In Brevity, David Galef provides a guide to writing flash fiction, from tips on technique to samples by canonical and contemporary authors to provocative prompts that inspire powerful stories in a little space. Galef traces the genre back to its varied origins, from the short-short to nanofiction, with examples that include vignettes, prose poems, character sketches, fables, lists, twist stories, surrealism, and metafiction. The authors range from the famous, such as Colette and Borges, to today's voices, like Roxane Gay and Bruce Holland Rogers. A writer and longtime creative writing teacher, Galef also shows how flash fiction skills translate to other types of writing. Brevity is an indispensable resource for anyone working in this increasingly popular form.
For more information, see davidgalef.com/brevity.
A Short Introduction
Vignettes. Readings: Colette: "The Other Wife"; Isaac Babel: "An Incident on the Nevsky Prospekt"
Character Sketches. Readings: L. E. Leone: "The Argument for a Shotgun"; Josefina Estrada: "The Extravagant Behavior of the Naked Woman"
Letters. Readings: Yasunari Kawabata: "Canaries"; Phil Karasik: "Mickey the Dog Phones Home"
Diary Entries. Readings: Will Stanton: "Barney"; Mark Budman: "The Diary of a Salaryman"
Lists. Readings: Sei Shōnagon: "Annoying Things"; Steve Martin: "Disgruntled Former Lexicographer"
Fables. Readings: Anonymous: Untitled; Raphael Dagold: "The Two Rats and the BB Gun"
Anecdotes. Reading: The peasant and the genie
Prose Poems. Readings: Yusef Komunyakaa: "Nude Interrogation"; Len Kuntz: "Story Problems"
Soliloquies, Rants, Riffs, and Themes. Readings: Christine Byl: "Hey, Jess McCafferty"; John Edgar Wideman: "Witness"
Perfect Miniatures. Readings: John Collier: "The Chaser"; Jeffrey Whitmore: "Bedtime Story"
Intermission: Cutting Down. Bruce Taylor: "Exercise"
Surrealism. Readings: Richard Brautigan: "A Need for Gardens"; Donald Barthelme: "The Baby"
What If? Readings: Wayland Hilton-Young: "The Choice"; Dicky Murphy: "The Magician's Umbrella"
Genre. Readings: Roxane Gay: "The Mistress of Baby Breath"; Tara Orchard: "My Love"
Setting. Readings: Bharati Mukherjee: "Courtly Vision"; Alice Walker: "The Flowers"
Twists. Readings: Luisa Valenzuela: "Vision Out of the Corner of One Eye"; Saki: "The Open Window"
Two Viewpoints. Readings: Robert Schipits: "Dialogue Between Two Teenagers, One Interested in Cars and One Not"; Ryan Ridge: "Shaky Hands & All"
Mass Compression. Readings: Bruce Holland Rogers: "Dinosaur"; Susan O'Neill: "Memento Mori"
Metafiction. Readings: Ptim Callan: "Story"; Jorge Luis Borges: "Borges and I"
Vanishing Point. Readings: Merilee Faber: "We came around the corner"; Dean Clayton Edwards: "It was pretending"; Davian Aw: "She raised the glass"; Augusto Monterroso: "The Dinosaur"