Blending Flash Fiction & Art
Interview with Autumn Bettinger
The very first book I remember choosing was 'Catwings'.
I just finished the 'Daevabad Trilogy' by S. A. Chakraborty
As mentioned before, Ursula K Le Guin was a huge influence
N. K. Jemisin. That beautiful, intelligent, incredible unicorn of
I have a writing craft book obsession.
I think most writers I know do. We just love books on the craft. We can't help ourselves. Is there any one of us who hasn't read 'On Writing' or 'Bird by Bird'? I doubt it. My recommendation however is 'Big Magic' by Elizabeth Gilbert, and if you can swing it, the audiobook version. Elizabeth reads it and I could just listen to that woman talk for hours. Her beautiful, poetic, innocent take on the creative process is so inspiring. It's like curling up with a weighted blanket. I listen to it often when I need to feel the warm fuzzies about creative living and pursuits.
Is there a writer who has influenced your current writing style?
Honestly, it's probably more than a few. A little bit of Mary Oliver here, some Cortazar over there, a sprinkle of Palahniuk, maybe a dash of Anne McCaffrey. I had a lot of influencers on my reading and by extension my writing, so I think it comes out as a mish mash of style.
Why write flash fiction?
Well, I don't have a ton of time. Taking care of two little kids all day is incredibly demanding, and when I get them to bed I'm exhausted. I enjoy flash because I can start writing and have either a finished first draft or the bulk of one after one sitting. These bite-sized chunks are just an easier route for me, and I like the challenge, once I start editing, of seeing how much I can keep in and still keep it under a certain word count. I think it makes me a better writer when I'm forced to create with an economy of words since I tend to write a bit flowery. That being said, I'm also just not very good at long form. I am a pantser by nature, and I find that flash fits nicely into my world of sitting down, starting to type, and seeing what happens.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting to send their work out to journals?
Send your stuff out to lots of places, and expect to get lots of rejections. Just because one journal doesn't bite, another one might. Editors are subjective and that's ok. Of course they are! That's the nature of our craft! Some people will love it, some people won't. It's alright, that's what we signed up for. I had a piece rejected from four different journals and the fifth one short listed it for an international flash fiction prize. That stuff happens all the time. Believe in yourself and your work and you will get published. I promise.
Yes. You are never too old to write. You are also not required to have an MFA to write something good. I may never write a novel or even a short story, I'm almost thirty-nine, and I certainly don't have an MFA. But I write because it's what I'm meant to do. I love it. I like to think maybe I'm even a little good at it. So please don't let trivial things like age and academia get in your way. Just write. Write a lot. Write whatever you want. Then send it out, see what happens, and start writing something else.
Autumn is a full-time mother of two in Portland, Oregon.
Blending Flash Fiction & Art