Read Nancy's winning story here and then return to learn more about her writing and revising style and advice for writing flash fiction.
----------Interview by Renee Roberson
WOW: Hi Nancy, thank you for joining us today to talk about your story, which I really enjoyed. The character of Aunt Gabe hooks the attention of the reader from the start in “Buried Things.” How did you get the idea for this story focusing around the three women in one family?
Nancy: Aunt Gabe is loosely contrived from my grandmother's older sister who was a bit eccentric. When I was growing up, I was intrigued by her unconventional lifestyle. Visits to her isolated cabin with my grandmother and whispers from other family members (when they thought I wasn't listening) helped to create Aunt Gabe.
WOW: The key to writing a solid mystery is sprinkling little clues throughout the story or novel that the reader may not notice until the end. How did you decide how to carefully place your own clues throughout your story?
Nancy: It is true that leaving little clues along the way is key to a good mystery. As the creator of the story, I need to always remind myself to not assume the reader knows what I have in my mind. In this story, I had Holly discover the photograph of Aunt Gabe on the bureau and the newspaper picture of Delmore with the Stetson hat and string tie so she could put everything together in the end.
WOW: You are a fan of mysteries and psychological thrillers. What are some you’ve read recently that you would recommend to our community?
Nancy: I have never been disappointed with author Jennifer McMahon. As soon as her newest novel is released, I snatch it up. I just finished her latest, The Children on the Hill. This summer I discovered Megan Miranda (The Girl From Widow Hills and The Last to Vanish) and Lisa Jewell (Watching You and The Family Upstairs). Both authors do a great job with character development and provide a satisfying read.
WOW: I love Megan Miranda and now I also have some other writers to check out, so I appreciate those recommendations. What tips would you offer for writing a compelling piece of flash fiction?
Nancy: I start by writing a story and do not focus on the word count at all. When the story is done, I go back line by line and cut away all the sentences that do not push the story forward.
WOW: That's great advice that has also worked for me as well. Once the initial draft is complete, many writers struggle with revising too much. How do you know when one of your stories is ready for submission?
Nancy: This is a tough one. I always feel like I need to make changes! I think this is where deadlines are so important. There is a date on the calendar which requires I release my story to the world. Without that deadline, I might just keep revising!
WOW: Giving yourself internal deadlines to complete a piece is very wise. We look forward to reading more of your work in the future!