Why do you write flash? What makes it different for you?
I think I got into writing flash because it was quick. It was something I could do while working on longer writing projects without committing myself to huge amounts of time (I like to be working on several things at once). What I discovered, though, was how much I loved the craft of flash which is similar to poetry in that every single word has to be maximized for full effect, but also it’s a story in that plot and characters are almost even more important than they are in longer stories (because you have to convey so much so quickly). I try to write at least one flash a week to keep myself constantly thinking about how to be more effective at pacing and at building character in quick, unique ways.
What’s your writerly lifejacket: character or plot?
I actually have very strong opinions that these are completely entwined. If a plot is working it’s usually because the characters are carrying the weight of that plot if characters are working then there better be a plot around them to keep pushing them in the story. I’m really not a fan, no matter how beautiful the writing, of reading a story where all the character does is ponder something. If change is the motivator of story, then by necessity there is plot.
Writing style: Quick and messy or slow and precise?
Writing is quick, though not messy (I’m methodical). Editing is painstakingly slow and precise. *shudders*
What element or part of your “real life” do you think most influences your writing?
Eesh. It’s hard to say, it’s probably a tossup between my work (I’m lucky to be a teacher) which regulates the time I can spend writing while also engaging me with thinking about the writing process constantly and the way I grew up (very rural, poor, surrounded by nature, steeped in folklore).
If you could recommend one flash story or writer, who/what would it be?
Oh, shoot, this is a phenomenally hard question to answer because there are so many wonderful flash writers out right now. You can just scroll through Twitter for an hour and find ten amazing flash pieces! But, I’ll take the easy (and completely biased as he’s my roommate and dear friend) route and say, Brontë Wieland. He is such a gifted writer that it irritates me that he doesn’t put more work out. I routinely teach this story by him, in composition and creative writing classes, because it does so much so quickly and uses language in this delightfully surprising way: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/i-found-solace-in-a-great-moving-shadow/
What story of yours do you wish got more recognition?
I honestly think I’m incredibly lucky to have people who read my work and seem to genuinely enjoy it. So I’m not sure if I’d wish any of them got more recognition as I feel grateful to have any recognition for my work (what a gift that is!). That being said, I had a great editorial experience with this story (shout out to Meghan Phillips, who is the best) and it’s a story I’m also deeply fond of because of the way I wrote it (I imposed a lot of rules on myself for this piece and I feel it really helped my writing grow): https://www.thirdpointpress.com/2017/04/a-reunion-of-waves/
BIO: Chloe N. Clark is a teacher, writer, and baker. Her work appears in Apex, Flash Fiction Online, Gamut, Third Point Press, and more. She writes for Nerds of a Feather and Ploughshares and can be found online @PintsNCupcakes or chloenclark.com