Flash Recommendation: Cold Flashes

Cold Flashes Anthology

February and March blogs posts are full of flash form resources and craft talks with a book recommendation perfect for wintertime…

Cold Flashes: Literary Snapshots of Alaska, edited by Michael Engelhard brings together both flash fiction and nonfiction shorts and compliments them with halftone photographs. The pairing of words and visual images activates the reader’s imagination.

Editor Michael Englehard uses the introduction as a way to ground the reader, in both the visual and the written word.

This book’s prose selections are the literary equivalent of such peeping-tom stunts–flash frozen slices of life, highly polished micro-narratives that reveal their protagonists and thereby [Alaska’s] many facets and lifestyles. Think of [these flashes] as related to haikus, which leave no room for throat-clearing or verbal calisthenics. They favor the unexpected turn of events, the shortcut to human and nonhuman nature, the sort of episode that could form the heart of a novel. They are fiction or nonfiction, with both genres stalking the same truth.

In a deeper conversation with contributing writer Christine Byl, I asked what drew her to flash form:

I love flash prose for the electricity of compression, and also, for a quietness that arises when the left-unsaid holds the same weight as words. I’m drawn to its structural discipline, and its playful challenge. Flash prose feels very physical to me–the sense of constraint, the attention to negative space, the process of constant removal, whittling–it’s like written sculpture.

Into the Flash is my signature, live and online, 5-week course. There is SO much more to this delightful genre than word count and my online course exposes writers in any genre to tools that support mastery of scene, as well as learning how to make crucial decisions about what to leave in and what to leave out. Into the Flash also comes with a healthy dose of community, prompts, critique, sample texts, and lectures. This course only runs in April and is open for Early Bird Registration right now, with limited seats available–reserve your spot today!

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