Flash Fiction Writer Interviews
Why do you write flash? What makes it different for you?
I write flash because brevity brings clarity for me. I also think my brain responds to rules with more playfulness; when I was bored in high school and undergrad, I would write funny haikus to myself. I loved that you could say so much, could even be funny in 17 syllables. And when I finish a flash and I feel like I’ve been funny or said something meaningful, then, a lot of the time, I feel even more satisfied than if I had done that in six times the space.
What’s your writerly lifejacket: character or plot? Neither. It’s time. I think a lot of writers could pay way more attention to the ways they create time in a story. Time doesn’t just influence tense, it influences tone, character, plot, pacing. I think often the difference between a good and great story (or even novel) is the writer is willing to push themselves to innovate and/or be flexible in their portrayals of how time works.
Writing style: Quick and messy or slow and precise?
It really depends on the story. I am a really fast reader and writer, in general. But there are stories that I’ve been working on for six years because they don’t feel “right,” and then there are stories, like the one I recently published in Territory that I wrote during an intensive week and a half. Honestly, the only way I keep writing is by reminding myself not to be rigid about how things are and should be.
What element or part of your “real life” do you think most influences your writing?
I love the different ways people tell stories. I’m an eavesdropper, people watcher, flyer, crumpled-up note found on the sidewalk reader. I’m a person who if someone says—even though, oh holy shit has this backfired on me on multiple occasions—can I tell you something weird, has to almost always say yes (unless I know I really don’t like the person speaking and know what they’ll say will just annoy me). The world can be such a weird and wonderful place. The majority of people have yeah, suppressed their weirdness in many ways, but every once in a while you can get a sideways glance at it and it’s so delicious and inspiring.
If you could recommend one flash story or writer, who/what would it be? That’s really hard! I do think a flash story that should have gotten way more attention than it did is Ruth Joffre’s “Softening.” It was the last story I picked at SmokeLong. You could also read all the flash we’ve published at The Offing since I’ve been there.
What story of yours do you wish got more recognition?
It’s not flash, but I published a short story in Pleiades this year called “The Disappointing Earth.” It’s in issue 37.1. (You can also access it if you have Project Muse.) A dog gets abducted by aliens.
BIO: Megan Giddings is a fiction editor at The Offing and a contributing editor at Boulevard. She has two chapbooks, Arcade Seventeen (TAR: The Atlas Review’s Chapbook series) and The Most Dangerous Game (The Lettered Streets Press). Her short stories are forthcoming or have been recently published in Arts & Letters, CRAFT, Pleiades, and Territory. More about her can be found at www.megangiddings.com