The Very Short Story: Reading and Writing Fiction of 300 to 1000 Words
All levels are welcome. Limited to 12 participants.
The very short story comes in many guises. Tale, fable, cronica, feuilleton, anecdote, aphorism, vignette, sketch, flash, prose poem, yarn, joke—each of these may fall into its fold, as may extra-literary forms such as lists or memos. Its main characteristic is brevity. Since it can be written relatively quickly, it offers a wonderful place for experimentation. Since each word, punctuation mark, and line of white space speaks, it demands precision and invites us to hone our writing skills.
In this class we will be reading and discussing a wide variety of very short stories, from contemporary writers and writers of the past. We will be reading as writers: seeking inspiration, and looking at what these stories are doing and how they achieve their ends. What makes a story a story? What can be left out? What is the effect of omission?
Drawing on class discussion, students will write their own stories as homework and bring them to class to share. We will read them together, but we will not focus on critique; our class will be about generating work, permission to try new things, and celebrating creativity. It will welcome new writers and those with experience. Participants should end the course with a portfolio of at least eight very short stories.
For our first class, please bring in a published work of fiction of about 300 to 500 words. Be prepared to read it aloud and say what you love about it.