Regularly appearing in the pages of literary magazines, flash fiction has become one of the most vibrant modes in which to write. A protean form, these extremely short stories come in many different shapes: some realistic, some fantastic, and some relying on the associative power of poetry. Whatever the case, flash fiction is a great opportunity for new writers to venture into the world of fiction, as well as a compelling venue where those with more experience can try something new.
In this class we’ll experiment with several approaches to flash fiction by writing a few new pieces each week (500-1,000 words). To get your ideas flowing, you’ll be provided with masterful works of flash fiction by published authors, which we will then discuss as a class. Next, you’ll be provided with a writing prompt inspired by that story, which will allow you to adopt its techniques as you write your own piece.
After completing each writing prompt, you’ll share your short fiction with the class and receive initial feedback, followed by emails from the instructor, focusing on your work and where to take it next. In the end, our class will aim to prove what the poet Mark Strand once remarked about flash fiction: “It can do in a page what a novel does in two hundred.”
The 2015–2016 Tickner Writing Fellow, Cam Terwilliger’s fiction and nonfiction can be found online in American Short Fiction, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, and Narrative, where he was named one of Narrative’s “15 Under 30.” In print, his writing appears in West Branch, Post Road, and Mid-American Review, among others. His work has been supported by fellowships and scholarships from the Fulbright Program, the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts.