Denny Jace has been writing since June 2019. She writes flash fiction and short stories and is building up to her first novel. She lives in Shropshire with her husband and two (grownup) children. Most of her days are spent reading her stories to Maude and Stanley, her two faithful dogs. She has been published in Ellipsis Zine, and her flash fiction “When the Last Flame Is Blown” won Retreat West’s Micro Fiction Competition in January 2020.
Her flash fiction “Elsie” is published in Capsule Stories Summer 2020 Edition. In “Elsie,” a couple returns to their favorite mountain in Indonesia after Elsie has made her partner promise to take her back there, one last time.
Capsule Stories: Your story “Elsie” evokes so much emotion in so little words; there are no extraneous sentences or images. What ideas or images did you cut from earlier drafts of this piece?
Denny Jace: The idea for the story came after a conversation with a friend of my sixteen-year-old son. He told me how his mother had said that when she died she wanted to be cremated and loaded in to a firework and then shot into the air! I thought then about other ways to scatter ashes and how we fulfill our loved ones’ wishes. Initially the story was just 100 words, and I expanded it to develop the conflicting emotions of the “hope” Elsie had for her recovery and the sadness her partner felt with his firm grip on reality.
Capsule Stories: What other flash fiction writers have influenced you, and specifically, this story?
Denny Jace: I loved Dettra Rose’s “Falling In. Falling Out.” I am a huge fan of Gaynor Jones, and her piece “Living With It” blew me away. Her ability to evoke stark and brutal emotion so simply is wonderful. She chooses the perfect words—remember, flash is sharp, there’s no room wasted on soft, unnecessary words. Each one must be precise and relevant, and that’s exactly what Gaynor does.
Capsule Stories: Your bio says that you’ve been writing since June 2019—about a year now! What prompted you to start writing?
Denny Jace: For my whole life I’ve known I will write a novel, I just needed to wait until the time was right. I didn’t realize it would take fifty years! I am a nurturer and just needed my children to be older, more self-sufficient so that I could clear space in my mind to write. I am very much learning this new craft but loving every minute.
Capsule Stories: Are you working on any bigger writing projects?
Denny Jace: I am planning my first novel, which I hope to complete by the end of this year. I keep writing flash pieces, putting off the first chapter but then, I think—what’s the worst that can happen? Delete and rewrite!
Capsule Stories: You’re drawn to writing both flash fiction and a novel, which are on the opposite sides of the spectrum word count wise! What is it about each of these forms that draws you in, despite their differences?
Denny Jace: To write the novel is my aim, but as a relatively new writer, I am “practicing” establishing my own writing style through flash fiction. I believe that whether you are writing 80,000 or 100 words, each word should be carefully selected and appropriate, each sentence should be sharp and precise, and each paragraph should pack a punch.
Capsule Stories: What advice would you give to new writers who are just starting to write and submit their work to literary magazines, as you were a year ago?
Denny Jace: Practice, practice, practice. Write and then walk away from that story, go back a day or a week later, and sharpen it up! Submit to as many competitions as possible because when you do get some recognition, you know that you ARE doing something right. It’s a great way to get your work looked at anonymously; family are too kind and not subjective. As a new writer, it’s a very intimidating world out there. We always ask the question, “Am I good enough?” Keep going—you most definitely are!