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Thursday’s Work-in-Progress: Musings on and Resources for Micro-Essays

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have caught my delighted announcement last Saturday about a just-accepted essay. In fact, last week was pretty remarkable, because I received two essay acceptances. But the Saturday acceptance was notable for a couple of reasons.

First, that acceptance came after the same piece (or some iterations of it) had been rejected several times. Nowhere near as many rejections as some of my short stories have suffered on their way to publication–but still, finding this piece a home was by no means a super-smooth (or super-swift) process. By the time this essay is published, nearly one year will have elapsed since I began sending it out.

Second, the accepted piece exemplifies something that seems increasingly integral to my writing practice: the micro-essay (also known as flash nonfiction). I have two other new micro-essays circulating right now (yes, one of them developed from the poetry exercise I mentioned not long ago). If you add up the word counts of the three pieces–the one that was just accepted and the two newer ones–you don’t even reach 1500 words.

I’m only beginning to understand how and why this focus is developing for me. Which is why I was thrilled to discover “Focusing on Flash Nonfiction: An Interview with Dinty W. Moore” on the River Teeth blog this week. Among Moore’s many hats is the editorship of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction.

In addition to sharing his expert take on crafting flash nonfiction, Moore recommends some journals that feature this type of writing. Which reminded me of two other places where one may find potential homes for micro-essays: Pamelyn Casto’s newsletter and The Review Review‘s flash fiction resource list (also useful for flash nonfiction).

I suspect that I’ll be continuing to look for nice homes for flash nonfiction (not to mention additional places to read good examples of it), so if you have other suggestions–either for resource lists or specific venues–please share! Maybe we can come up with the “Ultimate List of Magazines & Journals That Publish Flash Nonfiction & Micro-Essays.”

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8 Responses »

  1. Hi Erika,

    Thank you for such a candid account of your process. I think when I see writers published I just assume that the piece was originally submitted as it is published. Yes yes… I am a novice. Actually, I don’t think I even qualify as a novice. Whatever comes before that… that’s what I am. Anyway, thank you for your openness about your process. It emboldens me. And a HUGE congratulations on your recent successes. I am sure many more are coming your way… especially with your persistence.

  2. I’ve had essays published hither and yon, with some success and some “Well, this is really great, and it made the last round of selection, but … ” Those frustrate the most, I think.

    I don’t mind rejection. I mind the “delayed anticipation.” I think that means the time between the submission and the rejection seems the time I get my hopes floating the most. When I write stuff, I think, ‘Ah, this ain’t much good … ‘ but by the time I send it off, I’ve convinced myself it is acceptable.

    I’m trying to “think” flash of late, without much inspiration. I do think it is a distillation of truth, much like a good song lyric can write a novel in the listener’s mind.

    Good luck with your work.

    • Gary, I know exactly what you mean about that slowly growing sense that what you’re sending out may actually be good! ButI do prefer hearing that a piece “nearly made it” to a bland, boilerplate rejection. And I nearly always resubmit to those editors/publications. Good luck w/your work, too!

  3. Erika,

    I would be glad to collaborate on your “Ultimate List of Magazines & Journals That Publish Flash Nonfiction & Micro-Essays.” Would you be interested in a guest post on the same?

    I have let blogging with The Writers Center’s First Personal Plural slip since Kyle Semmels left. I had a set of blogs on Micro/Flash Nonfiction planned there and could easily reactivate on that.

    Kelley Coyner

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