Detailed Course Structure

Estimated time per module – 3 to 6 hours of writing, reading and thinking (including optional tasks)

NB – What follows is an indicative outline – it may be subject to adjustment as the course proceeds.

Module 1 – incl. 1st 45-minute Skype / Zoom / Telephone call; “Classic Form Flash Fiction”; Idea Generation / Idea Discussion

Module 2 – Brainstorming: Significant Encounters; Timeline of Significant Moments; Optional Novella-in-Flash Case Study 1 (a classic example that you haven’t read before)

Module 3 – Thickening Your Story Soup (stage 1): identifying Characters & describing Relationships through Past / Present / Future – family, intimate relationships, work, community, institutions, neighbours, friendships (and pets!); Optional Character Questionnaire

Module 4 – Thickening Your Story Soup (stage 2): Setting & Description incl. Randall Brown on Defamiliarized Description; Graham Mort essay on ‘Landscape and Language’

Module 5 – Thickening Your Story Soup (stage 2 contd.): Setting & Description – Significant Objects; using Liminal Territories for transition or transgression; Setting as Texture, Subject or Catalyst (belonging / not belonging; settling / escape; searching / finding; safety / danger; vitality or ruin etc); extracts from novellas-in-flash by Tina May Hall, Gwendolyn Brooks, Martina Evans & Maria Romasco Moore.

Module 6 – Thickening Your Story Soup (stage 3): Strategies for Enriching Characters – making use of Secrets & Contradictions; identifying Values; using Contrasts between characters and within one character over time (including Metaprograms theory); short stories by James Joyce: ‘A Little Cloud’ & Arthur Schnitzler ‘The Death of a Bachelor’

Module 7 – 2nd Skype / Zoom / telephone feedback tutorial (5 pages of completed flash fiction); Problem-Solving Surgery; Mapping Your Novella – “Bedrock / Surface / Sky” ; Optional Novella-in-Flash Case Study 2

Module 8 – Thickening Your Story Soup (stage 4): Introducing Narrative Turning Points – The Arrival of “News” or Major Life Events; Changes Within a Relationship; Other Shifts in a Character’s Experiences or Worldview; Maggie Gee’s theory of “Primal Action”

Module 9 – Thickening Your Story Soup (stage 5): “Connective Tissue” – thickening the weave between individual flashes; “Connective Tissue” – Time-markers; two Sophie Van Llewynn essays on using Strange/Innovative Forms 

Module 10 – Problem-Solving Surgery; “Speaking Silences” – extracts from a novel-in-flash by Charles Lambert

Module 11 – Ways to Delve More Deeply into Character – incl. backstory, socio-historical context, interdependence; Erikson’s Theory of Stages of Development

Module 12 – Narrative Arcs: Useful Narrative Frameworks To Borrow From When Stuck (Aristotle; the Seven Basic Plots; Tony Zhou video on Opposition / Parallelism / Progression); Guidance on Writing a Synopsis; Optional Novella-in-Flash Case Study 3 (choice tailored to your project)

Module 13 – Endings: Options for Endings incl. ‘Loop’, ‘Open-Door’ and ‘Concrete’ Endings; Patricia Ann McNair essay on finding an ending: ‘Taking the Long Way’; Problem-Solving Surgery; Reflections on the Course

Module 14 – 45-minute Skype / Zoom / telephone tutorial: feedback on 15 pages of completed flash fiction + synopsis; Identifying Next Steps

Option for detailed written feedback on more than 15 pages – £4 per page for first 25 extra pages (=40 pages total), £3 per page thereafter.