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Flash into the Middle of Things or In Media Res

Flash into the Middle of Things by Gila GreenWhy do writers use in media res (Latin for “into the middle of things”)?  There is nothing new about this narrative technique, which we find in everything from Homer’s Odyssey to films, poetry and plays. In media res is neither a frame nor a story within a story nor a self-contained story. In media resallows the audience to jump into a story right in the middle of the action. If done well, the audience is quickly consumed by the narrative, even though many questions are unanswered. For example, if a story begins with a murder we do not know the victim, the motive, whose side we are on, but our curiosity is immediately addressed. In Flash fiction in media res can be particularly useful because of the very short word count allowed. Yet, I find many writers find it difficult to break away...

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Does Your Story Have a Case of Runaway Pace? By Gila Green

Have you ever seen any of these comments in the margins of your work?·                     Slow down·                     Uneven·                     Lacks climax·                     FlatIf you answered “yes,” you should immediately browse through your writer’s toolbox of literary devices for pacing solutions—specifically how to slow the pace down.One device many writers threw out of their toolboxes long ago was indirect writing.  Most of us were told by everyone from our high school English teachers to published writers in creative writing programs that direct writing is good writing and indirect writing is bad writing. That’s often true. But completely eliminating indirect writing is also a surefire way for many writers to ruin the pace of their work. They write each line so directly that the story is over before it begins; there is never any time to savor the scene, in particular the climax or mini climaxes; there is no hair-standing-on-end time; and no goose-bumps-down-the-arms moments because...

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Congratulations to Joyce Barton

Hi, Gila!  Just wanted to let you know that my first flash piece, Bar Rag, was published by The Legendary (an online literary journal).  Less than a year after taking your course, not bad. ;)Go here & click on 'Joyce Barton' link:  http://www.downdirtyword.com/fictionpage.html(Or you can access it from the bio page: http://www.downdirtyword.com/authors/joycebarton.html )Just wanted to say thanks again; your class helped me get started with flash, and now I'm on my way.Hope you are well, and Happy New Year!~Joyce

Forget the Rules! Take a Flash Fiction Break By Gila Green

When I tell people I teach a virtual flash fiction course, I often get strange responses bordering on laughter. Isn’t flash fiction just really short fiction? What’s the point of taking a specific Flash class?No, flash is its own genre deserving of its own class and in my opinion, it’s still underrated as a way to break into publication. But the increasing number of publication opportunities is only one benefit of Flash. It also offers a break to a lot of writers who might be burnt out with a novel or short story. In the main, you get a break from following those longer-length piece rules and who doesn’t need a break from ‘the rules’ once in a while to recharge?  Here are five rules most of us hear over and over again that you get to completely ignore in Flash:Tell don’t show. If you’re like me, you’re not the ideal...

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Allusion in Flash fiction: double your meaning in a single Flash

This is the first in my blog post series on writing, particularly flash fiction. This post was on the WOW-Women on Writing site in 2013.Many writers think ‘brief’ these days. Short fiction is popular both on the internet and in print and whether you call it flash, postcard or micro fiction it all comes down to your story’s bottom line: reduce your work to its barest bones. One guideline is to eliminate literary devices. We are told that although we may write: “He was Usain Bolt in his running shoes, sprinting towards the hospital.” This is a no-no in flash. Change this to: He sprinted to the hospital. You just went from eleven to five words. This advice saves the writer six precious words. It also ups the story’s pace, intensifying the drama and focus and flash fiction is nothing if not about focus. What about the meaning of the story?...

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Create Memorable Writing. Four new classes begin January 12

My new writing class Create Memorable Writing has been updated and revised. Mark January 12 on your calendars.Enamored with the new short writing trend? Sign up for Flash FictionShort on time? Try my four-week short story mini publishing workshop

New Fall Classes

Classes in Flash Fiction and Literary Devices Begin October 27.Sign up for FlashSign up for Literary Devices INEW: Mini Course. How to Publish a Short Story.Loved Literary Devices I? Sign up for part two. 

Summer Series Guest Post #4 Margo Dill

Welcome to my newest guest: Margo Dill. I've been virtual friends with Margo for a few years now and I'm very pleased to introduce you to her latest novel, a YA paranormal romance with a catchy title: "Caught Between Two Curses." To whet your appetite, here's a line about her latest work: Seventeen-year-old Julie Nigelson is cursed. So is her entire family. And it’s not just any-old-regular curse, either—it’s strangely connected to the famous “Curse of the Billy Goat” on the Chicago Cubs.   Practical Ways to Balance Motherhood and Writing  by Margo L. DillI have a 3 ½ year old daughter and a 13-year-old stepson. This summer, it seems harder than ever to balance work and motherhood. I think it’s because the kids are older—they sleep less and want to do more. But I’m working on some practical ways to entertain and love my children while I also work as a writer.1.      ...

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The Costume Room

My short story The Costume Room was a finalist for WordSmitten's 1010 Fiction Contest.Today Brian Henry posted it on his blog.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Thanks so much to Yael Shahar author of A Damaged Mirror,who invited me to participate in the current My Writing Process Blog Tour. Yael describes her book as an exploration between right and wrong; between choice and choicelessness, and the consequences of crossing boundaries. Check it out!This tour asks four questions that each writer answers before she passes on the virtual torch, so here goes:What am I working on? I just finished my second novel, Passport Control. I’m really excited about it as it is my longest work and I feel for me it means I have finally crossed the line from short story writer to novelist. Although, I have already published one novel King of the Class I was undergoing a transition with that novel from years of writing only short stories and some poetry. This time around I no longer had the ghost of a short story writer flitting...

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Welcome to author Renee Howard Cassese

I am so pleased to introduce my third summer guest, Renee Howard Cassese. Renee has been a participant in two of my virtual classes over the last couple of years. It is a privilege that many of my class participants continue to fill me in on their writing lives. Thanks for the update, Renee and congratulations on your move to self-publishing, which I've asked Renee to discuss in today's post. You can take a look at her self-published paperback I am my Mother's Only Poem: http://www.amazon.com/Am-My-Mothers-Only-Poem/dp/1494962535/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402002896&sr=8-1&keywords=i+am+my+mother%27s+only+poemTo self-publish or not to self-publish, that was the question. Though I rejected the idea of self-publishing because I thought it would brand me as an incompetent writer and unattractive to agents and traditional publishers, over the years I gently but surely changed my mind. When it comes to novels I still believe traditional is the way to go, but I am considering looking for small presses...

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Summer Registration for Flash Fiction is Open

http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/GilaGreen_FlashFictionWorkshop.php

Welcome to my second guest: Author Diana Bletter

Continuing my summer series of author guest posts, this week I'm featuring Diana Bletter.We've met virtually and I'm looking forward to one day meeting in person. Thanks for visiting, Diana.What? Huh? You’re 57 and you’re only publishing your first novel now?It’s not as if I didn’t try. I’ve wanted to be a published writer ever since the poem I wrote about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination was printed in a newspaper. I was eleven. I loved seeing my name in print. I loved the way my parents showed my poem to total strangers. But most importantly—and I realize this more and more—I loved the actual writing of it. The way I could make words dance the Salsa right over the page. I loved the timing, the rhyming. I was so proud of the poem's last lines: “Can we help with the things he lived for: peace and non-violence? If we don’t, there...

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Guest Post: Author Yael Unterman

I have opened up my blog to a series of guest posts from other writers for your summer reading enjoyment and I am delighted that my first guest is my friend and colleague Yael Unterman.Yael  has just released her first short story collection "The Hidden of Things." Check it out!On Writing, Spirituality and Being a Mensch This piece is not an easy one for me to write. But it has an important message.In 2009 I published a work of non-fiction (biography), but the publication of my second book in 2014 – a work of fiction – was the realization of a childhood dream. Yet fulfilling a dream sometimes brings some huge challenges in its wake. As writers, our book is our “baby,” and we go to great lengths to ensure the welfare of our offspring. I, too, feel an abiding loyalty to my book and to the heart and soul I...

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Pithom and Ramses in CommuterLit

My humor flash piece Pithom and Ramses appears in CommuterLit this week.

Summer Registration Open

Registration is open for new virtual classes beginning July 8.Bring your short fiction, novel or memoir up to publication level and meet writersfrom all over the world from your own home or office computer.Flash Fiction : http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/GilaGreen_FlashFictionWorkshop.phpLiterary Devices I: http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/GilaGreen_LiteraryDevicesI.phpLiterary Devices II: http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/GilaGreen_LiteraryDevicesII.phpSince 2009, more than 100 writers have taken my classes from the USA, Israel, Canada, UK, Australia and South Africa. Many have gone on to publish, to win writing awards and to find online writing partners.

Spider Places in Dublin

My short story Spider Places will be published in Ireland's The South Circularin their ninth issue on March 20, 2014.thesouthcircular.com

Congratulations to Jill Sadowsky!

Jill participated in my Raanana Creative Writing Workshops and I was also lucky enough to work as an editor on her book David's Story, which explores her life and struggles living with a son with schizophrenia.She is also a recipient of the Israel Mental Health Award for her devotion and work in the field of mental illness.Today, I'd like to congratulate her on winning FIRST PRIZE in a short story contest as well as $500. I'm so happy for you, Jill. Keep striving for excellence.Jill's winning short story has been published live online at Dare to Dream page 2,http://www.dreamquestone.com/daretodream02.html .

Sign Up is Open for my New Four Week Publish Your Short Story Workshop

Register Here: Publish Your Short Story Workshop

Allusion in Flash fiction: double your meaning in a single Flash

Many writers think ‘brief’ these days. Short fiction is popular both on the internet and in print and whether you call it flash, postcard or micro fiction it all comes down to your story’s bottom line: reduce your work to its barest bones.One guideline is to eliminate literary devices. We are told that although we may write: “He was Usain Bolt in his running shoes, sprinting towards the hospital.” This is a no-no in flash. Change this to: He sprinted to the hospital. You just went from eleven to five words. This advice saves the writer six precious words. It also ups the story’s pace, intensifying the drama and focus and flash fiction is nothing if not about focus. What about the meaning of the story? Has it changed? If the writer is pulling in a metaphor for speed willy nilly from anywhere, then no, nothing has changed. (If the writer...

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Should writers in Israel hide?

When I submit my short stories should I hide my Israellocation? This is a real question participants in my classes ask me. Most often these writers use an American address of a relative or the address of a friend overseas in their submissions. They genuinely believe that an address in Israel lowers their chances of acceptance in literary magazines and journals and, as the odds are already so stacked against new writers, they figure: who needs the handicap of an Israeladdress? I admit that it never occurred to me to alter my Israeli address in my submissions and I’ve been submitting stories since 2005. Is this naive? I don’t think so.  If a publication does not want to print my story because I live in Israel, I do not want to be published by that publication. Is that too simple? So, how have I answered these writers? I tell them the...

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Where do writers’ ideas come from?

In the last two days I’ve been asked how I get ideas for writing stories. Two nights ago at a PTA meeting just before the homeroom teacher asked me if I’d come in and speak (again) to the girls. And the next day at an open house for my daughter’s ballet class. I don’t get ideas, I look for ideas. It can be really hard work. I don’t see why ideas for writers should come from a source any different from ideas for what to make for dinner. For me the latter can also be really hard work. When I have to make dinner on a regular weekday I whip through the kitchen, opening cupboards, vegetable bins, the freezer and dairy drawers: what have I got at hand? The same is true for writing. I consider genre (historical? satirical?), I consider format (should I try for another short story for a...

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Happy Anniversary to me!

Five Year Anniversary Observations: Online Literary Devices Class On the eve of completing five years teaching Literary Devices on the WOW-Women on Writing site—three semesters per year—it’s an auspicious time to note my observations and to look for ways to improve. Some observations (note I have rounded the percentages).Participants are overwhelmingly female at ninety-eight per cent. Not a great surprise for a site with the word ‘women’ in the title.Sixty percent are working on a short story, thirty percent on a novel and ten percent on a personal essay.An overwhelming ninety percent are writing in realism (historical fiction, coming-of-age, memoir, romance). Only ten percent write fantasy.The biggest increase in a genre is in the romance genre with a thirty percent increase since 2010! Fully half of my new participants are now writing in the romance genre. Not sure how to explain this. Romance has always been commercially popular.Thirty-eight percent of participants have self-published...

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Author Talks: Kislev Reflection & Reading

I will be speaking in Hashmonaim  November 20 with my friend and colleague Nicole Nathan.INVITATION: Kislev Reflection & ReadingIt is now Kislev, the month of dreams.  Dreams reflect the hidden light of the soul and open up space to examine and reflect, and the long winter nights provide us with an ideal time to withdraw and read.Join us for an evening of reflection and of light in the darkness preceding Chanukah as two women writers read from their new novels.Originally Canadian, Gila Green and Nicole Nathan have spent much time reflecting and have written novels that examine our spiritual state.Other upcoming dates for Author Talks (email me for final confirmation of dates)Hashmonaim Wednesday November 20Beer Sheva Monday November 25Maaleh Adumim December 7Bar Ilan University May 11-13You are invited! Bring a friend.

Would you like to invite me to speak?

Author TalksIf you are in Israel and have a women's group, synagogue, charity, school or other organization that would like to invite me to speak about writing, publishing and/or my novel KING OF THE CLASS or if you'd like me to offer a writing workshop, email me: gila green  @ gmail. com (remove spaces) with 'author talk' in the subject line.I am happy to invite other Israel-based authors to speak with me about our books if you'd like to offer a group talk to your audience.Part of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

Next Virtual Class Sign Up January 2014

Watch the WOW site for details of my January 6 virtual Flash Fiction and Literary Devices classes.

In my last post I wrote about promoting your debut novel from my experience with King of the Class. Today I want to list some don’ts.

Don’t forget to make a post-novel plan. What do you want to do now that your novel’s been out for a while? Write a new novel? Go on a book tour? Go back to your day job? Try a new genre? This is especially important if you are anything like me i.e., flounders without specific goals.Don’t respond to criticism. It’s an absurd expectation to think you will write a book that appeals to everyone. Thank them for reading your work and move on. Some comments might be indecipherable. One reader told me that I was admired and talented and then went on to write that the best thing for me would be to write a novel that had no Jews, no Israel and nothing to do with any religion whatsoever. That would be a book to read, if I’d only write it! Umm. Thanks. I think.   Don’t check Amazon’s author central...

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Ten things I’ve learned four months after publishing my first novel King of the Class

I’ve been publishing short stories since 2006, but this year my debut novel King of the Class was released by a small literary Vancouver publisher (www.nonpublishing.com).I’ve received many questions from debut authors mostly asking ‘what worked.’ Here are ten things that worked for me. Ten things I’ve learned four months after publishing my first novel King of the ClassTarget freelancers for reviews. I spent hours emailing publications I felt shared my target audience. Hands-down most of them ignored me or sent me polite ‘no’ emails. When I discovered the freelancers who sell regularly to these publications, I had far more success. Find them by clicking on contributors’ names.  Only no means no. Perseverance works. No answer does not mean no. Once in a while I’d get an email: “Good for you for not giving up. I was so busy with X, but now I’d be happy to read your book”. Everybody...

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New short stories

My new story, Mother, Daughter, Mercenary forthcoming September 2013 with Noir Nation (crime fiction) and Still Life with Father in Arc Magazine forthcoming from the Israel Association of Writers in English.

Book Review: CACTUS HEART, Issue 4, June 2013 (pg 147-179)

King of the Class by Gila Green Vancouver: Now or Never Publishing, 2013; $19.95. 237 pages. ISBN: 978-1-92694-214-8 Reviewed by Julie Anne Levin In her gripping and heartfelt first novel, King of the Class, Gila Green sets a timeless tale of love and religion in a politically and technologically futuristic Israel. Among cyber pets and hoverboards, a self-proclaimed nonreligious woman, Eve, is guided by supernatural connections through a plot maze that includes a difficult marriage and her only son’s disappearance. Tapping deeply into the experience of motherhood, Green’s most moving moments depict a mother’s relationship to her unborn child’s soul and, then, to her young son. The story also convincingly examines the sometimes healthy and sometimes disturbing sacrifices parents make to serve their children.This fast-paced novel is set in an Israel in which the twostate solution refers not to Israel and Palestine (a situation only briefly mentioned in the book), but...

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Latest Books

No Entry

No Entry

In No Entry, Canadian teenager, Yael Amar, signs on to an elephant conservation program and ends up coming face to face with violence, greed, and murder and the taste of a very real danger for all of us: elephant extinction.

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White Zion

White Zion

White Zion is a novel in stories forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press (April 2019). The novel takes readers into the worlds of 19th century Yemen, pre-State Israel, modern Israel and modern Canada...

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Passport Control

Passport Control

Miriam Gil knows little about Israel. Her father won’t talk about his life there or the brother he left behind when he came to Canada. Hurt and angry when he tells her to move out to make room for his new girlfriend, she enrolls in an Israeli university. She falls in love with Guy... 

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King of the Class

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Eve and Manny are engaged in post-civil war Israel, but Manny has a secret: he’s falling in love with his religious roots and turning his back on moral relativism. As their wedding date approaches...

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