Publishing intern by day…
Black Panther by night!
Who would ever suspect pitiful milquetoast Clay, always hiding under chairs and slinking about the office, afraid of water and pug dogs?
But when the sun went down and a tsunami of sin struck Gotham City…
No one could stop the Black Panther.
So he’d play along until they fired him.
Pretend to enjoy traipsing on tablets and cluttering keyboards.
Even reading queries, like the one he’d napped on today.
No O’Henry, that author, but still…
The Secret Life of Walter Kitty had distinct possibilities.
I thought it would be fun to hear more from Claire about how she writes her flash fiction.
1. When do you start thinking about your entry? Do you start with writing?
I usually start noodling as soon as I read the post and the prompt words. Often a story idea will pop into my head immediately and I’ll open a Word document and do an idea dump in the form of any sentences that occur to me, stream-of-consciousness style.
2. How many drafts did you write?
For this latest one, I wrote 3 drafts. I’m embarrassed to say that in my 1st draft, I literally forgot to use ANY of the prompt words. That has never happened before! But I was rushing because I was supposed to be packing and driving to the SCBWI conference! I wrote the final draft late Saturday after our evening keynote address (Vanessa Brantley-Newton!!) and socializing.
I usually try to do at least 3-4 drafts.
3. Do you read the other entries before you post?
No. I don’t like to do that as a general rule. I’m so afraid I’ll subconsciously pick up on someone else’s entry, or be intimidated by the awesomeness of the entries before me. Intimidation does bad things to my creativity.
4. How long have you been entering the flash fiction contests here on the blog?
I learned about your blog and QueryShark at my first-ever writing conference (at the Book Passage bookstore in Corte Madera, CA) Jan 23-24, 2016.
My first FF entry on your blog was February 20, 2016 (results posted Feb 22, 2016) - you gave me a mention :-0
I’m glad I was totally clueless about how amazing all the Reiders are because if I had known, I would never have been brave enough to enter. I didn’t even realize that people commented on the entries or your blog posts, or that the sane ones lurk for a while before plucking up the courage to comment.
Based on my shoddy files, I think I’ve entered about 34 of your contests. Is that possible?
5. What, if anything, have you learned by writing flash fiction?
I have learned so much about:
- being concise
- creating a complete story with the bare minimum
- word play
- unusual structure/form
- and EMOTION and HEART (at which my fellow Reiders excel). This is something I struggle with.
All of this has been incredibly helpful in learning to craft picture books.
6. What kind of book are you working on?
Primarily picture book manuscripts. Chapter books and middle grade are on the horizon.
7. What are you currently reading?
Do you have a year? Kidding!
- Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi) for my adult book club.
- The Apothecary (Maile Meloy), MG
- The Magic Words (Cheryl Klein) and Writing Magic (Gail Carson Levine) - craft books
- and stacks and stacks of picture books. Most of the current ones are part of the reading list for this year’s ReFoReMo, happening now. **
** ReFoReMo is Reading For Research Month,
a challenge designed to help authors & illustrators
learn the craft of creating picture books through the study of mentor texts.
The challenge runs each year in March.