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Announcing start-up of a Flash Fiction Peer Review Forum

  1. cam8510 profile image94
    cam8510posted 2 years ago

    I have communicated with some flash fiction writers and others interested in writing ff, about beginning a forum for sharing and critiquing our ff stories prior to publishing on HubPages. 

    My rationale for promoting this idea are threefold.  Once the group is formed, rationale for it's existence can be adopted by the group. 

    1.  To raise awareness about flash fiction among hubbers and visitors to HubPages.

    2.  To direct those new to flash fiction who are interested in writing in this form, toward helpful   
         resources that already exist.

    3.  To raise the quality of flash fiction stories published on HubPages.  (I'm not saying the quality is low
          but that we can always do better).

    I would like to begin a discussion here about the details of forming this group.  Here are some topics for us to discuss now so that when we launch the forum, it can take off smoothly.  Feel free to bring up anything you want to discuss in relation to a Flash Fiction Peer Review Forum.

    1.  What will be the primary purpose of the group? 

    2.  Will there be secondary purposes?

    3.  Where will we set up a site for posting stories and for members' comments on those stories?  I have a facebook page set up for this, but I'm not sure it will work.  If anyone has any ideas, let me know.  We need a place to post stories and a way to post comments.  HubPages is not set up to provide resources for this type of endeavor.

    4.  Resources for those who would like to know more about writing flash fiction.  In my mind, it won't be a matter of teaching anyone how to write flash fiction, but of directing people to resources and then being available to critique their stories.

    5.  code of conduct while interacting in the forum.

    I will keep notes of what is shared here so that we can make the actual forum a continuation of what is done and shared here..

    1. DzyMsLizzy profile image91
      DzyMsLizzyposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I don't know anything about Flash Fiction--in fact, I recently posted a forum query asking what on earth it was.
      However, for your story-sharing, you might look into Google docs--where you can set it up to allow sharing of given documents that are only visible to those invited; i.e., members of your group.  It would not be seen by the public or appear on any Google searches.  A friend and I have used this for a book on which we are collaborating.

      1. 0
        kylesandersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        I'm excited. I agree that google docs is a good one. I don't have a facebook, and have no intention of getting one in the future; this would not be a good source for me in particular (probably no one else, though).

    2. Nadine May profile image91
      Nadine Mayposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      The term "short short story" was the most common term until about 2000, when it was overtaken by "flash fiction. I've always admired writers that could write a short story with a sudden twist at the end. I'm  more a novel writer with a min of 70.000 words, but I would love to take part in the forum if only to learn how I can improve my own writing.

  2. Minnetonka Twin profile image81
    Minnetonka Twinposted 2 years ago

    I am very interested in this Cam- we chatted about this a couple weeks ago. I too am not on face book. Anyhoo, great starting point on the things to consider.

    Regarding Nadine's comment: I think flash fiction is a little shorter than short stories. If I am correct, their 1000 words or less and usually have a good twist at the end.

    I hope their will be others interested in this community.

  3. Mark Lees profile image86
    Mark Leesposted 2 years ago

    For me I think a critique circle type affair is the best way to do this- the big problem with that is the best critique circles can get pretty rough and we are all very precious about our words.

    The last thing I would like to see is a backslapping exercise. If somebody has work which we think has flaws we should be feel free to tell them in a constructive way (not abusive or mean) and hope that they want to learn.

    My own experience with online writing groups is that most people join just to be told they are great and are not keen on constructive feedback.

  4. cam8510 profile image94
    cam8510posted 2 years ago

    DzyMsLizzy, Mark Lees, Nadine May, kylesanderson, Minnetonka Twin, I am so happy that each of you has responded to this forum.  No doubt others will join as we work out the details.  Several things have come up in your comments, so lets take a look at them first.  I'll only deal with things pertinent to our goal here. 

    --Facebook or no Facebook, that is the question.  There is no need to use FB if there are some who would rather not.  That is fine.  There has been one suggestion to use google docs.  Isn't that called "Drive" now?  I'll look into that, but those who suggested it should check it out as well.  We will need details  about how it will work.   Other suggestions are welcome.

    --What is Flash Fiction.  We will deal with this as soon as we get some of the immediate concerns dealt with.  In the meantime, I am suggesting you read this short bit of instruction by an experienced Flash Fiction writer named David Gaffney.  http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/m … sh-fiction

    This will at least get us all off on the same foot.  Read more as you find information.  But keep in mind that flash fiction is not a highly defined style of fiction.  It means slightly different things to different people.  So try not to be too demanding that others buy into your particular definition of FF. 

    --Concern over this becoming a back patting session on one hand, or overly critical on the other.  This is a great subject to bring up.  Lets all recognize that there will be a pull both ways.  Mark has been involved in an online group like this and so have I. 

    HubPages is a place where you will get a pat on the back and a "great job" pretty much every time you publish a hub.  It's just the nature of the place and I love it that way.  But I need something more than that at times.  Yes, when we get this rolling, we should feel free to say exactly what we think about someone's story that they have presented.  When I submit a story to the group, I fully expect, demand, that the story be taken apart piece by piece.  As each of us learns more about flash fiction, we will become more confident in our thoughts on the writings of others.  But we need to use common sense, kindness, and tact.  Got that?  It's a must.  Otherwise feelings are hurt needlessly.  So, lets boil this important point down to a couple of statements.

    1.  If you bring a story to this group and ask for their input, then put on your rhino skin and take it like a man, or a lady.  You will be glad you did.

    2.  If someone submits a story and asks for the group's comments, that is not a license to be needlessly brutal.  There may be a time for bluntness.  I've seen it.  A person may be very insistent that their story works.  Someone has to tell them that in its present form it doesn't work.  I just posted a FF story yesterday and it should not have gone up.  I needed someone to tell me that the red flags I was seeing were going up for a reason. That bluntness might have saved me some embarrassment and a dent in my reputation as a FF writer.

    Ok, what have I missed?  Point it out and we will deal with it.  For now, the main issue is finding a place to do what we want to do.  I will check out Google Docs/Drive.  Kyle, could you look into it too and we can compare notes. 

    My email address is chrs.mlls@gmail.com.  feel free to use it anytime.  Keep an eye on this forum so that you don't miss anything.  Check it daily at least.  Until next time, 


    1. cam8510 profile image94
      cam8510posted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I would like to invite others who are interested in flash fiction to participate in this discussion and take part in this group.   Read my initial post for more information.


  5. Nadine May profile image91
    Nadine Mayposted 2 years ago

    Could we not just post a short story on hubs and into your discussions we post just the link to the story page. I would not like to go to all the trouble posting a short story for debate that I then can't post as a hub since it might be flagged as being copied. Just and idea. We might even comment on the short story in the hub with a link to the discussion page, if they would allow that.  Just a suggestion.

    1. Nadine May profile image91
      Nadine Mayposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Yes Facebook can work as well, with links to the short story in question

    2. Mark Lees profile image86
      Mark Leesposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      If we use a private google.docs account it should not be a problem because google bots can't search it (therefore it doesn't count as being published).

      1. cam8510 profile image94
        cam8510posted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Mark, I agree that google docs is so far the best solution.  I thought about a blogger site, but then the google bots would find that.  There are ways to set up forums that block the google search.  The have to be password protected.  If we use google docs, it could get a little messy at times if two people want to comment.  Both cursors will be running around and typing will be going on simultaneously.  At least that's the way google docs has worked for me.  I'm happy to go that way if everyone is aware of the drawbacks.  Thanks Mark and Nadine for continuing the discussion.

        Back to the blogger idea.  Those do have passwords.  I will try to find out if google searches can be blocked from them. 


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          kylesandersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          As I've stated before, I'd really like to stay away from Facebook if at all possible. Also, there's a program called OpenGoo that is similar to google docs, but is a little more user friendly and we wouldn't have the problem of multiple people trying to comment (or so it claims). Just throwing stuff out there.

          1. cam8510 profile image94
            cam8510posted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Kyle, lets look at OpenGoo then.  We've got some things on the table now.  Blogger, Google Docs and OpenGoo.  Keep in touch.

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              kylesandersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Okay, I have finals this week so it may be a few days, but I'll get on it ASAP.

              EDIT: So, I search for a download to OpenGoo, and it's outdated and littered with subliminal "steal your money" ads, so that's a no. I'm going to check out another program that claims the same efficiency called "Etherpad".

              Also, a lot of my flash fiction won't be used on hubpages specifically and is relatively (*ahem*) purple. Would I still be able to share these with the group?