defeating thoughts and beliefs bubble up.
How do you balance your writing time with the rest of your life’s responsibilities?
I don’t. My life remains quite unbalanced. For me, this unbalancing act has just become one of the consequences of choosing a writing life. I’ve heard that some poeple schedule their writing time as they would any important appointment. I like that idea.
When did you first realize you were a writer?
In high school, an English teacher confronted me in the hall and said something like this, “That paper you turned in was bullshit. But you’ll get an A, because you’re the only real writer in that class.” I was ecstastic.
What are you most looking forward to at the 2015 Philadelphia Writers’ Conference?
I love the chance to hear all the different approaches to writing. I always end up with a notebook of fresh ideas and familiar ones that, along the way, I’d forgotten.
How has the new emphasis on a digital world impacted your writing?
It has opened up many new markets for flash fiction. Flash fiction was made for the internet and readers’ desire not to read & scroll.
To what do you credit the increasing popularity of Flash Fiction as an art form?
There’s a populist feel to it: anyone can write one. I love that about it. Now, of course, not everyone might write one that editors/readers prefer. But it’s easy to get one done, especially when the word count gets to be 50, 100, 250 words.
Ready to meet Randall and find out the secrets behind this exciting type of writing? Register HERE!