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Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook

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In Brevity, David Galef provides a guide to writing flash fiction, from tips on technique to samples by canonical and contemporary authors to provocative prompts that inspire powerful stories in a little space. Galef traces the genre back to its varied origins, from the short-short to nanofiction, with examples that include vignettes, prose poems, character sketches, fable In Brevity, David Galef provides a guide to writing flash fiction, from tips on technique to samples by canonical and contemporary authors to provocative prompts that inspire powerful stories in a little space. Galef traces the genre back to its varied origins, from the short-short to nanofiction, with examples that include vignettes, prose poems, character sketches, fables, lists, twist stories, surrealism, and metafiction. The authors range from the famous, such as Colette and Borges, to today's voices, like Roxane Gay and Bruce Holland Rogers. A writer and longtime creative writing teacher, Galef also shows how flash fiction skills translate to other types of writing. Brevity is an indispensable resource for anyone working in this increasingly popular form. For more information, see davidgalef.com/brevity.


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In Brevity, David Galef provides a guide to writing flash fiction, from tips on technique to samples by canonical and contemporary authors to provocative prompts that inspire powerful stories in a little space. Galef traces the genre back to its varied origins, from the short-short to nanofiction, with examples that include vignettes, prose poems, character sketches, fable In Brevity, David Galef provides a guide to writing flash fiction, from tips on technique to samples by canonical and contemporary authors to provocative prompts that inspire powerful stories in a little space. Galef traces the genre back to its varied origins, from the short-short to nanofiction, with examples that include vignettes, prose poems, character sketches, fables, lists, twist stories, surrealism, and metafiction. The authors range from the famous, such as Colette and Borges, to today's voices, like Roxane Gay and Bruce Holland Rogers. A writer and longtime creative writing teacher, Galef also shows how flash fiction skills translate to other types of writing. Brevity is an indispensable resource for anyone working in this increasingly popular form. For more information, see davidgalef.com/brevity.

54 review for Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Hall

    This is a helpful little guide to writing short fiction. I probably would have gotten more out of it if I had done the writing prompts it includes, but I liked all the examples of the different types of pieces.

  2. 5 out of 5

    James

    This is one for my fellow writers. Brevity is a guide on writing short-form fiction, flash fiction really. It’s not really a form I’m familiar with, as an aspiring writer I’m much more focused on writing novel length work. That said, we all need to edit, to be concise in our wordsmithery. In that vein, the same techniques that can be used for flash fiction can be utilised in writing longer, narrative fiction, namely brevity, hence the title. David Galef’s book dedicates a chapter to various forms This is one for my fellow writers. Brevity is a guide on writing short-form fiction, flash fiction really. It’s not really a form I’m familiar with, as an aspiring writer I’m much more focused on writing novel length work. That said, we all need to edit, to be concise in our wordsmithery. In that vein, the same techniques that can be used for flash fiction can be utilised in writing longer, narrative fiction, namely brevity, hence the title. David Galef’s book dedicates a chapter to various forms of short/flash fiction, from vignettes and anecdotes to soliloquies. Then there’s the stuff aimed more for people like myself, writers of longer form fiction. So there’s a chapter on character sketches, another on settings, there’s even a chapter on surrealism. As with many books of this ilk - e.g. writing guides - there are examples and exercise at the end of each chapter to help you refine the art. All in all this is a good book which will help writers of all striped to either produce short/flash fiction or edit their work more effectively. I recommend this book heartily, oh and if you’re wondering why this review is so short, I’m practicing!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    This is a useful guide, with explanations, exercises and examples from literature (especially global literature and the early 20th century, when "sketches" were very popular) of thousand word writing. This is a great way to sharpen your observational skills, practice writing and spark creative thinking about longer projects (as well as write small, polished gems). This is a useful guide, with explanations, exercises and examples from literature (especially global literature and the early 20th century, when "sketches" were very popular) of thousand word writing. This is a great way to sharpen your observational skills, practice writing and spark creative thinking about longer projects (as well as write small, polished gems).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Suz Jay

    BREVITY focuses on the craft of writing flash fiction. Each chapter introduces a flash fiction concept (e.g. revision, twists) or style (e.g. vignettes, diary entries, fables, lists, prose poems) and includes exercises, examples, and discussion. The book was problematic for me, because the examples dominated the page count and I found the sections discussing the styles and concepts to be too brief. I did, however, like how the word count of each of the examples was specified. Unfortunately, most BREVITY focuses on the craft of writing flash fiction. Each chapter introduces a flash fiction concept (e.g. revision, twists) or style (e.g. vignettes, diary entries, fables, lists, prose poems) and includes exercises, examples, and discussion. The book was problematic for me, because the examples dominated the page count and I found the sections discussing the styles and concepts to be too brief. I did, however, like how the word count of each of the examples was specified. Unfortunately, most of the styles weren’t of interest to me. I also bristled over the genre section, where the author called genre fiction formulaic and stated: “These are stories with fixed plots, stock characters, and even standard lines.” The book does contain some good tips for flash fiction writers and would be a good tool for someone looking to experiment with different styles.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leslie McKee

    3.5 stars I’m new to flash fiction, and I found this book to be interesting and useful. There are numerous explanations, examples, and exercises, making it helpful to learn how to navigate this popular form of writing. Galef’s book is divided into subjects/sections, which includes: vignettes, character sketches, fables, prose poems, dialogue/rants/riffs/themes, setting, twists, and vanishing point, among others. A bibliography of books, publishers, websites, and zines is also included. The chapter 3.5 stars I’m new to flash fiction, and I found this book to be interesting and useful. There are numerous explanations, examples, and exercises, making it helpful to learn how to navigate this popular form of writing. Galef’s book is divided into subjects/sections, which includes: vignettes, character sketches, fables, prose poems, dialogue/rants/riffs/themes, setting, twists, and vanishing point, among others. A bibliography of books, publishers, websites, and zines is also included. The chapters include flash fiction examples to illustrate each point, as well as exercises for the user to try. I haven’t tried many yet, but I look forward to doing so.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tim Cox

    Yo. This book is fire. I actually did some of the homework. That never happens. Then I read one piece about what I would do with one minute left until the end of the work. She cried. Then she left me. This is a piece of flash fiction.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gail Oare

    Slim "how to" primer on how to chisel short fiction. Applies to writing in general. Sort of an "elements of style" book. Lots of excellent examples. Slim "how to" primer on how to chisel short fiction. Applies to writing in general. Sort of an "elements of style" book. Lots of excellent examples.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    This is a handy writers' reference to flash fiction, complete with examples and writing exercises. This is a handy writers' reference to flash fiction, complete with examples and writing exercises.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jazz

    A must read for aspiring flash fiction writers!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Saretta

    3.5/5 Recensione Review La produzione scritta può prendere tante forme: il romanzo, la novella, il racconto, fino ad arrivare alla flash fiction, ovvero un breve testo che racchiude una storia. Il potere della sintesi è il concetto che regna nel libro, come dimostra anche l'intelligente scelta nella copertina: ci sono tanti modi per dire la stessa cosa, alcuni più concisi di altri. Brevity è un testo che vuole orientare il potenziale scrittore di fash fiction; ogni capitolo è dedicato a un genere s 3.5/5 Recensione Review La produzione scritta può prendere tante forme: il romanzo, la novella, il racconto, fino ad arrivare alla flash fiction, ovvero un breve testo che racchiude una storia. Il potere della sintesi è il concetto che regna nel libro, come dimostra anche l'intelligente scelta nella copertina: ci sono tanti modi per dire la stessa cosa, alcuni più concisi di altri. Brevity è un testo che vuole orientare il potenziale scrittore di fash fiction; ogni capitolo è dedicato a un genere specifico (poesie, diario, lettera, liste, ...) e fornisce consigli utili su come creare atmosfera e personaggi in poche righe - o parole. I capitoli sono strutturati con una parte di spiegazione iniziale, seguita da esercizi e da un paio di letture esemplificative. Nel complesso è un testo interessante, utile per chi vuole scrivere storie brevi, ma che fornisce anche una panoramica della flash fiction in generale. Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per scrivere questa recensione.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I liked that Galef gave an overview with tips and examples of so many different types of flash fiction, which makes the book worthwhile. However, the exercises were not as effective as I hoped. They often ask you to switch the POV of the example. Most weren't great jumping off points for me. He had other good editing tips, but I've seen them in other craft books. XII: "Cut the opening and get right to the point. Focus on the one telling detail, not a full description. Don't 'conclude,' but instead I liked that Galef gave an overview with tips and examples of so many different types of flash fiction, which makes the book worthwhile. However, the exercises were not as effective as I hoped. They often ask you to switch the POV of the example. Most weren't great jumping off points for me. He had other good editing tips, but I've seen them in other craft books. XII: "Cut the opening and get right to the point. Focus on the one telling detail, not a full description. Don't 'conclude,' but instead end with an action or image." Brief chapter on cutting out excess Different types of flash fiction covered: Vignettes: Slice of life Character sketches Letters (email or texts) Diary entries Lists Fables Anecdotes Prose poems Soliloquies, rants, riffs, and themes Perfect miniatures Surrealism What if? Genre Setting Twists Two viewpoints Mass compression Meta fiction Nanofiction Hypertext At the end, he also includes a list of some flash lit zines.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Armel Dagorn

    Brevity is an interesting little handbook on the writing of flash fiction. Approaching the subject by sections (vignettes, prose poems, fables...), Galef gives the reader an idea of the characteristics of each sub-genre, and what one can attempt through them. One great aspect of the book was that all the recommended reading is actually included: each section contains a couple of flash pieces to illustrate its point, from classic authors to more contemporary ones. I must say I didn't do the exerc Brevity is an interesting little handbook on the writing of flash fiction. Approaching the subject by sections (vignettes, prose poems, fables...), Galef gives the reader an idea of the characteristics of each sub-genre, and what one can attempt through them. One great aspect of the book was that all the recommended reading is actually included: each section contains a couple of flash pieces to illustrate its point, from classic authors to more contemporary ones. I must say I didn't do the exercises proposed in each section, as such don't usually interest me, but they would no doubt be a boon to anyone wanting to sharpen their very-short fiction writing skills.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    As David Galef notes, flash fiction is really a new title for an old form. Fables and epistles are ancient forms of writing short, short stories. Yet Galef encourages writers to push the envelope on all forms of flash fiction. In doing so, Galef's creative writing exercises provide any writer with dozens of writing prompts to stretch your imagination. The last chapter, "The Future," extends Galef's thesis: give us the same stories, only different to bring the short, short story genre into the 21 As David Galef notes, flash fiction is really a new title for an old form. Fables and epistles are ancient forms of writing short, short stories. Yet Galef encourages writers to push the envelope on all forms of flash fiction. In doing so, Galef's creative writing exercises provide any writer with dozens of writing prompts to stretch your imagination. The last chapter, "The Future," extends Galef's thesis: give us the same stories, only different to bring the short, short story genre into the 21st century. Add hypertext. Add pictures. Add Mp3 sound effects. Get creative, in 1,500 words or less.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gxianfranko

    Book on display. Read and thought. Exercises done. Vast and various. Intelligent, intense, imperdible. Thank You, David!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Linda Ruggeri

  16. 5 out of 5

    Aris Falegos

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lori

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Wemyss

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  22. 5 out of 5

    James Farner

  23. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Skylar

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Brooks

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christina Bertrand

  29. 4 out of 5

    J.Istsfor Manity

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marc

  31. 5 out of 5

    Don Pedicini Jr.

  32. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Rinderknecht

  33. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  34. 4 out of 5

    Harikrishnan Tulsidas

  35. 4 out of 5

    Fra' Emme

  36. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

  37. 5 out of 5

    Simeon Berry

  38. 4 out of 5

    Berny

  39. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  40. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

  41. 4 out of 5

    Carly

  42. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  43. 4 out of 5

    Mary Camarillo

  44. 5 out of 5

    Vitor

  45. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  46. 5 out of 5

    Mark Wightman

  47. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  48. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

  49. 5 out of 5

    Will Brown

  50. 4 out of 5

    Billy

  51. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  52. 4 out of 5

    Lance

  53. 5 out of 5

    Meryl

  54. 4 out of 5

    Sus

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