Crafting an unapologetic magnetic voice, disrupting point of view, introducing words in another language (maybe even an invented language?) and telling a story in a non-linear or fractured way are only some of the possibilities when we write flash. This brief, urgent way of narrating stories allows us to introduce memorable characters that will stay with readers for a long time.
So how do we learn what matters? What to put into a story? How to narrate a story in a way that makes sense for our characters? How do we borrow elements from oral storytelling so we can make our work sound more like the stories we grew up hearing?
In this flash fiction workshop, we’ll learn about craft elements such as POV, voice, ways of narrating, and objects, but we’ll also dive deeper into the ways that we can make our stories strictly our own. We’ll read powerful work by writers of color and discuss what makes their stories resonate and transcend the page. During these four weeks, we’ll hold close the concepts of specificity, power dynamics, and observation to craft in as many pieces as possible and share them in a safe, supportive, and inclusive space. Come prepared to write, read closely and critically, and meet other writers. This class is open to writers of color with all levels of experience writing flash.
You must identify as a writer of color in order to take this class. The value of limiting this workshop to writers of color is to create a space where writers don't need to explain themselves or the language they choose to use, as well as not needing to subscribe to any writing tradition that is not inclusive of minorities. In this generative space, we'll be creating work for us, work that resonates with our communities. That is deeply vulnerable work. It is of extreme importance that this remains a safe space, one that serves writers and reserves their energy to create and to admire other people's work instead of having to defend their right to create.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Learn about flash fiction and learn how to generate pieces that are unapologetic and specific to the writer's personal experience
- Have fun and discover all the narrative possibilities that flash fiction has to offer
- Read as much work as possible from other writers of color and create a writing community with other writers who are developing their craft
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
This is a generative class, so the workload will be light. We will read excerpts and flash pieces in class. Every week, the instructor will give students something optional to read and a writing exercise that they are encouraged to try on their own and share with the class at the start of each session.
These exercises are completely optional and no written feedback by the instructor will be provided. However, these exercises are a great way to get verbal feedback and encouragement from peers and the instructor, in addition to helping writers develop a consistent writing practice.
Week 1: Flash fiction and creating work that sets you apart
Week 2: Disrupting Point of View
Week 3: Non-linear ways of telling an urgent story
Week 4: Memories, secrets, and objects. Narrating flash using what we treasure//Final reflections, places to send work and submitting tips
María Alejandra Barrios is a Pushcart-nominated writer born in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her stories have been published in Hobart Pulp, Reservoir Journal, Bandit Fiction, Cosmonauts Avenue, Jellyfish Review, Lost Balloon, Shenandoah Literary, Vol.1 Brooklyn and El Malpensante. Her work is forthcoming in Fractured Lit and Moon Park Review. She was the 2020 SmokeLong Flash Fiction fellow and her work has been supported by organizations such as Vermont Studio Center, Caldera Arts Center and the New Orleans Writing Residency. She's currently at work revising her debut novel.
"I liked that the instructor was very knowledgeable about all aspects of fiction writing, and especially very strong and supportive in offering constructive advice for revision. I liked that in providing published stories for us to read, the instructor introduced us to some wonderful multicultural writers I had never read before and wouldn't have known about otherwise."
"The course was a really exciting personal challenge for me. I loved meeting with a diverse group of writers every week for 10 weeks. Maria was wonderful. She really wanted to be our biggest fan. She was honest, helpful, friendly, and fair."