“Going at such a pace as I do, I must make the most direct shots at my object…no more pause than is needed to put my pen in the ink.” ~ Virginia Woolf
The above quote, shared at my Central Carolina Community College workshop last Saturday, does more than express the intensity of flash fiction; it also illustrates how quickly the time passed!
Our Flash Fiction Bootcamp II did indeed end far too quickly! In fact, we were still writing when the security guard at Central Carolina Community College came around and politely tapped her watch. But me and the seven devotees (eight if you count my trusty assistant, husband Johnpaul) of creative writing could have kept writing for hours….
We opened with an inspirational reading of Liz Wride’s terrific flash, Painted, published April 11 on Milk Candy Review. For our first prompt, we riffed on her evocative first line (“They passed a law that everyone had to…..”) as a spark for our own stories. The results were both pithy and magical, ranging from “be kind to each other” or “own a Komodo dragon.” So much fun! Thank you Liz!
Other prompts included writing a flash from a favorite pet’s point of view and taking a cue from the Twilight Zone. One of our students shared a link to the opening narration so you can try this prompt on your own. We also played around with the French technique known as “N + 7″ which involves writing a couple of sentences and substituting nouns with every seventh you find in the dictionary after the original. This mode is particularly helpful when you find yourself stuck in a rut on a story. A new world can be just one word away.
The comments I received were far more than I deserved but very welcome, and the students kindly gave permission for their inclusion on this blog. “This was my first writing class,” said Mary T. “The encouragement received from Ashley was priceless and spurred me to write even more.”
“Ashley Memory is a great teacher – positive, affirming, inspiring. Love the quotes, writing tips, book recommendations.” Jeannie D’Aurora
And from Anne K., a veteran of the program, who is working toward her certificate in Creative Writing, a unique offering of the college: “Ashley’s classes always provide a terrific combination of practical information, positive encouragement and hands-on experiences. She is both a talented teacher and writer and students get the benefit of both in her classes.”
As a departure from the norm, for my next CCCC workshop, we’ll tackle a cousin of flash fiction. On Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 9 a.m., we’ll explore the exciting world of flash essays. We’ll also talk about ways to expand short memoir-style pieces into longer formats, taking cues from Susan Shapiro’s The Byline Bible.
Hope to see you in September, but in the meantime keep writing and delighting!