This month's Blog That Works is Writing Life hosted by author, teacher and speaker, Lisa Rivero. I first became familiar with Lisa when she began following my blog and making regular comments here on TLCG so I of course had to check out her blog...and I'm so glad I did! Writing Life is one of the few blogs I subscribe to and always enjoy. Lisa's thoughtful posts on the creative life always capture my full attention and leave me with something to think about for the rest of the day, or more.
What I find especially intriguing are her "Flash Narratives" or micro short stories about her great-aunt Hattie, who lived on the Great Plains and kept a diary of her experiences from 1920-1957. Lisa is in the middle of crafting a book around Hattie's pioneer-like life and uses Flash Narrative as a tool to not only capture her audience but inspire her writing in the larger work.
I had a chance to speak with Lisa about her bog and the larger piece. Here's what she had to say:
TLC: We spoke a bit about how sharing Hattie's story online has affected your storytelling on the page. Could you share a bit more about that?
LR: Something I've learned through my teaching of creative thinking is that creativity often needs boundaries in order to thrive. Before I began writing the flash narratives on my blog, I sometimes felt overwhelmed by Hattie's life and story. She wrote daily entries from January 1, 1920 through the first months of 1957--nearly seventy volumes. Not only did she change a lot in that time, but the world around her changed as well. Another question I had was whether Hattie's life would be interesting to anyone outside of my family.
By giving myself a word limit and writing about specific incidents or experiences, I've been able to explore different aspects of the diaries without having to commit to a voice or tense or perspective. I've found that, week by week, I'm becoming a better storyteller. I tend to get too wrapped up in the nuances of language when I write, but writing flash pieces forces me to tell a story succinctly, without unnecessary embellishment.
Also, I've greatly enjoyed getting feedback from other readers! Knowing what parts of the stories are meaningful (and which are not) is invaluable as I move forward. We are living in a time when these handwritten records of past lives are more precious than ever.
TLC: Could you tell us a bit about what led you to this process of flash narrative?
LR: My friend and fellow Wisconsin writer Christi Craig had been posting weekly flash fiction pieces on her blog (http://writingunderpressure.
TLC: As more and more writers feel the pressure to join the great online community to blog, most don't know where to start. The most successful bloggers have compelling content, attractive looking blogs, bells and whistles, etc. . . . but how to get there? By planning and always keeping your content fresh and original. For those writers who would like to blog but don't want to share their personal opinions/thoughts, etc., flash narrative might be a great place to start. It's certainly an effective way to capture an audience without spending months of time submitting to literary journals (which you should also do, don't get me wrong), not to mention hone your craft.
Thanks to Lisa Rivero for sharing her blog with us today. I encourage you to check it out. I'm totally hooked.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
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