What I’m Learning While Prepping to Teach a Class on Flash Fiction

I am sitting with Michael and it’s our writing time. I don’t know what to write but I figure that writing anything is better than writing nothing. At least, my fingers will hit the keyboard and, hopefully, remind my muse that I am here waiting for some inspiration.

I want to go back over my Flash stories (fiction and non-fiction 1200 words or fewer) and evaluate them using new criteria that I am learning as I prep for the class I will be teaching soon called “The Craft of Flash Writing.” By using what I’m learning, I hope that I can identify what’s missing in my own stories so I can revise them and then start sending them out for publication. I think that would be a worthy use of my time when I’m working with Michael. Have a story ready each week before our writing session so that I can go through and strategically revise it during that hour and a half.

The information I’m using comes from several sources. One is Pamelyn Casto’s Flash Fiction: Alive in the Flicker. Casto has written many articles on Flash and most are compiled here. This is a very helpful volume related to all things Flash, but only if you are comfortable with typing in links to specific articles online that she references. That is the downside to a very useful resource book on Flash.

I also am reading the book Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction by Nancy Stohlman. This book is written with very short entries, like Flash, and is full of wisdom. I will definitely be using information from this book for my upcoming class and also in my own writing.

Finally, I’ll be revisiting Tell It Slant by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola. This is a treasure trove of information on writing nonfiction essays and I can use their advice for Flash essays as well. I am a big fan of Brenda Miller’s flash writing in general and am looking forward to re-reading sections of this book to use with my students who prefer writing essays versus fiction.

Whenever I teach a class, I love learning new information during my preparation process. Not only do I have current information to share with my students, but also I get the benefit of applying what I learn to my own writing. How perfect is that?   

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