Part One – ‘Routes Forward’ – Course Structure

Part One – ‘Routes Forward’ is designed to get you going with a novella-in-flash idea (either developing an existing idea or generating a brand new one from scratch). Through these 8 Modules, you’ll:

– write at least 20 new flashes for your novella
– undertake 12 different exploration/brainstorming activities to deepen your thinking
– learn about the different types of novella-in-flash and what makes a successful flash fiction

understand your characters more fully and the network of relationships around them
– discover new ways to use setting and description to bring your story-world fully to life
– spark your novella’s “story-engine”
– figure out the central themes of what you’re writing.

Estimated time per Module – 3 to 6 hours of writing, reading and thinking. Seven of the eight Modules include feedback on your writing. (One Module involves feedback on your story-planning.)

PART ONE – Routes Forward

Module 1 – incl. 1st 45-minute Skype/Zoom/Telephone call – Classic Form Flash Fiction; Introduction to Different Types of Novella-in-Flash; Idea Generation/Idea Discussion; Three Articles about Creativity and Writing; General Writing Tips for Flash Fictions – 3 online articles to read; History of Flash Fiction & Definitions; “Slouch to 5k” coaching programme – resources #1 & #2

Module 2 – Brainstorming: Significant Encounters; Three further prompts for generating ideas: Timeline (a life-writing activity to generate new ideas), Historical Event (a second life-writing activity to generate new ideas) and “The Trawl”; Reading Inspiration – Essay by Audre Lorde: ‘The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action’; Optional Novella-in-Flash Case Study 1 (a classic example that you haven’t read before); “Slouch to 5k” coaching programme – ‘The Guide’

Module 3 – Thickening Your Story Soup (stage 1): Working with Character; 7 minute George Saunders video animation about tackling long-form fiction; Three writing prompts: “Home Territory”/Ordinary World; An Encounter; Personal Interests; Reading Inspiration – ‘Shitty First Drafts’, extract from Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott; “The Universal Can Opener” – a tool for getting going with any flash fiction prompt

Module 4 – Building Your Fictional Universe (stage 1): Identifying a Cast of Characters & describing Relationships through Past/Present/Future – family, intimate relationships, work, community, institutions, neighbours, friendships (and pets!); Character Archetypes from the Hero’s Journey and The Enneagram; Managing your Novella’s “Population Size”; Four Extra Writing Prompts – Another Encounter, The Ritual, Institutions, Sound FX; “Slouch to 5k” coaching programme – ‘The Soundtrack’

Module 5 – Building Your Fictional Universe (stage 2): Setting & Description incl. Randall Brown on Defamiliarized Description; Reading Inspiration – Graham Mort essay on ‘Landscape and Language’; Extra Writing Prompt – Locations; “Slouch to 5k” coaching programme – ‘The Reward’

Module 6 – Thickening Your Story Soup (stage 2): Going Further with 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; Extra Writing Prompt – Locations (part two)

Module 7 – Digging Deeper into Character (part one) – the “Radical Questionnaire”; Secrets, Hidden Lives and Contradictions; short stories by James Joyce: ‘A Little Cloud’ & Arthur Schnitzler ‘The Death of a Bachelor’ Thoughts about Contrasting Characters; Five Extra Writing Prompts – Secrets/Hidden Lives, Contradictions, Dream/Nightmare/Vision, Personal Backstory, Out of Their Comfort Zone; “Slouch to 5k” coaching programme – ‘The Cartoon’

Module 8 Optional 2nd Skype/Zoom/telephone discussion or email exchange; Feedback on a further 4 pages of completed flash fiction; Problem-Solving Surgery; Letter to your Novella; Mapping Your Novella – “Bedrock/Surface/Sky”; Creating a “Story-Engine” (part one) – for Character-driven Novellas – Threats, Risks, Pressures, Dilemmas and Problems; Writing Prompt – “A Stranger Comes to Town”; Reading Inspiration – ‘Principles of a Story’, essay by Raymond Carver; Optional Novella-in-Flash Case Study 2; “Slouch to 5k” coaching programme – ‘The Affirmation’

After Part One – ‘Routes Forward’, you’ll move on to Part Two – ‘Going Further’, where you’ll write the connecting chapters that gather your material into a coherent tapestry, as well as figure out the narrative arc of your novella.