Ask Our Editors: Kirby Johnson

How did you go about deciding on the word limit for flash fiction submissions? What was the benchmark that was used?

It would be easy to say that I don’t want to read more than a page but that would be a lie. If something is good, then I want to read more of it. I want to read many pages and think, my god why am I reading this? This is making me feel sad/horrible/happy/desperate/hungry. But reading good things makes me tired, or what I mean to say is, reading good work causes feelings I’d rather not have for an extended length of time. I used to say that NANO Fiction was for those with limited attention spans or that it was fiction for people on the go, but I don’t think anyone believes that. I don’t even believe that. I think I fell in love with the idea of 300 words because I didn’t want to feel anything longer than that.

What was the first thing you remember wanting to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a painter. I remember telling my dad that I wanted to paint and he would say something like, “I will buy you a van and then you can go paint houses.” He never said it in a cruel way, but looking back on it now, it does seem a little mean spirited.

Do y’all like all things Nano (ie Nano Ipods, Nanorobotics, Nano the Egyptian Footballer, Silver Nano, my penis, etc), or just NANO Fiction?

I don’t know how to answer this. I want to say no. No, I do not love all things nano. Also, what do you love, man who decided to talk about his penis in this question?

What is your favorite kind of submission?

I think some of the most memorable submissions have been the ones that other people hated that I had to turn away. I remember a story about a woman choking on a chicken bone at KFC that I loved and no one else liked, or this one about a couple and there was lots of Vaseline. These stories were gross and a little graphic but I liked them a lot. They also had very strong characters in them. I think characters are important in flash and in general I like submissions that are more narrative than lyric.

More importantly here is a list of things that I don’t like:
Stories that mention writing
Stories about relationships ending
Stories about fathers
Stories about being a mom
Divorce stories
Abortion stories

What question do you have for people who read NANO Fiction?

Have you checked out the new issue yet?