55 words group is great. I decided to write this intro in 55 words. Then I decided to make it into a palindrome. What the hell, I said self, live some. Some live, self said I, hell the what. Palindrome a into it make to decided I then. Words 55 in intro this write to decided I. Great is group 55 words.

Including the 55 that’s actually 62 words. 55 words is no simple writing exercise, it’s a call, how much can you say in 55 words? How much does one word mean to you?

Q (Nicolle Elizabeth): Hi Judith! You’ve founded a 55 word short stories group here at Fictionaut. Please tell us about the group, how it’s going, and why it was started.

A (Judith Lawrence): Hi Nicolle,

Thanks for the interview. Great questions!

The group is expanding daily to my delight. I have been playing with the 55 word story form for some time now. The form originated with Steve Moss in 1987. He was the founder of New Times, an independent newspaper in San Luis Obispo, California, and ran a short story contest of 55 words. He went on to publish a couple books of 55-word stories. Fictionaut seems to be a perfect place to bring this form, and have fun with it.

Everyone has a different take on the matter, divorces have occurred from this whamo of a question: What is your opinion regarding the controversial line between Flash Fiction and Prose Poetry?

The argument between prose and flash fiction will likely continue long after we’re gone, but more and more I see a marked difference between prose and flash fiction. Prose may dazzle with poetic metaphor, imagery, rhyme, rhythm, references, and tell a story that may start in the middle and end at the beginning, whereas flash fiction tells a story, beginning, middle, and ending, and does not necessarily rely on poetic imagery.

Do you think technology such as Twitter, and other websites which ask writers to communicate with concise economy are contributing to the rise of Flash gaining the mainstream popularity it had in the 1980s? Flash for life, holla. (I personally dislike Twitter but there are journals popping up all over the place whose major guidelines are restrictions on character length in submission, for example, some of which are doing interesting things, I think, maybe I don’t know everyone’s torn. Argue with me here, please.)

I don’t believe “Twitter” is contributing, nor is it a natural vehicle for good Flash Fiction writers, or for that fact most writers, as it is like throwing a gem into the ocean, and expecting anyone to find it. Although, “Twitter” works well for chatterboxes, and reminds me of the cafĂ© I went to for breakfast this morning, so much din, and nothing heard. :-)

Please tell us about you, your work, and your projects here. (Anything else you’d like to mention which I may have skipped over.) What is your favorite Stevie Nicks quote?

About me? I spent most of my life waiting to do what I love, (not complaining, but like many other creative people, marrying, working, raising children was a priority for many years. Now it’s my time…to paint, to write, edit and publish River Poets Journal, publish Lilly Press books, and run a writer’s group. I guess you could say I’m a late bloomer. Even now, I get so caught up in my editing/publishing work; that I forget to throw some of my own work out there. It is such a pleasure to receive comments on my work, in the process collect some 55 word stories from the group for an anthology, and read for pleasure alone the works of so many other great writers dotting your landscape.

I had not been aware of the popularity of Stevie Nicks quotes so went on a search. My favorite so far (as I can certainly relate to it), is: “He and I were about as compatible as a rat and a boa constrictor.” -Stevie Nicks

Nicolle Elizabeth checks in with Fictionaut Groups every Friday.

  1. Randal Houle

    I really appreciate you bringing this form to Fictionaut. I tried my hand at one today, and will likely play with the form long enough to say I’m practicing.

    Regarding twitter posts, I agree with you that it is so difficult to “hear” anything of note. There is an eZine, however, called Short, Fast and Deadly. It requires stories of no more than 140 characters (the length of a twitter post). I think 55 words is plenty short, so thanks.

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