If you give Thomas Pitre a word, he’ll use it to spin you a tale of about 100 words — give or take.
Pitre has explored the growing style flash fiction, short stories ranging from 100 words to 1,000, since 2007 and works on it everyday.
“It’s a good teaching tool and it’s good practice,” he said. “I’ve learned self-editing, vocabulary, setting the scene and how to better set pictures in people’s mind.”
Pitre, a retired educator, first tried restricted word count poems but later researched flash fiction more and began submitting stories to online sites like “100 Word Stories” where site host Lawrence Simon gives one-word prompts.
Pitre makes a point to submit two stories a week.
His latest book, “Short Shorts,” is a collection of many of his flash fiction stories based on these prompts.
It’s Pitre’s fourth book with two previous efforts, “The Wind of the Green Hula Girls” and “Flash Fiction and assorted prose pieces” available at the Sequim Library. All of his books are for sale online at Amazon.
Through his writing, Pitre believes his flash fiction is an extension of his poetry.
“You are taking something you just thought of or felt like you dreamt and making a poem or a short story out of it,” he said.
He finds a lot of relevance between flash fiction and how people mass-communicate today.
“It’s quick like a tweet (from Twitter) and its 144 characters,” he said.
“People can appreciate the idea.”
Pitre is leading a flash fiction workshop series in Sequim starting May 22.
“It’s a great exercise for writers of all kinds especially for self-editing,” he said.
“I’m my harshest judge. I throw a lot of them away. Never finish some.”
To build his repertoire, Pitre has studied online with several authors and attended local writing workshops with published authors and MFA students.
He says a lot of his ideas come from overheard dialogue in places he visits. With The Buzz coffee shop closed, Pitre frequents Rainshadow Coffee Bar.
“I’m convinced, at 70, that listening is something writers need to do,” he said.
Writing “Short Shorts” was more for fun, he admits. About half of his writing time focuses on developing online real estate course materials.
Read his Flash Fiction blog at http://fifthcoffee.blogspot.com where he encourages writers to submit pieces to him for feedback and/or publication on his site.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.