Sixty Seconds with: Maggie Duncan

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)


Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Maggie Duncan. Not only has she served a turn as judge (back in Year One), and not only is this her fourth win, but she was Flash! Friday’s FIRST-EVER winner, way back in 2012 before the contest went public. If that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is! Thanks for coming to celebrate Maggie and her writing with us today. Read her latest winning story here. Then take one minute to get to know her better!  (And PS. She’s a four-time winner, so gets more than 20 words for her answers.)

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece? I think the combination of the elements in the photo and the photo’s title had a hand, but mostly I’m a child of The Cold War, when we were certain we’d be dealing with this possibility.

2) How long have you been writing flash? More than three years now, and it’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite forms of writing.

3) What do you like about flash? I like the precision and discipline of it (I was a pilot; we love those things.); how you have parameters which confine you and within which you have to write a story that’s authentic and entertaining.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? If you haven’t tried flash fiction–for whatever reason–give it a try, especially if you want to improve your ability to compose a story under a deadline.

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? If you don’t already, follow Margaret Locke. Whether it’s humor or historical or literary fiction, she always provides a well-crafted and pristine story, and her stories are what I usually read first when I’m looking over the Flash! Friday entries. {Editor’s Note: and Miz Margaret’s on the FF 3rd quarter judge panel! SHAZAM!}

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? I do. In addition to Friday Fictioneers (which is an exercise, not a contest) and Flash! Friday, this year I’ve participated in 53 Words, a monthly flash fiction contest sponsored by Press 53 from North Carolina. True to the title, each story in response to the prompt has to be exactly 53 words. Oi!

7) What other forms do you write? I have a writing blog,, and I dabble (a very little) in poetry. I consider myself primarily a novelist, and anyone who knows me well wouldn’t be surprised at the two extremes–micro fiction and long fiction. 

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? It seems my flash fiction tends mostly toward science and speculative fiction. My longer works are thriller/suspense.

9) Tell us about a WIP. I have a manuscript just workshopped at Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop which started out as the fictional version of a true story about a Russian mole in the FBI; however, a particular plot bunny took over, and it ended up being about how a seemingly small action done for the good in the past can come back to haunt you. 

10) How do you feel about dragons? Um, even though I’ve actually written a story featuring a dragon, my sentiment remains the same as before: Tolkien and McCafferty did them best and can’t be topped. 


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