This 1-day workshop is open to writers who have already taken Hilary Leichter’s 2-Day Flash Fiction Generator, or who have some prior experience writing flash fiction and are looking to hone their skills. Students who have taken the 2-Day Flash Fiction Generator will bring the background, context, and readings from the previous class into this rigorous workshop setting. We will focus less on prompts for generating new material, and spend more time with each individual writer’s project, engaging in close readings of their work, and finding a way to strengthen and bolster each writer’s voice. How do these submitted batches of stories fit together and paint a larger picture of each individual author’s preoccupations, ambitions, and appetites?
We will spend the first part of class reading several published flash fiction pieces and prose poems from writers like Diane Williams, Rita Bullwinkel, Pu Songling, and Morgan Parker. After completing a warm-up exercise, we'll move into a workshop, taking a thorough look at each writer's stories, keeping an eye out for opportunities to expand and contract the sentences, and discussing ideas of compression, innovation, and the way desire and yearning can explode a story, no matter the size. While we will be focusing mostly on fiction less than a page in length, the tools we use to build miniature worlds are the same tools that writers can use in their poetry, nonfiction, and long-form fiction work.
- 1-3 finished flash pieces
- A critical understanding of the form and its compositional challenges
- Detailed feedback from the instructor, including ideas for where to submit the finished stories
- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Students will need to submit 1-3 flash stories to the instructor and the class a week in advance. They should also be prepared to bring handwritten feedback for their peers to the class. Workshopped stories should be under 1,000 words (no minimum length). A writing sample is required for admission for students who have not taken the 2-Day Flash Fiction Generator.
Hilary Leichter's writing has appeared in n+1, The New Yorker, Bookforum, American Short Fiction, The Southern Review, New York Magazine's The Cut, and elsewhere. She teaches fiction at Columbia University and has been awarded fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her debut novel, Temporary, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press/Emily Books in March 2020.
“Hilary and I have been in a writing group for years and all of my work is better for having had her as a reader. It’s possible I never made a better decision in life than to keep having her read my work as we moved on in our writing careers. One reason for this is how intuitively and open-heartedly she engages with work, especially work that is in progress, work that is still finding its way. The kind of work you, person reading this, are probably making right now. I think about the teachers who inspired me as a young writer and there were the established institutional professors who had been around forever, and the young exciting cutting edge artists. But Hilary has a bit of both in her. She has the wisdom about literature that makes you feel lucky to get to talk to her about it. And she has an inspired joy when it comes to creating work that spurs you to do more and do better with your own projects.”
"Hilary’s stories are bright, strange, devilish animals she coaxes, sentence-by-sentence, out of a dynamic abyss to partake in revelment on the page. Her wild imagination and sharp insight are why she’s one of my first readers, and her rigorous, reflective approach in the classroom is why she’s such a joy to teach with. Hilary is a generous, deeply creative artist and teacher who respects the original and obscure, guiding her students to discover their most essential work."
“Hilary Leichter has a special form of magic. She can turn my stories inside out and pinpoint exactly where the story should raise the reader's blood pressure or break their heart. Then she shows me how to do it in her own weird and wonderful way.”
“Hilary is a brilliant creative partner and deft surgeon. She understood the ambition of my draft and improved every aspect of the text, from narrative structure to sentence-level edits.”