Sam Ligon on the Short-Short


“Very short fictions tend to rely on surprise, a hard turn at the end. They’re often elliptical or fragmented, and often shaped by tone and shadow.”

These words by Sam Ligon inform his “Flash-fiction Boot Camp, which will be offered both weeks of the 2013 Port Townsend Writers’ Conference. The workshop will “explore compression and limitation, evocation and implication, formal constraint and what might arise from line pressure and narrative restriction.”

Sam Ligon is the author of the short-story collection “Drift and Swerve” and the novel “Safe in Heaven Dead.” His stories have appeared in such journals as Alaska Quarterly ReviewStoryQuarterly, and New England  Review. He teaches at Eastern Washington University’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers, and is the editor of Willow Springs.

Recently, Sam participated in an interview about the “short-short”  form with Rainier Writing Workshop staff member Katrina Hays. Read the whole interview.

We particularly liked his take in the interview on what short-shorts offer the traditional long-form writer:

“For me the beauty of the form is that I can go there and it’s super low-stakes. I can go there to play and break rules and almost inevitably through that play I will figure out something about some of my ideas about fiction. I’ll go in a different direction than I’ve been going in the novel I’ve been working on or the short story I’ve been working on. I find something out about my long-form stuff by working in short form. I love to be able to do what the poets do! I love to be able to work with beats and rhythms and of course we’re always concerned with line but if you only have 300 words, everything has to happen faster.”