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An update from our fiftieth Writing Workshop with Conner Bassett

A summary of the workshop held on Saturday, November 19, plus some of the output published below

This week, Conner focused on the art of flash fiction. To begin, he talked about how influential Ernest Hemingway was during the 20th century, which led to a discussion of Hemingway's "Iceberg Theory": the deeper meaning of the story should not be evident on the surface. If a writer knows what they're doing, they should omit certain details and the reader will understand it just as well if they were there. This invites a reader to be involved in the creative act of interpretation.

Conner then defined flash fiction as a fictional work of extreme brevity that (usually) mimics the conventions of short stories. With this definition in hand, we read the following works of flash fiction:

  • "A Little Fable" by Franz Kafka.
  • "Dog and Me" by Lydia Davis.
  • "Unhappy People" by Lydia Davis.
  • "The Old Woman" by Daniil Kharms
  • "The Dinosaur" by Augusto Monterroso
  • The Hemingway baby shoes story

The Challenge: Write 10 one-sentence stories or write a one-paragraph story.

The Participants: Emma, Anushka, Penelope, Anna, Allie, Savi, Zar, Alice, Samantha, Madeline, Tate, Josh, Ella, Arjun, Russell


Five Works of Flash

Emma Hoff, 10

Lamp

An eye, glaring at the wall with tears welling up in its eyes and spilling over, extinguishing what could have been and creeping inside every corner, until a hand reaches out and undoes all the hard work.

At the Table

On top of the tablecloth sits the untouched chicken, as, out of politeness, the people have been waiting for their guest — he is hidden in the closet.

For Sale

The grass holds the sign in place, the dirt protects it, so, no matter how hard they try, their words and their colors and their smiles will always be for sale.

Diagram

He stood up and got dressed and looked at the poster on the wall and mumbled some nonsensical things to himself before looking in the mirror to give his hair a name and label his fingers.

Cactus

So many eyes and toes - all kinds of spikes and all flavors of needles — like an ad for toothpaste.

Reader Interactions

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