Flash Fiction, Button Style

hSomewhere–maybe in the back of a drawer, in your grandmother’s sewing box, or on your favorite piece of clothing–you have a button with a story waiting to be told.   A button that’s slightly mysterious … or surprisingly beautiful.  A button that has an intricate design, a silly shape, a perfectly smooth surface.

If you’re wondering what story your button might tell, you’re in luck.  I’m happy to introduce a new blog feature called Flash Fiction, Button Style.

Flash fiction is a relatively new genre of writing that emphasizes brevity.  I like to think of it as a bridge between poetry and fiction—every word is chosen carefully, the overall rhythm has heightened  importance, and the final sense of the writing carries more weight than its individual components.   In Flash Fiction, Button Style, each short piece of writing will tell one individual button’s story.

Send a jpeg image of your unique button to ej@elizabethjennings.com, and I will write a flash fiction story to accompany it.  Each story will be 250 words or less.  To accentuate the genre’s admiration of suddenness and spontaneity, I am also limiting the time spent on each story to one hour or less.   While the pieces may lack perfection and polish, I hope their immediacy gives them freshness and intimacy.

My initial plan is to publish one  button story a month, roughly every other blog post.  Since my other posts tend to be more rambling in nature, I hope this variety of styles will work out well and satisfy both button lovers and word/idea/fiction lovers.   I hope to have the first button story appear in this space by February 10, 2013.

Until otherwise noted, button pictures and stories will be published in the order received.  I will acknowledge receipt of images and will give attribution for the buttons with first name and last initial.  If you prefer to use a fictional name, that is fine with me.

I hope you think this is as much fun as I do.

About Elizabeth Jennings

I am an author living in the Blue Ridge Mountains. My first book, The Button Collector, was released May 6, 2013, by PageSpring Publishing.
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8 Responses to Flash Fiction, Button Style

  1. Pingback: Button Flash 2: My Sister’s Closet | Elizabeth Jennings

  2. Nadia Beck says:

    From someone that loves, collects and reuses buttons, I find this to be fascinating!

  3. Pingback: Button Flash Four — A Summer Thing | Elizabeth Jennings

  4. clare cross says:

    Love this! I call myself a button rescuer, and will never look at those buttons the same way!

  5. Peggy Vickrey says:

    This is fabulous! As a former English teacher (now retired), I used to have my students tell “button stories” by selecting a button from the stash I’d supplied and then sharing the button owner’s story with the class as a warm-up exercise for writing. The first time I demonstrated this for my class, many of us were in tears over the story of my Uncle Buster’s WWII service and my memories of him. While I did have an Uncle Buster who served in WWII, “his” button was just one from my button box, and most of the story was fictional, especially since he died when I was just a toddler. “Button stories” opened the door for my students to create believable characters and stories, the sort of fiction that was OK to use in small bursts on state testing mandated essays. I borrowed the idea from a fabulous presenter, whose name, unfortunately, has been erased from my memory. I’ll share your flash fiction, button style idea with the former student who took my place upon my retirement.

    • I’ve done a similar exercise in writing workshops and it always works very well. I think it’s the way buttons are both personal and familiar, tangible and evocative that makes them so call forth stories!

  6. Pingback: Button Flash 11: The Midway | Elizabeth Jennings

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