Book Review: Flash Memoir

Flash Memoir:
Writing Prompts to Get You Flashing
By Jane Hertenstein

Chicago author Jane Hertenstein has focused much of her career on the art of flash memoir. Some of you may write flash fiction--generally, short stories under 1,000 words. (Sometimes under 500.) Flash memoir is the same idea, except instead of fiction, you tell quick stories from your own life. These generally take the form of snapshots, images, anecdotes, or funny moments. Sometimes, a flash memoir can be 50 words or less. Sometimes it's what you write on the back of a postcard.

Jane runs the blog Memoirous Write, which includes tons of examples of flash memoir, along with book reviews, life updates, and all the usual fun blog stuff. She also has lots of recommendations for places you can submit your own flash fiction or  flash memoir, if you end up writing something you'd like to get published. I recommend checking it out! She updates it really frequently.

Jane's most recent few books have been e-books to help writers learn the art of flash. Her most recent book, Flash Memoir: Writing Prompts to Get You Flashing, is available for e-book download from Amazon here.

I definitely recommend checking out this book. While a lot of writing prompt books just give you a prompt every day and expect you to roll with it, this book really delves into the significance of each prompt. Before each prompt, it gives you a history of what some of the great writers of the past have done to hone their skills, or examples of how you can get the ideas flowing. Rather than telling you to just jump right in, which can be intimidating for a lot of writers, this book gives a ton of specific examples on how to get started. It even recommends specific websites, specific things you can Google, and specific Facebook groups you can join to keep the inspiration coming.

I really appreciate how specific the advice in this book is. At the same time, the prompts are open-ended enough to give you total creative freedom. I also think this book does a great job of reading a wide age demographic. While references to life in the 60s, or the memories associated with reading newspapers, will speak to older readers, younger readers will find useful advice in the specific online places to find inspiration.

Overall, if you're at all interested in writing flash--whether it's flash fiction or flash memoir--I recommend checking out Jane's work. She's got a ton of really great stuff out there.

Even if you're not interested in flash, this book can still help you get ideas when you're stuck.

If you decide to check out this book, I hope you enjoy it!

Happy Fourth of July!



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