Sunday, November 6, 2016

On-Campus Flash Fiction Cluster W17--Ryan Smith

WIN QTR 17--On-Campus Flash Fiction Cluster

Instructor: Ryan Smith (instructor change from original schedule)

Instructor Bio:
Ryan Patrick Smith--MFA, University of Missouri-St. Louis
- Ryan's poems appear or are forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Boston Review, Birdfeast, Salt Hill, and other journals.
- His poetry was selected as the runner up in the Boston Review's 2015 poetry contest and semi-finalist in the 2015 Discovery/Boston Review contest.
- A chapbook manuscript, The Death Metal Pastorals, was finalist in the Diagram/New Michigan Press Chapbook Contest and is currently under consideration at other presses.
- He has been a contributing editor to River Styx, Natural Bridge, and WomenArts Quarterly Journal.
- Website:

Meeting Day/Time: Tuesdays 6-10pm
Location: LU Cultural Center Conference Room

Start Date: Tuesday, January 3

WIN QTR 17 Textbook Info (textbook info is also available in the student portal registration function and LU's bookstore website)

Course Description:
A piece of flash fiction is often explained as a story that has been “boiled down to its essential parts.” A flash story frequently depends on a fragment, a single hinging line, or a series of images to capture an entire narrative in less than 1000 words. In this course, we will read some fantastic examples of powerful flash, quiet flash, and flash that works its way into your skin through its language and oddity. We will write and workshop new work. Our goal is to create our own pieces of flash fiction with the guidance of one another and from the examples presented through our readings and prompts. We will do more with fewer words. We will give narrative new meaning and direction by focusing on how to impart all the emotion, energy, and poetics of longer prose into a smaller frame. The pieces written in this course will range from 25, to 50, to 250, to 500, and to 1000 words. Our stories will sometimes be sharp, and sometimes strive for elegance. Everything is fair game. Ultimately, the goal is to inspire one another to craft unique and vital works of fiction that are meant to be consumed in a single excited gulp.


Please note that the written part of the assignment is the same as it was for the previous instructor, but you will bring the essay to class instead of emailing it ahead of time. 

Your first assignment for this cluster consists of two parts:

1. Please prepare a 1-2 page personal essay telling me what type of prose you enjoy writing (fiction, short memoir, journalism, poetry), how you would describe your writing aesthetic, and a few of your favorite authors and books. If you are published, where and in what genres? What events in your life brought you to writing? Please bring these essays to our first class meeting on Tuesday, January 3. You may be asked to read excerpts from your essays aloud to the class.

2. Please have pages xi-6 in Field Guide to Writing: Flash Fiction ed Tara L. Masih read and ready for discussion.

NOTE: If you decide to drop the cluster, email Beth at and note whether or not you have attended class. Tuition refund/charges (based on the date the drop form is processed) are listed HERE.

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