Why do you write flash? What makes it different for you?
I wish there was some kind of deep, meaningful answer, but really flash is just how I naturally write. When I started writing again about five years ago after a long hiatus, everything that came out happened to be around 1,000 words or under. I didn’t have a name for it at the time, but after reading stories by folks like Roxane Gay, Ben Loory, and Amber Sparks, I learned that what I was writing was called flash fiction.
What’s your writerly lifejacket: character or plot?
It’s definitely not plot. Most of my stories don’t really have much of a discernable plot. So by default it’s character and by character I mean voice. Especially if it’s a first or second-person story. What does this person/narrator sound like? How do they talk? These are usually the first questions I ask myself. Then a first line usually pops into my head.
Writing style: Quick and messy, or slow and precise?
Contradictingly, both. My first drafts are almost always quick and messy. I can usually write the first draft of a piece in one 15–30 minute sitting. Then for successive drafts I’m very slow and precise, going over every word and punctuation mark with a fine-toothed comb. While I can write a first draft in 20 minutes, I can often spend weeks if not months on revisions for one 500-word flash. I like to sit with it for a bit and see how it feels.
What element or part of your “real life” do you think most influences your writing?
Most of my “real life” is pretty boring, so the things that mostly influence my writing are books, movies, tv shows, music. I’m also lucky enough have very funny friends, so I might pull out some funny lines or stories I’ve heard from them. In addition, I’m an inveterate eavesdropper in coffee shops, restaurants, and stores, so I might sprinkle some of that into my work, as well.
If you could recommend a few flash stories or writers, who/what would it be?
Aside from the big three mentioned above, the folks that come to mind are Cathy Ulrich, Anna Vangala Jones, Tara Isabel Zambrano, Kim Magowan, Michelle Ross, Michael Alessi, Dan Sanders, Tyler Barton, Meghan Phillips. As someone who edits a flash fiction magazine, Okay Donkey, it’s hard for me to narrow it down. I’d like to mention all of our contributors!
What story of yours do you wish got more recognition?
A micro I really loved called “Skin Game” was published on Five:2:One’s #sideshow about a year or so ago in January 2019. Unfortunately, soon after publication I was in a bad car accident and couldn’t really promote it as much as I would have liked.
BIO: Eric Andrew Newman lives in Los Angeles with his partner and works as an archivist for a nonprofit foundation. His work has been nominated for the Best Small Fiction and Best Microfiction anthologies, and have appeared in Atlas and Alice, Bending Genres, Five:2:One, Gargoyle, Pithead Chapel, and wigleaf. He is also the Fiction Editor for Okay Donkey.