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Tue, Oct. 7th, 2008, 04:35 am
Notes from C.M. Mayo's Flash Fiction class

My notes from C.M. Mayo's Flash Fiction class October 5, 2008, Writer's Center, Bethesda, MD

1. Flash fiction can do double-duty as a prose poem:


Aspartame
damages
short-term...
Ooh! Fresca!


2. Create believability by describing details to which the who/what/where/when/how/why of the story gives the most emotional value. In other words, if the stimulus of the story had the emotional effect that you intended by writing the story, what details would that emotional effect cause you to remember if you were recalling the story as a real memory? The details you would use to remember the experience are the details that earn the right to be in the story.

3. The meaning of what's happening drives the sensory experience you'll remember later. Event X happened. What's the emotional reaction? What detail would that emotion in that event drive you to remember? Write that detail. Write what the emotional response to the story would cause you to remember.

4. Readers enjoy one thing at a time, often the pursuit of an answer to a question. The story supports that joy or enables the next experience of joy.

5. Dialogue and plot and emotion and memory all interplay. HOW they interplay in your story depends on how they interplay in your mind. How does the emotional impact of a conversation influence the details you use in describing it? Use that. How does the emotional effect of a memory affect the details you use to describe it? Use that. How does the emotional effect of a story of desire, conflict and resolution affect how you would tell the story if you had experienced that story in real life and had to choose details to express the emotional impact of living that experience? Use that. Cheat off how you remember.

6. Edit by asking the question "Why do I want to stop reading?" Keep reading until you have an answer. When you know WHY you want to stop reading, you have an editing task at hand.

7. Keep your writing implement on the paper. All the time. When you're ready to write, your writing implement is on the paper, so if your writing implement is on the paper, you must be ready to write. There is something of mind cure, after all. Your mind and your body give cues to each other. Exploit them.

8. Desire (act 1) enables conflict (act 2) enables resolution (act 3). The events of a fun read about desire enable the events of a fun read about conflict enable the events of a fun read about resolution.

9. Dialogue shows the details of the character that affect or will affect the story with details you'd remember when remembering the story as a single memory as if the emotion you're supposed to feel drives the details you remember.

10. C.M. Mayo is awesome. -- Basil White