Instructor: Len Leatherwood
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Class Term: 05/25/2022 - 06/28/2022
SCN Member: $160
Class synopsisHave you read powerful pieces of flash fiction or memoir (1000 words or less) and admired how so much could be conveyed in so few words? Have you been intrigued by the possibility of writing flash? You may have already discovered the task isn't quite as simple as sitting down and dashing out a vignette or a memory. If you'd like to learn more about a type of writing that is not only popular and marketable but will also bolster your writing skills in both fiction and nonfiction, then this 5-week intensive may be right for you.
Over a period of 5 weeks, this course will help you understand the beauty of writing "short." You will learn about basic story elements and structure, the power of language, and the importance of resonance in your writing. You will have weekly Zoom meetings, reading assignments, as well as exercises. You'll experiment with analyzing what works in powerful examples of flash fiction & memoir in order to discern what techniques the writer employed. You will also discover the importance of thoughtful critique to aid your fellow writers and your own work. In addition, you'll come away with information regarding potential markets and how to tailor your work to specific guidelines.
Participants will: 1) Learn the basic principles of writing short-short fiction/memoir; 2) Understand more clearly the basic story elements required for effective storytelling; and 3) Become aware of potential publishing opportunities for short-short fiction/memoir; and 4) Create several first-draft fiction/memoir pieces (and perhaps some completed ones), along with a list of future flash fiction/memoir ideas.
Class communication methodWeekly lessons and prompts will be provided via our Group io site. Students will be asked to read information from various sources and do specific assignments related to story analysis and prompts for flash fiction/memoir. Students will be encouraged to discuss their problems and discoveries during weekly Zoom meetings. Completed assignments will be uploaded as Word documents to each student's file on the website, for the instructor and classmates to offer feedback. We will have weekly Zoom meetings from 4 - 5:30 Pacific Time on Mondays.
Week One: Introduction to Flash Fiction/Memoir This session is for introducing the flash fiction/memoir genre–what qualifies as “flash,” different types of flash fiction/memoir, a brief history of the genre, and who are some of the eminent writers who publish work in this form. Participants will read selected material, will work on a story analysis, and will begin writing story/memoir pieces prompted from an exercise.
Week Two: Basic Story Structure This session will discuss basic story elements (setting, character, plot, etc.) and how to use them effectively for flash fiction/memoir. Students will have selected story/memoir pieces to analyze and will write from a choice of story prompts.
Week Three: Keeping it Concise, but Conveying Resonance This session will discuss the concept of succinctness in creating flash fiction/memoir. We will explore various “simple” (but outstanding) fiction/memoir pieces to uncover how such short-short pieces can convey such profound impact. There will be selected fiction/memoir pieces to analyze and selected exercises to practice.
Week Four: The Joys of Editing and Revision This week’s focus will be on shifting one’s thinking from, “Oh, no, I have to re-write,” to, “Oh yes, I get to make my writing better.” We will read about the importance of rewriting and learn specific methods to make this process more positive and rewarding. There will be selected fiction/memoir pieces to analyze and an opportunity to practice revision from one of the pieces produced earlier in the workshop.
Week Five: Markets for Flash Fiction/Memoir This final week will discuss markets for flash fiction/memoir pieces and look specifically at the submission process. We will also wrap up final critiques, final story analysis, and allow time for any further questions.
Class time commitmentTime required: 3 - 6 hours per week, though it's likely students will discover they want to spend more time writing, just for the fun of it.
Len Leatherwood, the Program Coordinator for SCN’s Online Classes program and current president of Story Circle Network, has been teaching writing privately to students in Beverly Hills for the past 21 years. She is a nationally recognized writing coach as well as an award-winning author. Len has published work in flash fiction and nonfiction and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her blog, 20 Minutes a Day, can be found at lenleatherwood.com.