Writing Flash Fiction

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Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
June 21, 2021 - July 21, 20216/21 - 7/214 WeeksOnlineOpenOnlineMichael Stewart
July 19, 2021 - August 18, 20217/19 - 8/184 WeeksOnlineCancelledOnlineMichael Stewart

Course Description

Flash fiction is a story boiled down to its essence, one that hinges on a single word, a phrase or a fragment. In this class we will learn by doing. We will read the work of a variety of modern authors, learning from those who have come before us. This is a class for exploring and pushing language, it is for students who want to hone, to sharpen their work, and to say more by saying less.

In this course, we'll be reading and experimenting with flash fiction. Flash fiction is a catch-all for "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'll 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 work-shopping it, but we'll 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'll 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. Students are encouraged to take risks with their 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.

By the end of the course students will feel comfortable reading and responding to contemporary flash fiction. They will develop a solid understanding of the people, ideas, and publications that make up this dynamic scene. Moreover, the students will develop their critical reading and writing skills, seeing each as a creative act in its own right.

Prerequisites: No specific prior experience or knowledge is required.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEEL0927

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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