Flash Essays 101

a two week intensive on micro-nonfiction craft and form

October 15, 2015


“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it…” Chief Justice Potter Stewart

In this intensive two-week course we will explore both the tools and the ongoing conversation around the brief essay. You will have access to craft lectures, readings, and instructor feedback.

We will read as widely as possible in the fast-paced course (but note that you will have at least a full week of post-course access to the materials, in case you need to take your time with any of them) while exploring different components of nonfiction through prompts and forum discussions.

The first week will focus on craft, specifically how to leverage brevity and concision as related to setting, characters, and narrative arc. Week two will look at flash essays across genres: lyric and narrative, travel, memoir, and research-based. Each week, a series of prompts will offer you a variety of options for practicing the components presented as well as encourage experimentation, exploration, and the generation of new work.

As we go, we will be discussing where and how to publish this work, both in print and online.

 About the Instructor

Chelsea Biondolillo has a dual MFA in creative writing and environmental studies from the University of Wyoming. Her chapbook Ologies, featuring experimental and lyric essays, won the 2015 Etchings Press chapbook contest. She has pushed the boundaries of prose in Sonora Review, Passages North, Brevity, Hayden’s Ferry Review, NanoFiction, DecomP, Diagram, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and others. She is currently working on a lot of things, including a book about vultures that combines travel, memoir, ecology, and natural history.

“I didn’t know so many things were essays!” – former student

Go at your own pace, but generate as much as you can, and you are encouraged to post your results, marathon-style, to the class space (and give feedback if you’ve got time!). There will also be a forum available on the course page where you and the rest of the workshop group can communicate with one another about ideas, questions, and your favorite sources for inspiration, ideas, and motivation.

Apiary’s workshops are designed to provide both one-on-one instructor feedback and guidance, and a learning environment and supportive community to share in with your peers.

What you can expect

  • a password-protected space in which to share work with your workshop leader and peers
  • 2 weeks of readings, posted lectures, discussion topics and prompts. The ApiaryLit classroom model encourages but does not require peer feedback and discussion
  • “office hours” in the form of private messaging and forum responses
  • focused attention to the development and exploration of your own craft and language. This is about your work, and where you want to go.
  • a supportive environment for your writing, always.

Flash Essays 101
two week intensive

Open til October 16 (midnight PST)!

Image credit: Tommaso Meli