Not the place to learn about the short story genre itself but a good place to learn how to write some really, really short...



A how-to guide to writing flash fiction.

Dufresne (MFA/Florida International Univ.; I Don’t Like Where This Is Going, 2016, etc.) has written many novels and stories and a number of books about writing. Here, he focuses on writing a specific kind of fiction: flash fiction, aka micro, mini, short-short, pocket-size, etc. The author describes it as “narrative (or it’s not) that is distilled and refined, concentrated, layered, coherent, textured, stimulating, and resonant, and it may prove to be the ideal form of fiction for…an age of shrinking attention spans and busy and distracted lives.” His ambitious goal is to demystify the writing process and discuss the craft of storytelling. He provides many samples of flash fiction, including graphic ones, by a wide array of writers (these make up most of the book), with some sharp critical analysis, prompts, and exercises along the way, all in a little over 200 pages. Scattered throughout are epigraphs, also short—“style is the difference between a circle and the way you draw it” (Pablo Picasso)—to inspire would-be word flashers and MFA students looking to get in on the mini-bandwagon. Dufresne provides minilectures on myths, stories in general, short stories—what William Trevor described as “an explosion of truth”—and very short stories, which aren’t new (Dufresne references Borges’ Ficciones and Kafka’s Parables and Paradoxes). The author is not afraid to cite those who are prescriptive in their definitions—e.g., in The Fiction Dictionary, Laurie Henry writes that a short-short is a “complete story of 1,500 words max and around 250 words minimum.” Some of the other cited authors include Steve Almond, Denise Duhamel, Lee Martin, and Debra Monroe.

Not the place to learn about the short story genre itself but a good place to learn how to write some really, really short ones.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-393-35235-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?



Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?