Richard Lee is Professor of English at the State University of New York College at Oneonta, where he teaches courses in world literatures, linguistics and critical theory. He received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Rutgers University in 2000, and he is co-editor of two editions of The Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Short-Story Writers since WWII (series 3 & 5). Other publications include a monograph on globalization and sociolinguistics, articles on theoretical issues in fiction, and on authors such as Barry Hannah and George Saunders. He has presented research on flash fiction as recently as 2014 at a conference on short fiction held in Vienna, Austria.
Richard’s thoughts on successful flash fiction:
The flash fiction that excites me most unfolds in my mind because the flash implies some form of a temporal element, a conflict or quandary, and some ambiguity about what we might loosely refer to as “plot.” I don’t need or expect hints of plot in the standard sense of a beginning, middle and end, but I like the implication that those might exist—or that multiples might co-exist in what is implied in the flash. I like the germ of story complications in what author and anthologizer Robert Swartwood has termed “hint fiction.” I also respect prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler’s comment that the very best flash or micro, etc., fiction always involves some aspect of yearning—desire, striving, or expectation achieved or dashed. I think that flash fiction should be more than a witty saying or an epigram, though such things might reach the status of flash if they strove to be more than mere wit. I general, I want a piece to make me stop, think and then wonder—in awe of options and a story world contained in the kernel!
Links to some Flash Fiction that Richard really admires: http://www.buzzfeed.com/kimberlywang/17-flash-fiction-stories-you-can-read-right-now
Here’s a story that Richard has recently read that he thinks exemplifies the four criteria SLQ lists as it guidelines/principles/things to consider prior to submission:”Egocentric Orbit” by John Cory
And here’s a piece of shorter fiction that Richard loves: “Incarnations of Burned Children” by David Foster Wallace: