I taught my first intro level flash fiction workshop this past Saturday at the Orlando Public Library. The format of my workshop was as follows:
- Intro / what each person wanted to get out of the workshop
- Read a flash piece and discuss. The flash piece in question was Janey Skinner’s “Carnivores“, a favorite of mine.
- Based on the discussion of “Carnivores”, I created a checklist from the participants observations of how good flash fiction should behave. Here’s a picture of it. Good flash fiction should:
- Be 1,000 words or fewer
- Make what is unsaid as important as what’s said
- Make every word count
- Constantly move
- Contain a narrative arc (though small)
- Straddle the line between poetry and fiction
- Keep characters to a minimum (2-3)
- I pointed out the participants that other than the word count, these rules are meant to be broken. “Carnivores” has a lot of moving pieces in such a small space but it works beautifully.
- I then had the participants read Jeffery McDaniels “The Quiet World”. I’ve used this poem before to talk about what poetry can teach us about flash fiction. Based on the checklist, most of the participants agreed with how I saw “The Quiet World“; it functions as a piece of flash fiction.
- The second half of the workshop, I had them do Kathy Fish’s “Fifty Sentences” exercise to generate their own writing prompts and then they all ended up writing the beginnings of a first draft of flash fiction from one of those sentences.
I’m probably going to switch up the first story the next time I do an intro level flash fiction workshop but I felt like it went well.
Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit published an excerpt of my novella-in-flash 99 Stories of God With a Chainsaw. They combine lit with art. You can check out what they did with it below.
I also had a piece of flash fiction published in hence, tirade, Robocup Press’s monthly online magazine. To read all of it, subscribe to their Patreon over here.
I’ll be appearing at the Local Author Festival on Sunday, May 20 over at the Orlando Public Library from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. You can check out more details over here.