Creating a Novella-In-Flash with Memories and Threads by Lisa Lynn Biggar – Guest Post

Creating a Novella-In-Flash with Memories and Threads by Lisa Lynn Biggar – Guest Post

Today we welcome author Lisa Lynn Biggar to Whispering Stories with her guest post, Creating a Novella-In-Flash with Memories and Threads. Check out her post below and her new book, Unpasteurized, which was released on 23rd June 2023. – This post contains affiliate links.

Lisa Lynn Biggar

Lisa Lynn Biggar received her MFA in Fiction from Vermont College. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Main Street Rag, Bluestem Magazine, The Minnesota Review, Kentucky Review, The Delmarva Review, Litro Magazine, Superstition Review and Pithead Chapel.

She’s the fiction editor for Little Patuxent Review and co-owns and operates a cut flower farm on the eastern shore of Maryland with her husband and two hard working cats.

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Creating a Novella-In-Flash with Memories and Threads

My novella-in-flash, Unpasteurized, recently published by Alien Buddha Press, began over thirty years ago when I sat down with my grandmother to record her life story in her kitchen in northeastern Pennsylvania, where she and my grandfather had a dairy farm and raised five boys, my father being the third. It’s where I spent most of my summers and holidays growing up, and these memories form the basis of my novella, along with my grandmother’s stories. I knew that I would eventually write about my grandmother’s life and that those seven cassette tapes would be as precious as gold to me one day.

That day came last summer when I realized I needed my grandmother’s voice as the thread in my novella-in-flash. I was writing flash stories (all under 1,000 words) about my experiences growing up on the farm, the farm setting itself a connecting thread, but I needed a
stronger thread to tie the stories together: enter my grandmother. Her stories are paralleled with mine in each piece of my novella-in-flash, creating depth and historical perspective.

And that brings me to the form that is the novella-in-flash. It is a format that has been around a while, just not by that name. Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize wrote the novella-in-flash, Maud Martha, in 1953, and Evan S. Connell wrote the novella-in-flash, Mrs. Bridge, in 1959. According to Michael Loveday, who wrote the book Unlocking the Novella-In-Flash, “The term ‘novella-in-flash’ seems to have taken hold after 2014, when Rose Metal Press published their anthology My Very End of the Universe: Five Novellas-In-Flash and a Study of the Form.”

I first became aware of the form through the Bath Novella-In-Flash Award in England. The winners are published by the associated award-winning small press, Ad Hoc Fiction. A writing friend of mine, Dan Crawley, earned a Commended Award in the Bath contest for his
novella-in-flash, Straight Down the Road, and it was published by Ad Hoc. He encouraged me to try my hand at this form, and I soon found this to be the perfect avenue for my farm memories, as flash fiction relies on small epiphanies that build to a conclusion in a novella. Each flash piece in my novella recalls a profound experience (shaped into a flash story) in the narrator, Jessie’s, coming-of-age—experiences that shaped her along the way and helped her find a sense of purpose in the world.

So why fiction, instead of a memoir-in-flash (which is also growing in popularity)? I chose to fictionalize my stories in order to have the freedom to create dialogue and mold my memories and characters in a way that created more tension and mystery in the novella. My grandmother’s stories are mostly intact though. She took those recordings so seriously that changing or distorting them in any way seemed almost sacrilegious. And it is her voice, I believe, that drives the novella. Just as she was the driving force in so many lives: her five children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. She took in those that were lost along the way, along with all the animals we could no longer care for. She took us all in.

Unpasturized by Lisa Lynn Biggar


Author – Lisa Lynn Biggar
Pages – 99
Release Date – 23rd June 2023
ISBN 13 – 979-8388930941
Format – Paperback

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Unpasteurized is a beautiful and captivating novella by Lisa Lynn Biggar that takes you on a journey through the lives of the characters, filled with love, loss, and sacrifice. The author effortlessly weaves together the stories of the intergenerational family on a farm in Pennsylvania, creating a rich tapestry of emotions and memories.

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1 Response

  1. Stephen says:

    This Novella was captivating, almost like you were there experiencing the emotions of each character of the book. Young love, life changes, and exploration all in one place! Loved this!!