If you haven’t heard of Madeline Mora-Summonte yet, you really need to go check out her blog. She writes this amazing flash fiction, some of which she featured during the A to Z Challenge. NO RETURN
Today I’ve got her here to talk about her ff writing. But first, I want to show you a couple of my favorites that she wrote for A to Z . (And there will be more at the end too.)
The sleek, blood-red convertible was rented, as was the boy toy behind the wheel, but I had no intention of bringing either of them back.
I love how she says so much in one sentence–the feeling of trepidation I get. The imagery in her mini-stories is fantastic.
Mama always makes me wear a mask. She says I’m ugly as the sin that made me, says I’ll be handsome enough to go without one when hell freezes over, when pigs fly.
When I leap from our roof, I am hiding a smile inside my pig mask.
That one also brings out the emotions–although sadness for that child. And she evokes those emotions so well with so few words. I’ve got a few more at the end, but now I’ve got a few questions. Welcome, Madeline.
What did you start writing first, novels or flash fiction and other short stories?
I’ve always worked on stories and novels. Novels are such long, complex projects that I find stories, especially flash fiction, give me a much needed sense of completion, of accomplishment. When I’m struggling with novel work, it gives me great pleasure to submit a story, to see one recently published online. The process of writing both gives me a sense of balance.
I’ve done a few short stories, and the one thing I love about them is that the editing is soooo much shorter compared to novels. It’s not as overwhelming to start that revision process.
Is it easier for you to write novels or short stories/flash fiction?
Hmm, I don’t know if I’d say one is easier. They’re just different.I don’t have to hold nearly as much information in my head for flash fiction as I do for a novel. Novel writing often feels overwhelming. Flash feels attainable, compact, the end is usually in sight.
Did you decide to ‘try’ FF and then create the stories, or did you have the inspiration first and when you started writing, it ended up being FF?
It really just depends. Sometimes, like with “Whale Watching,” it was for a contest so I was working within a set of guidelines, like word count and needing to include certain words in the story. “Mask” evolved from something I saw – a child wearing a pig mask, waving to people out the car window. “Indelible Ink” pretty much came from nowhere. I was just thinking about tattoos and why people get them, etc. “No Return” was based on a photo prompt from a number of years ago. I submitted slightly different versions of the story to a number of places, and it was rejected time and again. Yet it’s still one of my favorites.
Is most of your flash fiction for fun or do you publish a lot of it?
I submit a lot of it to different markets and contests. I like having deadlines and frameworks to work within, even if I have to create them for myself. For my collection, The People We Used to Be, I chose – and wrote – stories that fit the theme of who we are versus who we were. For The Blogging from A-Z Challenge April 2014, I limited every story to 100 words or fewer. I plan on putting together another collection, using a chunk of those A-Z stories, and I’m sure I’ll set some rules for myself for that one as well.
Thanks so much, Madeline. Again, make sure you go check out her blog and if you’re interested in reading about how she writes her flash fiction, go to this site. You can also find her story collection, The People We Used to Be here. Those flash fiction stories are a little longer than her A to Z postings, but are just as emotional and inspiring, and I really recommend reading it.
Have you ever written flash fiction? If not, here’s a few more of Madeline’s stories to inspire you. (And FYI, she does have positive stories too, but these sad and creepy ones are my favorites.)
Cheryl waits on the sagging porch, the cutting spade resting across her thighs. Granddaddy used it to saw off whale blubber. She’s heard he used it for other things, too, but its stains tell no tales, fiction or otherwise.
Dusk descends. Varmints scuttle in the junkyard’s bowels. The trap clatters.
Cheryl smiles at the boys’ panicked cries. She’s sick of their nasty pranks and cruel words – Cheryl the Whale.
At 262 pounds, her flesh slushes loose and sweaty within her clothes as she lumbers across the yard, cutting spade in hand, ready to carry on the family tradition. INDELIBLE INK
She let him stain her on the inside.
Now, he laughs, chooses her tattoo – his name down her back, mocking the spine she doesn’t have.