*SRSmith's Workshop: Flash Fiction
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In this news article: Results of SparrowSong’s Workshop on Sound Devices |:star: SRSmith’s Workshop: Flash Fiction :star:|Workshop hosts wanted |First time you have heard to Writers-Workshop? This section is for you!

Results of the Sound Devices Workshop!

A word from Writers-Workshop ...

This was possibly one of the most successful workshops we have had recently on here. Not because of the volume of entries, but the wonderful amount of critique and feedback being shared between members as well as the encouragement and positivity was a delight to see. In particular we had some excellent critiques from PunknEra, RickDanger and Queen-of-Marigold. We love this kind of enthusiasm, keep it up guys!

We also wanted to address the task this time. It is workshops like these which aid you as writers to focus on a specific layer to your writing. Many of these techniques and layers when brought together can really solidify a poem, and this was no different. As writers, we often tend to focus on what we read, what words are before us, and therefore forget sometimes how they sound. This is a chance now for you to take any piece of writing and read it aloud. See how the spoken word form can transform your piece. Perhaps in the future, you could consider submitting your work to lit zines such as Soundzine who focus on the sound of poems beyond the word.

This is also the first free for all in which we saw no prose. It may be interesting in the future to try run this workshop as prose only, as sound can be an element in prose just as much as poetry.

SparrowSong’s response...

The results from SparrowSong are currently unavailable. Please keep an eye out for our journal updates once we have these results. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

SRSmith’s Workshop: Flash Fiction


SRSmith, real name Stephen Smith, grew up a voracious reader; from The Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, through Heinlein, Bradbury, and Tolkien, to Ludlum, le Carré and Stephenson. It was midway through this literary journey of discovery that he found Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison and William Gibson and realized that his path was going to be forever engaged in the business of the future. From computerizing the world around him, through creating solutions in code, to imagining what comes next via prose, the future is never far away.

The founder of a successful consulting and web development company, and an avid programmer and technophile, Steve can almost always be found absorbing information from print or the nets, consuming alarming quantities of coffee, and writing in either the language of men, or that of machines.

Steve has this delightful workshop for us all.

Flash Fiction

In the past few years, I've become almost completely focused on writing Flash Fiction, and specifically Flash in the SciFi genre. After writing Flash for the better part of three years, I've found a few significant benefits; first, my ability to communicate an idea in a few words is dramatically improved. Second, I'm able to edit during the writing process without breaking my rhythm. Finally, I can craft complete stories with complex ideas and subtle undertones that are short enough for people to easily read over a coffee. A unexpected benefit is when writing longer stories, I find I can communicate significantly more in fewer words than before, and I think that will make my longer works much more engaging than they might have been had I not spent so much time writing Flash.

Kathy Kachelries wrote the following as part of an essay titled What is Flash Fiction?

“The most concise and widely-cited example of flash fiction is the story Ernest Hemingway penned, allegedly to settle a bar bet: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” Despite the limitations of its length, this story, framed as an advertisement, satisfies all of the requirements of a short story: protagonist, conflict, and resolution. A reader imagines the person who wrote the ad: a parent torn apart by the loss of a stillborn or miscarried child. The reader senses the conflict: an incomprehensible feeling of loss, made all the more poignant by the fact that it is not directly addressed. Even the resolution is contained within that six-word masterpiece. By framing it as an advertisement, Hemingway allows us to see the protagonist’s coping mechanism: an attempt to distance him or herself from the loss by selling the only physical evidence that such a loss exists.

Not all short prose is flash fiction. Unlike the vignette or the prose poem, flash fiction adheres to the same conventions as a short story or novel. As demonstrated above, flash fiction gives readers a protagonist and a central conflict, and directs them to a resolution. Due to the constraints of the form, some elements can be implied rather than expressly stated, but a story that begins in media res still holds the shape of its unwritten beginning."

A short introduction to a longer story is not Flash, although it's a common mistake to make when trying to write it. Flash must stand completely on its own, with no requirement for explanation or pretext. As Kathy stated, because you have a limited amount of space in which to work, some things can be implied and left for the reader to flesh out in their own mind, however you cannot leave the reader without the necessary pieces to put together what has happened. The story must be complete.

The workshop task is to write a piece of Flash Fiction. It can be in any genre you feel comfortable in, it doesn't have to be SciFi (that's just my personal preference). Good Flash Fiction starts right in the middle of the action, develops interesting characters through the activity of the story, may have a twist or unexpected ending and doesn't waste a single word. As with any good fiction, but more-so with the shortened format, show - don't tell. Everything you need to describe to the reader mustn't be at the expense of the action or the story; make us see where the story takes place through the actions of the characters within it. If you can use a single word in place of two, do so. You don't have many, so don't waste them.

365tomorrows limits submissions to 600 words or less, and adhering to submission guidelines is an important skill for writers as well, so for this exercise, 600 words is the upper limit.

How to Submit

After submitting your entry as a new deviation or scrap, send us a note with a link to your piece. Include the subject line "FLASH" in your note. The deadline is midnight 17th September 2008. All times are set for GMT. SRSmith will respond to the entries on 21st September 2008.

A note from Writers-Workshop Please note that this is a PROSE workshop, meaning that we will accept only prose entries. Proofread your work before you send it in so that grammatical and spelling errors are minimal. And most of all, have fun with it!

:postit:On Accepting Critique

:bulletblue: Always thank the critic. This gratitude must be as sincere as possible, even if you did not like the critique given, because the critic has taken time to offer his/her opinion of the piece.
:bulletblue: If you do not like the critique, it is not necessary to mention so. Simply thank the critic and move on. You can always ignore their suggestions, while not making a scene of it.
:bulletblue: If you are unsure of what the critique means, feel free to ask the critic what s/he meant. Building rapport with your critic is one of the best ways to survive in a workshop and to learn. If you want examples, ask. Similarly, if you like the suggestions given, mention it. Critic's have feelings too. :)
:bulletblue: In the unlikely case that a critic offers rude/sexist/racist/etc comments, feel free to contact Writers-Workshop in a note and we will try to help you. A decision regarding the rudeness of the critique will be taken, and if we're not sure ourselves, we will consult with one of the GDs or anyone else high up on deviantART.

:postit: Call for workshop hosts!

We're looking for people to come along and host a workshop! Did you know that any member can partake in a workshop? If you have a good idea, then why not consider sending us in a proposal?

We ran a poll last week to find out why people hadn’t applied to host workshops and it turns out the main reason is a lack of confidence. We would like to encourage everyone to have a go, regardless of status, symbol or popularity. We’re looking for good workshops and want to ideally be booked up for the rest of the year.

So if you’re interested, take a deep breath and send in a proposal!

:postit:First time you've heard of Writers-Workshop? This section is for you.

Writers-Workshop is a literature community that focuses on the development of a writer. We intend to provide a non-competitive workshop environment on dA, as well as to push good, polished writing over winning prizes or "networking".

Workshops will be conducted every fortnight; prose, poetry and free-for-all sessions will be rotated. For more information, read our FAQs section or note us with queries.

:bulletblue: We have been working on a list of resources for our writers: Resources for Writers which we think is worth going through. We are open to suggestions as well.

:bulletblue: Our Diary has a list of upcoming workshops.

:bulletblue: You can host a Workshop , too.


:iconbeccajs: :icongaioumonbatou: :iconbatousaijin:
anonymous's avatar
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Hraesvelgr's avatar
HraesvelgrProfessional Writer
Must you constantly be motivating me, sir? It's difficult to stand back and watch my talent dwindle into stagnation when you're always right there telling me to submit submit SUBMIT. I have a hard time saying no, you see.

Ah, well. Let's see what plots I have stored within my subconscious.

*Proceeds to shuffle through a filing cabinet filled to the brim with poorly labeled folders, note-bearing napkins and faded post-it's.*
Hraesvelgr's avatar
HraesvelgrProfessional Writer
Actually now that I've come to think of it, I do wish I wasn't just making that filing cabinet up. I should go buy a cabinet first thing in the morning.
SRSmith's avatar
SRSmith Writer
With or without a cabinet with which to file, you must write. Writing must happen if you have naught but a calloused finger and a bare patch of dusty ground. It wants not for objects or times or places or things, but merely the focus of an idea upon a medium of capture.

Go forth and write, dammit, go forth and write.
Celareon's avatar
CelareonHobbyist Writer
Oh my, by September 17th? That doesn't give me much time, I better bust a move and get on with it.
SRSmith's avatar
SRSmith Writer
I'm excited to see what people come up with, and I think everyone should give it a shot. Go on, you know you want to.
TheBrassGlass's avatar
TheBrassGlassProfessional General Artist
YES! Flash fiction! Awesome!!

I'm thinking of participating. I have some experience already with this, however, so maybe I shouldn't...?
SRSmith's avatar
SRSmith Writer
Oh by all means - please do participate!
WineWriter's avatar
Love flash fiction, love this idea :)

I look forward to seeing what this will inspire!
raspil's avatar
raspil Writer
i love flash fiction. i think it is more of a sign of a prose writer's talent than if they wrote a novel.
TheBrassGlass's avatar
TheBrassGlassProfessional General Artist
It's different kinds of talents, really. I'm always impressed with the breadth and depth, and balance really, of novels. I wish I could write one. XD
raspil's avatar
raspil Writer
you can write a novel if you want to. it's not rocket science.
TheBrassGlass's avatar
TheBrassGlassProfessional General Artist
It is to me, I who have always written short, minimal things. A novel is like a pinnacle always towering, always with a long shadow, always out of reach.

And I mean, good novel. Not this junk you see most of the time. I mean like classic. I mean like George Eliot and Thomas Mann. I mean like Lewis Nordan and Jane Austen. I mean real novel.
raspil's avatar
raspil Writer
the classics are classic for a reason but to close your mind to what might be produced today is unfair and, to be honest, a little insulting. what is junk? what is a real novel? because you don't like what is being produced today doesn't mean it's not "bad". so be careful how you choose your words; i have written four novels and will write another in November -- because they aren't on the same scale as YOUR favorite writers, they're junk? and since you apparently can't even do it, how can you judge what is good or junk?
TheBrassGlass's avatar
TheBrassGlassProfessional General Artist
These are important questions, and thank you for asking them. When your fourth novel is finished, edited, and published, send it to me. It must fluor me, must break my heart. It must knock the wind right out of me. It must teach me scores about the world and my fellow human beings, must invade my thoughts avidly for years after I've read it. It must force me to face myself, to question my philosophies, to want to live. It must destroy what is and replace that with brilliance. It must be glory itself. It must be the very best thing I've ever read, the very best thing ever written. It must be so good that when you're done, in the feverish relief of having passed a creation into being, you can say, "Ah, now here is the very best thing I've ever done." And everyone who reads it, while they may not all like it or even understand it, must agree that it is a work of genius -- not just now, but forever.

Are you up to this challenge? In the face of this challenge, can you function? This is what writing is about. This is what's important. You can do it; you must do it.

Otherwise, everything else means nothing.
raspil's avatar
raspil Writer
are you frickin serious? who the crap are you to demand that of a writer? if you are incapable of doing the same, you have no right to demand that of others. no one is your clown. what if someone did do the above and didn't produce the results you are demanding? then what? have we failed you? who are you?

i doubt i will ever be published. it is not something high on my list of priorities. that said, am i wasting my time writing? you might think i am but i don't think i am and when it's all said and done, i'm going to do what i want.
TheBrassGlass's avatar
TheBrassGlassProfessional General Artist
Do what you want. If it's junk, it's junk. If it's genius, it's genius. The problem is in what we value. If we value everything exactly the same, if we value what is written just because it is written, we run the danger of devaluing everything. If everything is worth the same, then everything is worth nothing. This is dangerous.

Writers should write, but just because they can? No plot? No meaning? No point? No high aspirations? No dreams? No inspirations? Writing just because they can. If everyone wrote just because they could, we would have a lot of junk. We do have a lot of junk, but that's beside the point. I am not saying no one should write. What I am saying is that, if you're going to write, for humanity's sake, do it well. It may not be Pearl S. Bucks or Ayn Rand or Edna St. Vincent Millay or Leo Tolstoy. That's fine. But if you're starting out and you know it's not the best that you can do but that you're doing it just because you can...??? Does that cheapen the F. Scott Fitzgeralds of the world, who slaved for weeks on one sentence alone? Does that cheapen the John Grays who only allowed thirteen poems to be published in his lifetime because he knew the others weren't grand enough, weren't worthy of an audience? Are we to say that because Britney Spears has sex appeal and can sing into a microphone and shake her ass, that she is on par with the likes of Ludwig van Beethoven or John Cage? Just because I cannot write or play music, does that mean that I cannot decide that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has more value (or should have more value) to my culture , to my species, than Christina Aguilera or Eminem? What are Britney Spears and Pink giving back to their species? What grand message, what brilliance are they bequeathing to the future?

ALL things aside, none of this means that we can't enjoy Britney Spears or Backstreet Boys. They are nice diversions now and then. In the grand scheme of things, are they important? Probably not. Does it matter? Harry Potter is junk. No literary or cultural merit whatsoever. Does it have a decent story line? Yeah, alright, we can say that it does. Should it be valued for cultural or capitalistic impact? Not really. Should it be valued for inspiring hundreds of thousands of children to start reading books? Hell yes.

Why do you value what you value?
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BeccaJS's avatar
BeccaJSHobbyist Writer

Elmara's avatar
ElmaraStudent Writer
I was looking forward to a Flash Fiction workshop for ages :) :w00t:
anonymous's avatar
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