The SmokeLong Quarterly intensives are designed to invigorate and disrupt your writing habits. Start 2023 with a tag-team of three editor-teachers passionate about the constraints and potency of the flash narrative. The SmokeLong workshops take place on a dedicated website. Each weekday you’ll receive a new writing task and work in small groups of 7 to give and receive feedback on drafts. At the end of each week you will have the opportunity to send one draft to the workshop leader for feedback.
Dates: Jan 2-29
Times: Anytime from anywhere. This intensive workshop is asynchronous.
Number of Participants: 21 (working in three small groups of 7 to give and receive feedback)
Cost: $395 — Available in the SmokeLong Shop
The January Intensive will happen in four one-week modules:
Module One (Jan 2-8): Drafting Flash: Five Techniques with Christopher Allen
In this module we’ll experiment with five techniques, each a unique way to approach the flash narrative. We’ll disrupt the way we draft and the way we think about writing the form.
Christopher Allen is the author of the flash fiction collection Other Household Toxins (Matter Press, 2018). His work has appeared widely and is forthcoming in The Best Small Fictions 2022 and Flash Fiction America (Norton) in February 2023. Allen has judged The Bath Flash Fiction Award, Micro Madness, the Cambridge Flash Fiction Award, and others. He has a BA in music business from Belmont University and an MA in English from Middle Tennessee State University. Allen is a nomad.
Module Two (Jan 9-15): “A Sentence as Clean as a Bone: Toward Writing Truth” with Denne Michele Norris
Amy Hempel says “I do feel that if you can write one good sentence, and then another good sentence, and then another, you end up with a good story.” James Baldwin says “You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal.” The novelist Taiye Selasi often says that the only standards she holds herself to, when writing fiction, are truth and beauty. Through several close readings and writing exercises, we will explore voice and lyricism as well as what, really, is a clean sentence, and what is the purpose of that cleanliness—particularly as it pertains to flash fiction. Together we will shape sentences, personify characters, and refine the building blocks for brief writing that maximizes emotional and political heft in the writers’ quest toward writing truth and writing it beautifully.
Denne Michele Norris is the editor-in-chief of Electric Literature, winner of the 2022 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize, where she is the first Black, openly trans woman to helm a major literary publication. A 2021 Out100 Honoree, her writing has been supported by MacDowell, the Tin House Summer Workshop, The Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction, and VCCA, and her short stories appear in McSweeney’s, American Short Fiction, SmokeLong Quarterly, and others. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a finalist for the 2018 Best Small Fictions Prize, and co-hosts the critically acclaimed podcast Food 4 Thot. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.
Module Three (Jan 16-22) — “Writing Black Comedy” with Elisabeth Ingram Wallace
Humour is what happens when we tell the truth more quickly and more directly than people are used to. We are going to write flash fiction that is jangly with honesty, by playing with tightly observed fragments, and taking risks with juxtaposition. We won’t worry about the ‘why’, we’ll write towards energy, and figure everything else out later.
Elisabeth Ingram Wallace is the winner of The Mogford Short Story Prize, the Kaleidoscope ‘Writing the Future’ prize, and a Scottish Book Trust ‘New Writers Award’. Her stories have been published in SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Barrelhouse, and many anthologies, including Best Microfiction 2021. Her flash has won competitions at The Forge Literary Magazine, Fractured Lit, TSS, and the Quiet Man Dave prize at Manchester Metropolitan University. Most recently, her 1000 word story ‘Opsnizing Dad’ was made into an opera, and nominated for an Ivor Novello Award.
Module Four (Jan 23-29): Editing Flash
In the last week, each workshop leader will work with a small group of participants, discussing editing techniques and second drafts of narratives written in the previous three modules.