Saturday, June 14, 2014


“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” It might be said that these six words indicate merely something for sale; it might be said that they manage to convey an entire novel’s worth of loss. Very short stories, or flash fictions, have been around for a very long time. In the recent past, Richard Bausch has said that “when a story is compressed so much, the matter of it tends to require more size: that is, in order to make it work in so small a space, its true subject must be proportionately larger.”

As writers, we are always navigating how to get our story onto the page. What should we show? What should we tell? Writing flash fictions presents us with an even greater challenge because we have only so many words with which to convey so much world. The successful flash fiction, then, not only presents to us a world but lets us know what all is going on there, and why it matters.

Intrigued? Want to learn more, including how to craft your own flash fiction? Then make sure to attend Chad’s workshop June 26-28th at the David R. Collins Writer’s Conference at McCarthy Hall on the St. Ambrose University campus in Davenport, Iowa.  Attendees will read flash fictions and attempt to ascertain which elements of story the pieces contain to begin to answer questions of what makes a story a story or a flash a flash. They will also be given prompts to write their own flash fictions.

Chad Simpson is the author of Tell Everyone I Said Hi, which won the 2012 John Simmons Short Fiction Award and was published by the University of Iowa Press. His work has appeared in many print and online publications, including McSweeney's Quarterly, Esquire, American Short Fiction, and The Sun, and he has received awards from the Illinois Arts Council, the Atlantic Monthly, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. He lives in Monmouth, Illinois, and is an Associate Professor of English at Knox College.

The conference also features other three day workshops on memoir, poetry, essay, and novel. Critiques, pitches, and free evening events open to the public are also planned. Discounts are offered for MWC member and early bird (before June 15th) registrants. Click here for more details. The conference is made possible by our generous sponsors: Modern Woodman of America, St. Ambrose University English Department, Illinois Arts Council Agency, and Genesis Health Systems.

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