Interview with Myna Chang, 2nd Place Winner in the Summer 2020 Flash Fiction Contest

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Myna Chang writes flash and short stories. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in X-R-A-Y Lit Mag, New World Writing, Reflex Fiction, FlashFlood, Atlas & Alice, Writers Resist, and Daily Science Fiction. Anthologies featuring her stories include the Grace & Gravity collection Furious Gravity IX; and the forthcoming This is What America Looks Like anthology by Washington Writers’ Publishing House. Her story “Air So Thick” won 1st place in the WOW Summer 2019 flash fiction contest, and “Good Deal” received an honorable mention in the WOW Fall 2018 flash fiction contest. Myna lives in Potomac, MD, with her husband and teenage son. Read more at or on Twitter at @MynaChang

Check out Myna's award-winning story here and then return for an interview with the writer. 

----------Interview by Renee Roberson 

WOW: Thanks for being here today, Myna, and welcome! As someone who has placed in three different WOW! competitions, what advice would you offer to writers hoping to get their fiction noticed in this particular contest? 

Myna: My WOW stories have been vastly different in terms of form and genre, including a comedy, a historical fiction, and a family drama. The thing they have in common is an unexpected hook -- a hungry goat, a dust storm, a pile of secrets. Before submitting, I read about the guest judge to see what sorts of stories they prefer. If the judge dislikes genre stories, for instance, I won’t submit a fantasy story. 

WOW: Very practical advice, thank you! What inspired you to write “The Frame of a Life?” 

Myna: My grandmother always slid new photos on top of the older ones in her picture frames. Each frame contained a little time capsule, going back decades. I wondered if other people do that, and what sorts of things they might keep. 

WOW: My mom actually did that with all my school pictures in one 5 x 7 frame. I thought of that as I was reading your story. Your breathless CNF, “Playground Justice,” appeared in Atlas and Atlas, and the piece really packs a punch! For anyone who is not familiar with this form of writing, could you give us an overview of what it is and how you decided to explore it? 

Myna: I first encountered the breathless form in a flash workshop a few years ago. I fell in love with the immediacy and urgency of an entire story told in one sentence. Word choices and punctuation take on greater importance in such a story, both to provide clarity and to drive the reader headlong into the narrative. In my Playground story, I wanted to show the explosive release of layered emotions, and the breathless form seemed to fit the subject matter. The story is longer than a typical breathless piece, so I decided to break it up in paragraph form while still maintaining the single sentence structure. 

WOW: On your blog you write that you believe “most things can be improved with a bit of kung fu.” We’d love to know more! 

Myna: My main goal with my writing is to have fun. To me, injecting “kung fu” into my stories means unexpected action, audacious characters, or funny settings. It’s my way of saying, “let’s have some fun!” 

WOW: Your portfolio includes such a wide array of genres—from contemporary flash fiction to science fiction to CNF to humor and political satire and much more. What is your submission process like and how long do you wait to hear back from one publication before moving on? Or do you prefer to submit simultaneously?  

Myna: I prefer publications that accept simultaneous submissions. I try to limit myself to three publications at a time. When one rejection comes, I immediately send the story to the next publication on my hit list. Occasionally I will write with a specific market in mind, and in those cases, I submit only to that market--then pursue simultaneous subs if the piece is rejected. Sci-fi publications are the exception, because many of them do not allow simsubs. I have to feel very confident about a story before I will tie it up with a slow-moving scifi submission queue.

WOW: You've shared a lot of great information and I know our readers will appreciate. We hope to read even more of your work in the future.


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