Nancy Stebbins is a psychiatrist in the Denver area. She earned an MFA from Pacific University and her short stories have been published in Indiana Review, Cutbank Review, St. Ann’s Review, and elsewhere. She is a past editor at SmokeLong Quarterly. Currently, she is working on a novel.
Nancy is reading blind submissions for the week February 23rd – March 1st. Please don’t put any identifying information on your submission. Do still write a cover letter with a print-ready bio.
SLQ: Can you tell us about a flash fiction story or two you’ve recently read and enjoyed? (and please provide links if they’re online) What is it about this story that appealed to you?
NS: I recently re-read some older SLQ pieces — “Our Littlest Brother” by Dan Crawley and “A Collector” by Bess Winter. They are such different stories: the first made me laugh from the beginning, the second is quietly beautiful. But they both feel perfectly formed, and they both have a great deal of depth–they’re about something bigger than the story. (See writing advice, below.) I especially adore how Crawley’s narrator is true to his nature (unrepentant) even after the painful revelation about the neighbor woman.
What writing advice would you give to someone who has just recently started writing flash?
1. Make your story about something deeper than what’s on the surface. 2. Read lots of flash 3. Revise
What are you currently working on? And what is your process like for writing this piece?
I’m working on the novel I started during my MFA program. It is a complicated, multi-POV work set in three time periods, and my process is very circular, which means I may never finish.
Who are the authors that once you finish reading their work make you want to go write?
There are so many! But sometimes I read Muriel Spark, Margaret Atwood, or Carson McCullers to remember why I love to write.
You find out one of stories has been turned into a screenplay. Who do you hope directs the movie of your story?
After seeing her interview about making the movie Wild, I think I’d choose Reese Witherspoon.