Whether you call it a “short-short,” “micro fiction,” “sudden fiction,” “quick fiction,” or “flash fiction,” a 500-word short story is anything but slight. Taking Flannery O’Connor’s advice that “if you can’t get a lot from a little, you probably won’t be able to get a lot from a lot” as our point of departure, we’ll devote an entire weekend to writing 500-word stories. How much can you get from a little characterization, a little plot, a little setting? Our format will be simple: we’ll do several exercises to get you writing, workshop them aloud, do more exercises, revise, write some more, revise, and workshop your best 500-word story. This is a generative workshop: no need to bring in a story beforehand. Some of our time will also be devoted to the publication market for 500-word stories. Whether you are a fiction writer, poet, playwright, essayist, or just a lifelong reader, you will leave this class with a stronger appreciation of getting a lot from a little.
Anthony Varallo is the author of This Day in History, winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award; Out Loud, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize; Think of Me and I’ll Know (Northwestern University Press/TriQuarterly Books); and Everyone Was There, winner of the 2016 Elixir Press Fiction Prize, forthcoming in 2017 from Elixir Press. Currently he is an associate professor of English at the College of Charleston, where he is the fiction editor of Crazyhorse.