As you may know, as well as being a writer I run creative writing workshops at university, every now and then I may post some things from those classes! Here’s a little summary of my first seminar on Flash Fiction.
This week’s workshop was intended to be a basic introduction to Creative Writing, centred around the increasingly popular Flash Fiction style. A contemporary form of mini-literature which has experienced great success over recent years. The basic premise of the concept is to write a narrative that does not excede a few hundred words, its popularity has boomed due to the rise of digital media and increased accessibility to the internet whilst on the move.
The workshop began with a crash course in Flash Fiction, in which I spurred discussion amongst the group by suggesting the pros & cons of such a short style of fiction. Recurrent responses were the ease of accessibility, the lack of commitment to a heavy read and how the short length meant it was perfect for the bus to work in the morning. Between us we devised a situation that we could all write our own Flash Fiction from – getting ready in the morning. Before we started I made sure that the group understood the limits of the form, and how each word needed to fight for its place in the piece. For those who struggled I pointed out how they may tell a friend how their day was and what happened was pretty much what Flash Fiction achieves.
Two members of the group were willing to read their pieces aloud to the rest of us and have given me permission to post upon our blog so that we can see what a short workshop can achieve.
Feminism ruined my morning.
As the alarm hatcheted my skull, I growled into the pillow, wondering why consciousness is enforced; if they wanted us sedate, why not just let us sleep and harvest the energy? I rolled onto my feet, pleasing myself with the feline agility of my youth. My mouth tasted like mouldy cheese, old pizza… The only form of dairy I really like and it renders me un-kissable for days at a time! Lovely. Where is that bloody toothbrush? Hither, come… OI! The toothbrush peeks nervously from my washbag.
“Come here you!’
It knows it’s about to be defiled. Debased, It’s a woman.
I see it’s obvious uses before all else.
Cold fog or morning light raps my eyelids. Fuck the morning. Fuck the day. I haven’t even got out of bed. On a day off clothes are optional. But a job today. She is still, softly snoring. In peace. Metres from the bathroom on cold carpet. The mirror reminds me of the state I’m in. I rehearse the steps to living. Shower, shave, shirt, tie.
A man again… Topped off with coffee and a cigarette.
I’m a God.
Now the great thing about these two pieces is the difference between them. While they both deal with their own morning routines, they paint them in unique ways. Example 1 is bogged down in Sartrean ‘bad faith’ and dubiousness towards inanimate objects, Example 2 drags us through the awakening of an alpha male ego over the course of a few lines. That being said, we have one resolved piece and another left open. I could scrutinise these examples to death (I won’t) but they act as a testament to the validity and strength of Flash Fiction.
I pitched Flash Fiction as a writing tool – one I use myself to get the initial word vomit out of my head and get my idea upon the page. I keep a personal dream journal, and from my experience this is the best way to access those pure, visceral ideas that run riot in our subconscious. Even though it can be used as a writing mechanic, I believe that the group today benefitted from understanding it and using it. Some participants really enjoyed it and felt it was a much easier way to write, something distilled of pretence – becoming purer and more accessible to those who aren’t just creative writing students.
That’s it for this week, if anybody needs to get in touch with me whatsoever drop me a line at: