A beginning, a middle and an end – all in fewer than 1,000 words.

The genre is flash fiction, and West Virginia University staff member April Johnston is a big fan.

Not only is Johnston – who works in WVU’s News and Information office as a senior writer – a fan of reading the stories, but she is an avid writer of such tales.

Two of Johnston’s works are being published in a collection of flash fiction, titled The Mix Tape, scheduled to be released this month. The collection is published by Fast Forward Press, which previously has published two other collections.

“I’m excited that my first published fiction stories are flash, because the writing has to be so precise and engaging for the piece to work,” Johnston said. “You have to unfold an entire world in 1,000 words or less. That’s challenging, sometimes more challenging than short stories.”

Johnston’s stories – “Third Street” and “How the Parking Authority Ruined my Saturday Night” – are both no more than 210 words.

Fast Forward Press defines flash fiction as “micro-stories, complete entities in under 1,000 words.” The organization gives examples of stories being about a walk down the driveway to get the mail or a smile between strangers.

Johnston wrote her stories based off of photographs taken by her husband, David.

“Third Street” tells the story of new parents bringing their child home for the first time; and “How the Parking Authority Ruined my Saturday Night” is a tale of a bad first date.

A book launch is being held for the collection on Saturday (June 19) in New York City. At the event, Johnston will join about a dozen other Fast Forward authors to read from the collection.

For more information on the collection, visit http://www.fastforwardpress.org .



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