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Course Description

“Even though it is so short, it surprises me each time I read it, which is something [...] a good piece of writing should do.” – Lydia Davis, Essays One

There are many names for writing short narratives: flash fiction, micro fiction, postcard stories, sudden fiction, prose poems and others. In this introductory course we will ask ourselves what, exactly, is flash and what does it mean to choose to write short narratives? We will challenge the boundaries of genre, expand our ideas of what can be considered a story, and explore what it means to represent big ideas while writing ‘small’.

In our eight weeks together, we will consider the short and the fragmentary and think about how to let go of some of our pre-conceptions of narrative in our writing practice. Through in-class exercises, out of class draft writing assignments and supportive workshopping, we will develop our artistic agency while experimenting with a variety of approaches to our flash. We will work towards our ultimate goal of creating a portfolio of two to three polished short-form pieces.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Identify and discuss elements and craft techniques used by different authors writing flash.
  2. Critically examine ideas of genre and what it means to choose to write short narratives.
  3. Experiment with approaches to flash applying craft techniques in your weekly writing exercises.
  4. Develop and build artistic agency through supported workshopping by evaluating feedback from your peers according to your personal creative motivations and recognizing the value inherent in the work of your peers when you provide supportive and positive feedback.
  5. Produce original flash narratives demonstrating the application of revision strategies specific to writing flash.
  6. Strengthen writing “toolkit” skills including grammar and spelling, and develop a writing practice

Course Topics

  • Introduction to Flash: Thinking Big About Writing Small
  • Embracing the Fragment
  • What If: Broadening Ideas of Genre in Flash
  • Interactive Flash with Guest Lecturer Anna Lee Popham
  • The Daily and Observed
  • Hermit Crab Flash: Borrowing Forms
  • The Feminism of Flash with Guest Lecturer Blessing Nwodo
  • Seeing the End: Timing and Continuing Practice and Process


Assessment Item Weight
Reflection Surveys(3) 5%
Class Discussion and Workshop 30%
Writing Exercises 15%
Draft Writing 20%
Final Portfolio 30%
Total 100%

Please note the course assessments are subject ot change.


  • This course is intended for adult learners who are at least 18 years of age.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.
  • You make take this as an individual course.
  • You do not have to register in the Creative Writing Certificate to take this course.

This course is currently being reviewed for inclusion in the Creative Writing Certificate as an elective course.

Sponsoring Partner

School of English and Theatre Studies, College of Arts


Applies Towards the Following Certificates

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*Course details are subject to change.


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