Flash Craft in Bonnie Jo Campbell’s “Sleep-Over”

We all have those authors whose work and teachings stay with us forever. Bonnie Jo Campbell is one such author for me, and I’ve delighted in the connection we’ve been able to keep up over the years. As I gear up for my April INTO THE FLASH online writing class, I’ll be offering mini craft lessons that focus on reading like a writer and studying the how and why of flash fiction and flash nonfiction. I’m kicking off this series with “Sleep-Over” by Bonnie Jo, a piece that is anthologized by Ooligan Press in You Have Time For This. The recording below is actually an excerpt from a longer lecture I gave on the defining traits of flash form writing–here, I discuss the quality of attention in concise prose, and how strong flash writing usually has a situation that outsizes its characters. What does that mean? Watch and learn! And stay tuned for a video a week for the next two months, with all new flash form material!

Have questions? Not sure why flash form prose might help you write your memoir or novel? Email me. I’ll try to get you more resources or answer your questions. I’m happy to help and love talking flash with writers from around the globe!

Showing 2 comments
  • Roy Gomez

    Hi, Katey: Useful critique. Particularly enjoy placement of sentence beginning, “Ed’s tongue…”. Set at this point, the writer uses tension to elevate story stakes. Had line been placed earlier, skipping setting, I suspect the story would have fizzled. The eyeball invokes, for me, a conscience concerned with getting caught. Your video seemed to end short of a final remark. I was curious about your take on the ‘men killing the monster.’ Very interesting read, though. Thank you!

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  • […] shoot ‘em up, plot is so much more than “what happens”—even in flash form pieces that are only one page. The action needs to raise questions in the reader’s mind, and your lines/scenes/chapters that […]

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