Writing good flash fiction has been defined as structuring words so that they “consume themselves like ice melting on a stove.” Bring truth to your storytelling by wielding the sudden twist, suggesting a lyrical nuance, and beginning in the middle of your scenes. Through a series of readings, exercises, and workshopping in this flash fiction course, you will experiment with capturing discrete moments in time, writing slice-of-life vignettes, and streaking the sky with comets!
Prose Collection: Fiction
Dare to write about the ordinary. Learn to craft short stories with the impact of a novel. Come read and study Dear Life, the latest stories by Alice Munro, as we examine this beloved, award-winning, Canadian writer’s “unparalleled gift for storytelling.” Try your own hand at writing your way through clarity and into vision.
Prose Collection: Richard Ford
To paraphrase The Paris Review (No. 147), Richard Ford’s much acclaimed collection of short stories, Rock Springs, established him as a master of the genre. Ford consciously concentrates on the distinctions among such fictive concerns as narrative strategy, setting, character types, plots, point of view, and dramatic structure.
This class will investigate, analyze, and inhale two short story collections from different periods of Ford’s writing career. You will also look at your own writing in relation to Ford’s in order to enhance your working knowledge of accessible fiction and add to your collection of writing techniques.
Ford continues to write award-winning fiction in part for the reader he was at nineteen, and for the language — “To me, it’s the thought that you can make something out of words, which organizes experience in the way Faulkner is talking about when he says that ‘literature stops life for the purpose of examining it.’ To be able to do that for another person is a good use of your life.”
Fiction Genres: Flash Fiction Forward (online)
In the early days of Flash Fiction, editors Shapard and Thomas wrote “Finding a good flash [is] like sighting a comet, all the more glorious for its being rare….” Begin or continue your study of flash fiction in this high-octane class. We will focus on language, scene, voice, and character, experimenting with the structuring of words so that they “consume themselves like ice melting on a stove” (Frost). Build your portfolio by combining exercises and studying anthology examples to produce stories that “find in compression what cannot be found otherwise” (Brown).
The Craft of Poetry
The Craft of Poetry will make an excellent chapter in your writing life. This class is divided into two main parts. The first will be devoted to the craft—elements of poetry—essentially the nitty-gritty of a poem: imagery, the line, form, rhythm and meter, and voice. The second part of the class will concentrate on theme and subject, including grief, family relationships, love and eroticism, and poetry of place. You will have the opportunity to design a mini-blog and participate in a mini-workshop, ending with a body of poetry that digs at the core of what it is to be human and enhances the girth of your writing portfolio.
Philip Graham, the co-founder and nonfiction editor of Ninth Letter Arts and Literary Journal, writes: “The memories we have of our lives are not a continuous narrative. Instead, they are more akin to the several arcs of a skipping stone…” He goes on to suggest that rather than having a beginning and end, flash nonfiction has a point of entry and a point of departure. Today, this is what we want to read and so, this is what we want to write!
Phillip Lopate suggests flash nonfiction essays offer “…the paradoxical effect of slowing down our attention and encouraging an expansion of the moment…” Come practice and experience this emerging and popular brief essay form, the perfect medium for experimentation, insight, and illumination!