Why do you write flash? What makes it different for you?
For one, I like feeling accomplished; with flash, you can start and finish a story all in one sitting (sometimes more than one!), and then I feel really great about myself. I give myself a big pat on the back and congratulate myself for being a “writer.”
Also, I’m struggling with writing longer stuff right now. I can’t seem to stay on one story for very long, and my stories don’t seem to need more space right now.
More than that, I really appreciate that flash is just the best moments of the story. It’s the turning point, the crucial emotion that all stories need. Lately, I’ve been more of a no BS type of person; I feel like I have to guard my resources (time, energy, attention) and I don’t have time for things or people that waste these. Flash works this way for me; there are no wasted moments, no wasted words. Every word matters. No BS.
What’s your writerly lifejacket: character or plot?
I think I’d have to say character because most of the time nothing really happens in my stories.
Writing style: Quick and messy or slow and precise?
I am slow in that I take a lot of time off between stories. But when I do write, it’s usually because I have one line that’s already formed in my head. Then the rest usually all spills out in one sitting. I revise it 2-3 times before submitting, but I’m usually happy with what pours out the first time because that’s the story that wanted to come out.
What element or part of your “real life” do you think most influences your writing?
I’m very very inspired by setting and I’m very very nostalgic, so all or most of my stories are inspired by some glimpse or flash of real life. Almost everything I write is set in the Midwest – I grew up in Cleveland and spent every summer in rural Indiana.
If you could recommend a few flash stories or writers, who/what would it be?
If you follow me on Twitter you know I fangirl over my favorites.
- Amanda Miska – check out her recent flash in wigleaf called “Confession Game” — http://wigleaf.com/201805confession.htm
- Meghan Phillips – also in wigleaf (man, wigleaf is amazing), her story “Now That the Circus Has Shut Down, the Human Cannonball Looks for Work” — http://wigleaf.com/201802circus.htm
- Monet Thomas – love all her work, and this one’s in Third Point Press called “A Certain Woman” — https://www.thirdpointpress.com/2017/04/a-certain-woman/
A few journals that are wonderful (besides HypertrophicLiterary, cough cough): formercactus, FlashBack Fiction, Cheap Pop, Lost Balloon, Longleaf Review, Smokelong, Cease, Cows, WhiskeyPaper, Third Point Press, wigleaf
What story of yours do you wish got more recognition?
One of my favorite stories I ever published I actually published with Hypertrophic before I started working with them.
Right before my grandmother passed, my siblings and I wanted to visit her one last time, but when we arrived in Indiana a storm had just coated the whole area in thick ice. It was hard to travel, we could barely walk down the driveway, and it all just felt very eerie, like we were trapped in a snow globe. We all knew this would be the last time with our grandmother, so it added an odd sheen to an already emotional weekend. We visited her in the home where we spent a lot of our childhood, so it was like we were literally frozen in time to be with her. I funneled all of that into the story “After Storms” that was published in Spring 2016.
BIO: Madeline Anthes is the acquisitions editor for Hypertrophic Literary. Her writing can be found in journals like WhiskeyPaper, Lost Balloon, Cease, Cows, and Third Point Press. You can find her on Twitter at @maddieanthes, and find more of her work at madelineanthes.com.