Sometimes our life stories might seem like a conspicuous puzzle we can’t put together, or perhaps a riddle we can’t solve. You might struggle with self-expression, feelings of low self-worth, and issues that impact your physical and mental well-being. You try so hard to put it all on the back burner but eventually you couldn’t because it’s too exhausting. Repression is exhausting. This workshop will help you use the medium of flash fiction and its different forms and techniques—stories fewer than 1000 words— to explore what lurks in the shadow of the subconscious. Transformation and healing may be generated by illuminating the conflicts hidden deep within our psyches through writing.
We’ll also explore the subconscious elements of The Shadow and Polarity by looking into voice and point of view in a story. We’ll look into attachment issues and defense mechanisms from childhood which will help us develop authentic believable characters for our stories. We’ll discover the connection between colors in the Max Luscher Test and the four major pillars/ emotions/values required for both the survival and well-being of the human psyche, after which we’ll be able to use color as metaphor alluding to setting and plot. We’ll also explore dream symbols––the language of direct communication between us and the subconscious. We’ll experiment with Mosaic flash and Hermit crab flash forms to create a dream-like surreal setting.
Week by Week
Week One: What is Flash Fiction?
You will be introduced to flash fiction and it’s different forms and techniques. You’ll find out ways to use flash fiction in particular to zoom in on a particular moment in time––a moment of loss, a moment of joy, or even a moment of revelation. Flash also offers the possibility of showcasing an entire lifetime in moments. Those moments are the world of your story. Flash fiction in particular is the one form that offers the most accessibility to delivering emotions. It’s a cross between the traditional short story and the poem, enjoying great flexibility and concision— however contradictory that might seem— that allows the writer to save time while still capitalizing on quality and depth of content.
We’ll be looking into:
1) Traditionally narrated flash
2) Hermit Crab flash
3) Segmented/ Mosiac flash
4) Prose-poem flash
5) Flash in a moment
6) A life-time in a flash
7) Polyphonic or braided flash
8) Surreal flash fiction
Week Two: Polarity and the Shadow.
The block/fear/perception of not having any new stories to tell is quite strong, but what makes a story different than any other is the narrative voice and the character’s perception. In every story there’s a conflict, some sort of need and maybe a thwarted desire.
We’ll start exploring what’s truly hindering our characters from attaining their desires when discovering the concept of Polarity. We’ll discover what it is and how it shapes the perception of our characters and reflexes through voice and point of view. Polarity ultimately leads to the manifestation of The Shadow lurking deep within our subconscious. This Shadow represents all that is rejected and repressed by our characters and ourselves as well. What our characters reject can haunt and plague them in the form of obstacles, adversaries or even chronic physical and mental illness. We’ll have reading material that can inspire us to respond to the provided prompt.
Week Three: (Character)
Where it all starts. Childhood Attachment Patterns. This week you’ll deep dive into what shapes the limited perspective of your characters. It all starts during childhood years. Attachment patterns result from the relationships your characters had with their care-taker/authority figures. Those relationships or attachment patterns can shape your characters’ personalities as adults, governing and accounting for their response to current relationships and stressors in the world of your story.
Week Four: (Plot)
How we survive. Defense and Coping Mechanisms. Plot is action or even a certain way of thought. After figuring out our characters’ attachment patterns which are expressed in the story through behaviors, attitudes and body language, we’ll start putting together how our characters cope with limitations and defend themselves in response to the induced obstacle/desire/ need they’re seeking in the story.
Week Five: (Metaphor/Utilizing Strong Sensory Details)
Colors. Colors! Colors?
Attention to sensory details allows our stories to take a life of their own, capturing the reader’s attention. We’ll focus on bringing out emotional details through the use of color symbology. Our aim is to craft pieces that reflect the world of our ongoing story and to find the means to enable our characters to start resolving conflicts.
Week Six: (The Unexpected Setting)
Dreams. The setting of a story is by far more than just time and place. A character’s inner world can be reflected in the story through a dream-like sequence, a surreal setting that might be manifested into his/her everyday life.
Who Should Take This Class
Creative writers, storytellers, teachers, healers, therapists, creative arts therapy students and practitioners, Writers planning memoirs, writers exploring Flash Fiction.
This is an online class, hosted on the online teaching platform, Wet Ink, as well as Zoom. The Wet Ink platform allows students to log in on their own time to post comments and critiques directly to authors’ works. You can also view deadlines, track revisions, and watch video or listen to audio. At the end of the class, each student will receive an email that contains an archive of all their content and interactions.
The course will include six zoom classes taking place Saturdays from 1:30-2:30 pm EST. Zoom sessions will be recorded and sent to participants who missed the session. We do a final open mic Zoom meeting where participants read their finished piece, with the goal of building community and connection. Check out our past showcase here.
The day before class begins, you’ll receive an invitation to join Wet Ink. There are no browser requirements, and Wet Ink is mobile-friendly. If you have any questions about the technical requirements, please email email@example.com.
Students should expect to spend 3 hours per week perusing resources and readings, engaging in several writing/creation prompts, and briefly responding to peers’ work. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.
About the Facilitator
Riham Adly is an award-winning flash fiction writer from Giza, Egypt. In 2013 her story “The Darker Side of the Moon” won the MAKAN award. She was short-listed several times for the Strand International Flash Fiction Contest. Riham is a Best of the NET and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work is included in the “Best Micro-fiction 2020” anthology. Her flash fiction has appeared in over fifty journals such as Litro Magazine, Lost Balloon, The Flash Flood, Bending Genres, The Citron Review, The Sunlight Press, Flash Fiction Magazine, Menacing Hedge, Flash Frontier, Flash Back, Ellipsis Zine, Okay Donkey, and New Flash Fiction Review among others. Riham has worked as an assistant editor in 101 words magazine and as a first reader in Vestal Review magazine. Riham is the founder of the “Let’s Write Short Stories” and “ Let’s Write That Novel” in Egypt. She has taught creative writing all over Cairo for over five years with the goal of mentoring and empowering aspiring writers in her region. Riham’s flash fiction collection “Love is Make-Believe” was released and published in November 2021 by Clarendon House Publications in the UK.
The Transformative Language Arts Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
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