Friday, 4 May 2012

Friday Picture Show - Jen DeSantis

Welcome Jen DeSantis of #FridayPictureShow flash fiction challenge. Each Friday, Jen posts a picture and writers are encourage to write a 100 word piece based on that picture. So, let's start with the obvious, where do you usually find the pictures you use for Friday Picture Show? Have you had any copyright issues?

Well, I started the Picture Show because I had over a hundred pictures just saved on my hard drive for inspiration. I figured it would be cool to host a flash show and put those pictures to use. I usually find my pictures on Tumblr or Pinterest. When possible, I direct link back to the source of the picture, but that isn't always possible with images found on the internet. Thus far, I haven't had any copyright issues, but of course I would take anything down if an artist asked me to. I think because I'm not attempting to profit from the works, I should be fine. It's simply inspiring others words, and that's pretty cool if you ask me. :)

No arguments here! Do you have a roster of judges/guests drawn up in advance? How many weeks do you plan ahead?


Each week, the judge is the winner from the previous week. When the overall winner can't judge, I usually ask the best use of prompt judge. Every once in a while, I have special judges come in to promote books or offer special prizes. For instance, Susan Warren-Utley from Haunted Waters Press guest judged. She offered the winner the chance to be published in her quarterly literary journal, From the Depths. It was a lot of fun!

Wow! Can't beat that for a prize! Do you have your pictures selected as far in advance as your judges/guests? Farther?

I offer the judge of the week three choices from my stock pile. I also offer them the opportunity to submit a picture to me for use. I'm pretty open to anything, so if a judge is really attached to something, I'm usually willing to allow it. The only exception would be full out pornography or something that might be a trigger. To me, that's not where the best stories come from anyway. Rather, it should be something that suggests a mood or scenario.

How often do you find your word limit (100 words) is overlooked or ignored by posters? Do they make you laugh or irritate you? Do people often repost if they've exceeded the limit?

In the beginning, people forgot that it had to be exactly 100 words. They'd post 99 or 98. Always, when I reminded them, they'd repost. I've only had one or two blatantly disregard the limit. Those entries didn't offer twitter handles or anything, so I posted a comment saying that they were over the limit and if they wanted to resubmit they could, but that their entry was ineligible as is. This is a great group of writers and I think they really like the exactness of this contest. Writing to exactly 100 words is a great exercise for the mind. I think they appreciate that.

Example of a Friday Picture Prompt
I think it adds to flash fiction to give it that touch of craft necessary to hit an exact word count. Have you ever looked at your judge/guest's choice and thought, "aww, but X was so good!" 

I have no say in anything. Certainly I read each entry and pick my favorites, but to me it was very important that there be one judge for each week. Though I participate in contests where there is voting, I don't always think it is the fairest judge of what is the best. If I have 800 followers on Twitter and a few hundred friends on FB, and you only have say 200 ... who's going to win? I wanted it to be subjective for the judge each week. And that's the beauty of it, really. These are all writers that we know and respect. It's kinda fun to see what works for one judge and what doesn't.

I see, tailor to the judge of the week, or wait for the right judge to find you. I read in a recent post that you are looking at lining up interviews for your blog. Who are you looking for?

I'm happy to feature authors anywhere in their publishing journey. I currently only have one small credit to my name, but I still consider myself a "working author." I think we all have little things than we can share with each other to help out along this long and hard road. Hit me up on the blog if you're interested!

You heard the lady! Go comment on her blog! Or comment here and I'll twist her arm... no, wait, that's a bad plan, but I can put in a good word!
Ahem. Sorry about that. How often do you post between Fridays? How do you choose your topics?

I try to post two to three other times besides Fridays. Usually I do a sample post where I let people read my own work, either flash fiction or bits and pieces from my novel or current short story. I don't want to let my following forget that I am, in fact, an author too! haha! Also, I do the author interviews. From time to time, I might post on something that's been troubling me, like writer's block or how to gracefully reply to criticism, but I don't know that I consider myself terribly qualified for those kinds of posts, so I try to limit them. :)

I know nothing about feeling under-qualified to give advice. Tries not to draw attention to the fact that she's asking other people for exactly that. Having seen several flash fiction challenges and noticing similar names from one to another, I imagine some of your following has come from people who frequent such blogs. Do you find followers in other ways?

Most of my following has come through flash fiction, but not necessarily all of them are the core flashers. I often run into other horror/paranormal types in my dealings with fellow flash fiction friends and strike up conversations that way. It's been really cool to learn how to network, because it's not a skill I considered very important before starting to write. I have to say that I feel like authors are perhaps the coolest people to network. They're always so full of fun conversation!

And never shy at all... heh. Jen is currently looking to publish her first novel, Demon Reborn: Leteh's Quest. Her short story, Spirit of the Shoal, was published in From the Depths by Haunted Waters. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Good Reads

Have any other questions? Ask in the comments! 

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