“Considering her searing, funny, insightful fiction, students can be assured that Lindsay Hunter is as wild a writer, as relentless an editor and as thoughtful a person as Catapult students can get. Her experience across genre is just the beginning of the wide-ranging curiosity of her singular mind.” - Amelia Gray, author of Isadora
Some days, writing can feel like a non-starter. I love flash fiction for its insistence that you get right to it—no soft-shoeing around, no wheels spinning (unless there are literally spinning wheels in the story, which…could be cool). Writing flash helps me get in the moment, seeing and smelling and hearing. It forces me to hyper-focus on the words that make the sentences that make the images that make the world. Suddenly, I am having fun. And because I am having fun, my readers are, too. (And gagging, cringing, shuddering, laughing, et cetera amen).
In this course, we’ll write a story a week. That’s right, you heard me. I’ll assign constraints that may or may not include word counts, themes, and challenges. The idea is to get out of your head and let your fingers fly. We won’t be workshopping everyone’s story each week, but everyone will get at least one formal workshop of your assignment for the week you're assigned, plus a final one-on-one with me where we can dive deeper into any questions or issues you’d like addressed in any of the work you’ve created in the class. We’ll read some of my favorite flash writers, talk about how flash can inspire and inform longer work, and discuss what makes a useful workshop experience for everyone.
By the end of this course, you’ll have five flash pieces, and hopefully a newfound excitement about going to your desk.
- A renewed appreciation for the importance of language and word choice in fiction
- Tactics to self-motivate when writing feels impossible
- Close reading and class discussion of flash masters to help you find new ways into your own work
- Five flash pieces of your own, and ideas for what to do with them after the course is complete
- Ownership of what makes a workshop meaningful to you, and how to make it meaningful to others
Week One: Intros, what makes a meaningful workshop/class rules for workshopping, first reading assignment, and first constraint-based writing assignment
Week Two: Brief discussion of reading assignment, student-led workshop, second reading assignment, and second constraint-based writing assignment
Week Three: Brief discussion of reading assignment, student-led workshop, third reading assignment, and third constraint-based writing assignment
Week Four: Brief discussion of reading assignment, student-led workshop, fourth reading assignment, and fourth constraint-based writing assignment
Week Five: Brief discussion of reading assignment, student-led workshop, final reading assignment, and final constraint-based writing assignment
Week Six: 10-minute one-on-one feedback phone calls about each student’s work.
Lindsay Hunter is the co-founder and co-host of the groundbreaking Quickies! reading series, an event that focuses on flash fiction. Her first book, Daddy's, a collection of flash fiction, was published in 2010 by featherproof books. Her second collection, DON'T KISS ME, was published by FSG Originals in 2013 and was named one of Amazon's 10 Best Books of the Year. Her first novel, Ugly Girls, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in November 2014. Her latest novel, Eat Only When You’re Hungry, was a finalist for the 2017 Chicago Review of Books Fiction Award and a 2017 NPR Great Read.
''Lindsay Hunter is the mistress of grit, all the dirty little details that make a story feel real and sad and true.''
“Hunter's magical prose is the sort of thing that might happen if George Saunders and Gertrude Stein co-edited Raymond Carver. The stories vary wildly in pace and procedure, but each has its own visceral language that goes straight to the gut.”
“Hunter is remarkably talented at taking sentences and twining them around the brain, creating a beautiful pattern out of ugliness . . . us[ing] language as a tool to excavate our entrenched humanity.”
“I learn so much just from reading Lindsay's work alone, but I also count myself lucky to have spent most of my writerly life as a recipient of her smart, generous feedback on my own fiction. She's helped me solve problems I've struggled with for (literally) years and built me up when I needed confidence to move forward. She's exactly who you want in your literary corner.”
“You need read only a sentence or two of Lindsay Hunter's writing to recognize her place in American literature, and recognize, too, that she's earned her place the way anyone must, by serious dedication and tireless work. As a visiting writer to our MFA program, she was as thoughtful and committed to our students as anyone I've seen. This is because Lindsay Hunter, human, like Lindsay Hunter, author, believes in improvement. Which, for all the blaze and warp of her prose, for all her stories' filthy struggles and magical abjection, what lingers when we're done reading is her care. Her prose might be the stuff of waking and burning dreams, or in other words, poetry. But more than this, I see Lindsay Hunter as a wizard of grace, a believer in selves, and a natural educator.”