Flash Fiction: The Snapshots of Short Stories

The "short" in a short story has a highly varied meaning. While most submissions fall somewhere in the middle, I have read guidelines which accept short stories that are anywhere from 1,200 to 12,000 words long.

Lately, flash fiction--which is significantly shorter--seems to be gaining popularity, particularly on the Internet where readers want a quick story fix.

Flash fiction can also vary in length, but it is commonly less than 500 words. At Helium.com, the guidelines call for stories ranging from just 200 to 400 words!

Thinking Places for Freelance Writers

A.A. Milne was onto something when he gave Winnie the Pooh his own "thinking place." Everyone has their own places (or routines) which make thoughts come more easily. Thinking places may be different for everyone, but time after time I hear other writers mention that their thoughts flow freely in many similar places.

For most writers, the best thinking place is not sitting in front of a blank computer screen with the pressure of a deadline (personal or professional) looming overhead. For me, staring at a blank text document is one of the best way to bring on writer's block, or at least what I more commonly think of as "writer's slowdown."

During writer's slowdown my words aren't necessarily blocked, they are just trickling out of my mind at the speed of molasses in January--and they are exactly that cliched. Trying to write without inspiration is frustrating, but it's something that every freelance writer has to do from time to time. Quick turnarounds don't always allow time for inspiration to strike. And, let's face it, some assignments just aren't going to spark your interest.

Billie Joe Armstrong and American Idiot's Final Days

Familiar voices sound through the theater in the form of recorded clips from politicians, advertisers and TV shows. The curtain rises to reveal a stark backdrop which is papered in mostly black-and-white posters and interspersed with TV screens in various sizes and styles.

Scruffy young adults are scattered around the stage amid a few pieces of worn-out furniture, and a blonde is suspended by her ankles on chains that extend high above it all. A powerful voice belts out the first line, "Don't want to be an American Idiot!" and the band joins in to rock out with Green Day's famous anthem . . .

American Idiot is wrapping up its Broadway run, and it's going out with a bang as Billie Joe reprises his role as St. Jimmy. While I've been wanting to see the show since it opened, Billie's return (and the news that it's ending soon) was enough incentive for me to finally make the trip. I'll admit that I had high expectations when walking into the St. James, but I'm happy to say that the show exceeded them.

The Problem with Dancing With the Stars

It's no secret that I love Dancing With the Stars. I don't even care all that much who the "stars" are going to be each season.

I love the sparkles, the sequin, the fringe, the weird song choices, the amazing band, Tom Bergeron, the dancing, the Pros and the overall cheese-factor. I especially love reading recaps, reviews and news by EW.com's self-proclaimed Fringe Fairy: Annie Barrett.*

But there's one thing I hate about the show: the hype.