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Discount Noir's Patricia Abbott

Patricia Abbott is a fellow contributor and one of the co-editors of Discount Noir, an e-Book flash fiction anthology available now from Untreed Reads. The Derringer Award-winning author of more than 60 short stories, she lives and works in Detroit. Visit pattinase.blogspot.com.

Gerald So: How did the idea for Discount Noir come about? Why did you decide to do a flash fiction challenge about Everyone's Favorite Superstore (TM)?

Patricia Abbott [From the foreword to Discount Noir]: Since most readers of my blog are short story writers, I decided in February 2008, to issue a flash fiction challenge. (I was far from the first to do so.) This was not a contest but rather an inclusive invitation to write a story of about 800 words and post it on an assigned day...It was a success and each of the succeeding four challenges drew more entries. Each challenge had its own topic—my favorite being one in which each participant wrote an opening paragraph that was passed on to someone else.

In October 2009, my co-anthologist Steve Weddle suggested I use a website that I’ll call The People of Megamart as the inspiration for a flash fiction challenge. Megamart: I Love You generated more than thirty stories, all published simultaneously on various blogs on November 30, 2009.

GS: How did the idea for your story, "Loss", develop?

PA: I was working on a novel called Raising the Dead and it was set in Detroit. Twelve young men would die over the course of the novel. Someone suggested that it was very insular as it was and maybe writing small narratives about each of the men would widen the scope. That idea did not work out because it took the story away from the protagonist too many times. But I had these twelve narrative and one of them was about a new guard loss prevention guard at a Megamart type store. So when the idea came up for stories set in a big box store for a flash fiction challenge, it was a natural. I have also been publishing the other narratives at A Twist of Noir and Flash Fiction Offensive.

Which all proves a writer should throw nothing away. It will usually fit in somewhere...

The story needed some tweaking, of course. And it was a bit too long or short (can't remember which) and less of it was set in the store than in the final version. But I didn't have to do that much.

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