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, 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 six 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.
Writers that have taken this course have published work in HAD, Cotton Xenomorph, Catapult, and other literary magazines. In the last week of the course, a writer/editor of color will visit the class to talk about being an editor, submitting work and their revision process.
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.
Our goal is to eliminate barriers and make our classes as accessible and equitable as possible. If you find that you are interested in this class, but would need a scholarship to enroll, please send an email to [email protected] by January 9th, with the subject line "María Alejandra Barrios Class Scholarship," and one writer will be selected through a lottery.
*No class on Feb. 20
Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. 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. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility.
Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.
- 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. They’ll receive written feedback by the instructor on this exercise.
These exercises are a great way to get verbal and written feedback and encouragement from peers and the instructor, in addition to helping writers develop a consistent writing practice.
Week 1: Flash fiction and worldbuilding: Creating Unique Tiny Worlds
Week 2: Disrupting Point of View
Week 3: Non-linear ways of telling an urgent story
Week 4: Fairy Tales, myths and retellings
Week 5: Hermit Crab (Postcards, instructions, labels, ads, and more!) to develop unique characters with urgent stories
Week 6: Revision as play (re-ordering, and creating opportunities) + publishing and submitting talk
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."
“Maria was such a warm, positive, and affirming teacher! She created a wonderful safe space for me to write and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn from her.”
“I absolutely adored the class and the people in it! Maria was a fantastic teacher and so enthusiastic about the craft, it was inspiring.”
“Maria was attentive, encouraging and provided thoughtful feedback!”
“Maria was such an engaged and committed instructor, I just really appreciated the ways in which she both encouraged and challenged us in class. You can tell she takes teaching seriously and dedicates a lot of energy and thought to it, which is greatly appreciated!”