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Guest post: Flash Memoir: Writing Prompts to Get You Flashing by Jane Hertenstein

Today’s guest blog post, on the topic of the delightful short short, is brought to you by Jane Hertenstein.

Flash Memoir: Writing Prompts to Get You Flashing

My writing was languishing. After a number of brilliant early successes, I suddenly found myself remaindered. Hot dogs seemed to have a longer shelf life than the novel I had just slaved over for five years. I couldn’t face another long slog. Let alone the money—the deal I got was negligible. Smaller than the poo I scooped up on the sidewalk after the dog.

Back to the beginning.

I’d sit in front of the keyboard and daydream, or play Solitaire, my latest obsession. I needed some positive reinforcement and fast. But what did I know outside of my own existence. With that, I hit upon the idea of memoir, or at least using autobiographical details to enhance my fiction. I was also at the same time experimenting with flash.

I quickly typed up a flash inspired simply by a friend who likes to keep her cell phone handy, as in tucked inside her bra. My brain flashed back to my grandmother. Thus, I wrote “Granny’s Pockets.” After lunch I came back and edited it down to 100 words and submitted it to Friday Flash Fiction, (http://www.fridayflashfiction.com/100-word-stories/grannys-pockets-by-jane-hertenstein) where it was accepted and posted by the end of the afternoon.

Well, that was instant gratification!

At my blog Memoirous (http://memoirouswrite.blogspot.com), which I use as a platform to publicize my I started a column called Hot Flash, hoping to spark memories with my readers/writers. After compiling the best of these, I am launching an eBook, Flash Memoir: Writing Prompts to Get You Flashing (available shamelessly EVERYWHERE!).

Sometimes all it takes is a nudge to get the engine of memory to turn over. Once started memories, whether invited or not, continue to roll over us. What one needs to do is create a habit of acting upon these flashes by quickly jotting them down before they disappear. Using a process I call Write Right Now, I encourage readers to do just this: build a portfolio of small flash memories that will eventually be expanded upon or become the foundation for a scene. Memories are the building blocks to most everything we write.

For some of us sitting down to transcribe or pen a memoir can be an overwhelming task. I recommend approaching it in bite-size pieces or rather applying flash. By freeze framing a moment, a memory, like a camera snapshot, and dwelling there you are creating the foundation for longer memoir, a jumping off place to expand upon later. (see my other eBook, Freeze Frame: How to Write Flash Memoir)

The nice thing about flash is that it can be unresolved. There often isn’t enough space/word count to fully explore the memory. And, like so many of our memories, there is an undercurrent of lose threads, fuzzy blurred beginnings and endings with little or no significance. They simply are.

So set yourself the task to sit down and set down these memories. Perhaps, begin with a prompts from my book, Flash Memoir: Writing Prompts to Get You Flashing.

Taste is a huge trigger—recall Proust in In Search of Lost Time or also known as Remembrance of Things Past where he writes about involuntary memory instigated by a simple cookie. Dunking a tea biscuit can easily lead one on a journey into the past. Some call this nostalgia or déjà vu.

Write Right Now: Think about some unforgettable taste that still lingers in your mouth. I once wrote about my mother’s fruitcake, archival and unforgettable, also useful as a door stopper. Write right now.

Thank you, Jane. That was fascinating.

Jane Hertenstein’s current obsession is flash. She is the author of over 40 published stories, a combination of fiction, creative non-fiction, and blurred genre both micro and macro. Her latest book Freeze Frame: How to Write Flash Memoir is available through Amazon. Jane is a 2-time recipient of a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. She can be found blogging about Flash Memoir at http://memoirouswrite.blogspot.com.

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Related articles:

and from this blog, my guests who have written on this topic are… Alberta Ross, Helen M Hunt, Morgen Bailey, Roger Hurn, Sarah Grace Logan, and Warren Bull.

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. Guidelines on guest-blogs. There are other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

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