Why is flash fiction important for writers?

Flash fiction is the best and fasted way for a new fiction writer to get some publishing credits under their belt. Or that’s been my experience, anyway.  Although, my VERY first published piece was an essay and found it’s way to getting published out of sheer luck. I was looking for a market to send it to, so I described the essay at WritersNet, and of all things, an editor at Hot Psychology magazine read my posts and was interested in it. Man, was that ever a thrill! But it’s rare for something like that to happen.

After I sent Maddy into the wild blue yonder, I discovered another online writing group that had flash challenges. I had never even heard of flash fiction, but I jumped in head first to these flash & chat sessions, began subbing the finished product to small literary e-zines, and before I knew it, I had a hand full of flash pieces published.

There’s no confidence builder like a yes. From last fall until now, I wrote and submitted like a demon. I now have a list of flash pieces, essays, a few newspaper articles and YES, finally, my first bona fide print magazine piece, published.  When I found out in January that one of my pieces had been nominated for a Pushcart, Lord don’t you know, my heart soared!

But as I said yesterday, in the back of my mind was my novel. The winner of the Delacorte contest was announced the end of October of 2005. And for all of these months, while I was busying building my portfolio, Maddy was sitting lonely, waiting for me even offer her a glance. Finally, a few weeks ago, I could no longer avoid the fact that if I were ever to get her published, I would have to start sending out queries. But I did a smart thing. I asked a fellow writer, a YA author, to read Maddy for me and tell me what she thought. Her advice was priceless. Though she loved the book, she pointed out some grammar and punctuation errors, along with tweaks here and there which would make the story stronger.