In this course, we will be reading and experimenting with flash fiction. Flash fiction is a catch-all for a narrative in miniature – instead of a novel or even a short story, how can you convey a sense of character, narrative arc, and emotional resonance in 250 words? 100 words? 50 words? Flash fiction distills a story to its essence. We will explore the strategic deployment of key bits of information that will give our readers a sense of what’s going on and why. The focus of the class will be on writing our own fiction and workshopping it, but we will also read a range of people who have learned how to do what we’re trying to achieve, from fiction writers to prose poets. There will be many ways to approach the project of writing micro-fiction. We will look at what it means for something to be called a story, some different kinds of stories, and how they can be approached from a narrow angle while still giving an image of the whole.
You are encouraged to take risks with your language and ideas. The classroom should be a generous and generative space. Our goal is to inspire one another and ourselves as we construct our writing practices. We will nurture our exuberant experiments and broaden the range of possibilities for our fictions. To this end, most days, you will be assigned a writing prompt. These are short assignments meant to get you to write regularly, in various styles, and reinforce what you have learned during the week.
Many of you are very good at first drafts: the art of writing quickly in response to a prompt has been ingrained in you since your first days at school. And while that is a beneficial skill, it tends to leave your ability to evaluate and refine your work undeveloped. To this end, at the end of each class, we will workshop one of your responses to a writing prompt. Just as you will foster the ability to articulate your feelings about the work of established writers, I want you to be able to clearly identify what works and doesn’t in a first draft, to focus on what details cause a piece to drag or what aspect makes a character unbelievable, and then to able to offer constructive ways of dealing with these problems.
By the end of the course, you will be:
• A stronger, more confident writer;
• A more active reader;
• Able to constructively critique both your work and others’;
• And you will have produced a series of pieces that can be built upon later and one story that has been through significant revision.
No specific prior experience or knowledge is required.
Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.