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WSP 346 — Fiction in a Flash: How to Write a Very Good, Very Short Story

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Saturday
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Apr 20
Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 13
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $235
Instructor(s): Ben Hoffman
Limit: 21
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Apr 20
1 day
Drop By
Apr 13
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Ben Hoffman
Fiction under 1,000 words—flash fiction—has grown into a popular genre, widely published in numerous online venues as well as several print ones. This one-day intensive workshop will introduce you to the flash fiction form and help you create and revise your own small masterpieces. We will read a range of flash fiction, from the tragic to the comic, the weird to the mundane, the lyric to the narrative, by writers like Donald Barthelme, Dave Eggers, Lydia Davis, Jamaica Kincaid, Grace Paley, and Alissa Nutting. We will examine these writers’ various strategies, as well as how traditional long-form story elements like character, conflict, setting, scene, dialogue, and plot play out in a condensed space. After considering how to sharpen our use of detail and image, we will transition into writing our own flash fictions, discussing flash fiction revision, and conducting mini-workshops. The day will conclude with a discussion of pathways to flash publication, as well as how writing a short short story can teach us about writing a longer one. You will leave with one very short story, along with the tools to further explore and write compelling flash fiction.

Ben Hoffman, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Ben Hoffman’s fiction has received the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award and has been published by American Short Fiction, Granta, and Zoetrope. His work has also been named among the Notable/ Distinguished Stories of the Year in the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy anthologies. He received an MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.