If Raymond Carver could do it, you can do it too.

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Mr. Hogan, Raymond Carver is one of my favorite writers.

I’m glad to hear that, Hallelujah.  He’s one of my favorites, too.  Right up there with Hemingway.

I’ve read everything of his I can get my hands on.  Well, not so much the poems but all the short stories.

Then you’re familiar with his two stories, Popular Mechanics and Everything Stuck To Him.


Anything different about these stories compared to most of his fiction?

No quotation marks.

How did that strike you?

Well, I have to admit that at first it was odd; but once I got into the stories there was no problem at all.  I thought it would be confusing.  You know, who’s saying what.  There’s no confusion at all.  I certainly would like to try it in my own flash fiction.

Why, don’t you?

Afraid of failure, I guess.

I have a piece of advice for you.  Write your story the way you would normally do.  Write the dialogue the way you normally do.  Once the story’s finished go through it, revise it until you’re perfectly satisfied with it.  Then, and only then, go back through the story one more time but this time take out all the quotation marks.

That’s it?

That’s it.  You’ll have your first piece of flash fiction with no mistakes and no quotation marks and the story will make perfect sense to any reader.

Girls Gone Wild

My blog is the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette

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  • Uma Shankari on Jul 1, 2009

    I once wrote a short story with nothing but dialogs w/o quotation marks. It worked.

  • Guy Hogan on Jul 1, 2009


    I would probably go without quotation marks more often but either I am not bold enough or too much of a tradional writer.

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