This fiction seminar was part of Austin Bat Cave’s Spectacular Summer Seminar Festival 2020
What makes fiction flash fiction? Is it just a matter of length, or is it a matter of urgency, whimsy, deadliness? How do you innovate with a limited word count, and how do you make every word count? Is there enough space to care about things like character and plot, or are we already out of time? Brevity isn’t just the soul of wit, it has its own soul, its own mysterious properties and elisions. In an age when facts are trampled and language obliterated, there’s a sacred place for the precision, clarity, and elegance of an idea that comes across in the kind of stories that we call flash.This seminar is open to writers with all levels of experience, from beginners to fiction veterans. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try shorter forms, or maybe you’re a seasoned poet looking to dip your toe in prose. We will look at a brief history of the style, reviewing its origins and examining work by the writers Diane Williams, Vi Khi Nao, Russell Edson, and more. We’ll diagram stories, do exercises in class together, generate material, and interrogate the form.
About the Instructor
Hilary Leichter is the author of the novel Temporary. Her writing has appeared in n+1, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Bookforum, and Conjunctions. She teaches writing at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, NY.