Thursday, September 8, 2011

Six Questions for Gay Degani, Editor, Flash Fiction Chronicles

Flash Fiction Chronicles is interested in helping fiction writers create high-quality flash fiction.

(ceased publication)

SQF: What is Flash Fiction Chronicles?

GD: Flash Fiction Chronicles comes out of Every Day Publishing whose flagship site is Every Day Fiction. It was originally conceived as a blog, an adjunct to the forum that already exists there and the triumvirate at EDP, Camille, Jordan, and Steven, posted on that forum they needed someone to oversee the blog. I was standing in the back row and when no one volunteered, I decided, oh well, why not? It can't be that big a deal the mediate a blog that others will write.

That had been the concept, to give writers who were published at EDF and who participated in the forum a place to write about writing and, yes, link to their stories. So with that in mind, I said yes. Haha! That was over two years ago, and we've turned into something quite different. This happened because they told me I could do anything I wanted: carte blanche, and because although some of the great writers at EDF put up posts, it didn't take me long to realize that if I didn't actively solicit, I would be the only one writing. Thus we morphed from a plain do-it-when-you-want blog to a controlled substance with a mission statement.

Our goal is to help in the growth of quality flash fiction for writers and readers online and in print. This site is dedicated to the discussion of the art and craft of flash fiction, fiction in general, and the issues of writing, marketing, and publishing today.

Amazing what happens when you draft one of those!

SQF: FFC includes articles about flash fiction. What are you looking for in an article submission?

GD: We're very open. We've had to be because it seems most writers of fiction are not tuning up their computers daily to write non-fiction articles. However, we've been very lucky with our contributors and found that just about anything that has to do with the writing life--on the page and off--can work. My ideal article would be around a thousand words (just like a flash) and explore some aspect of craft or writing experience that has the possibility of getting some writer out there in the ether excited about writing or give him or her an answer to a craft problem. We have a list of suggestions for article topics on our About/Submit page. You'll also find our submission manager there from Submishmash. So easy for us and so easy for writers.

SQF: What are the main reasons an article is rejected?

GD: Lack of self-editing. In the beginning, I was willing to help edit any piece that had a kernel of an idea but as we've grown, I find taking the time to do that more and more difficult even with our added staff of Michelle Reale, Jim Harrington, and Erin Kelly. So many people have great ideas, but they don't follow through to a polished article. We also will occasionally get fiction which shows me that many writers, usually new, don't investigate the venues they send to.

SQF: Should writers query before sending an article?

GD: A query isn't necessary and sometimes annoying. I've had writers send me query after query and never deliver the article. I'd rather have a finished, polished, and proof-read article submitted through our sub-manager than to take the time to answer queries. And as we grow we are becoming more and more selective even though we've expanded our publishing from two days a week to three. However, nothing is lost by sending something to us. We want to read it and our acceptance rate is still high.

SQF: Do you provide feedback for rejected articles?

GD: We do. If the article has a good idea, but just needs more info or a slightly different slant so it works for flash, we encourage writers to do that. We accept almost all rewritten articles. We like the effort writers make, and we know that sometimes it takes more than one trip through a piece of writing to get it where it needs to be.

SQF: Besides articles, what other materials will readers find on your site?

GD: Ahhhhhh, well. Now you are talking. With a staff, we've been able to expand some of our features. For example, you, Jim, have helped us tremendously by becoming our Markets editor organizing the different venues by word count. This is an incredible help for those of us who end up with a lot of shorter pieces. Duotrope--as wonderful as it is--can be somewhat cumbersome for flash writers. We also have lists of "havens" for encouragement and motivation as well as "communities" that encourage writers with prompts and feedback. And speaking of prompts, my favorite job is posting our Daily Prompt feature which contains ten random words and a quotation to jump start a writer's day. The wonderful thing about the Daily Prompt is that it's led us to our annual String of 10 Contest.

The String of 10 Contest happens every February. This is the only week we post the same string of ten words and a quotation every day and ask writers to send us their 250 word stories. We have a guest judge who selects the top three stories. Prizes include publication for First Place at Every Day Fiction and a chance (if chosen by the readers and staff at EDF) to be in the Best of Every Day Fiction anthology while Second and Third are published at Flash Fiction Chronicles. All three winners are interviewed at FFC.

We also plan to reinvent our Fabulous Flash feature with Erin Kelly discovering and discussing great flash on-line and we are launching Michelle's Reale's Slant, her personal interviews with writers, editors, and publishers. These two features will be in addition to our two other regular monthly columns, Aubrey Hirsch's First Mondays and Rumjhum Biswas' Rumjhum's Ruminations.

Thank you, Gay. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEXT POST: 9/12--Six Questions for Tyler Gobble and Layne Ransom, Editors, Stoked Journal


  1. Thanks Jim for doing this. I want to add that since this interview we have added a roving columnist. Thomas Kearnes will be writing articles about craft and will publish on a monthly basis with us. Welcome Thomas!

  2. These (Gay & Jim)are two giants who prove authentic humility to be definitely one of the major and most powerful features of human kind.
    Gay and Jim, you do so much for the writing community that you never cease to commove me in a very positive manner. Great interview!
    Thank you so very much!

    Peace & Plot,