SmokeLong Quarterly

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The March Micro Marathon

Join SmokeLong Quarterly for the month of March as we draft a micro each day (March 1-24) with generative, fun prompts developed by Christopher Allen and the senior editors of SmokeLong. The March Micro Marathon is much more, however, than a prompt-a-day event; it’s a peer-review workshop and three competitions. At the end of the marathon (March 24), you’ll have the opportunity to enter all three competitions and we’ll choose three winners (one 100-word story, one 250-word story, and one story under 400 words. Each prize will be at least $100 (Update Feb 21: each prize will be at least $120) and feedback from a SmokeLong senior editor. Winners announced on March 30!

To undergird and prepare for The March Micro Marathon, four live Zoom webinar/workshops are included (recorded for participants unable to attend the live events either because of time-zone differences or because the date of the webinar/workshop has passed at the time of booking) in conjunction with The Smokey Winter Fête festivities.

Book The March Micro Marathon (including all 4 webinars below)


The Webinar Schedule


February 3. Noon NYC. Looking back to move forward: Using what makes us to make anew with Sara Lippmann

Available now as a recording.

Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” In this webinar, we’ll  look at flash fiction pieces that incorporate history, inherited trauma, lived experience, retrospection, and the weaving of past and present. We’ll explore some of the challenges of backstory in flash, and try out ways to capture the fluidity of time and depth of character within the confines of the flash narrative.

SARA LIPPMANN is the author of the novel Lech and the story collections Doll Palace and Jerks. Her fiction has been honored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, and her essays have appeared in The MillionsThe Washington PostCatapult, The Lit Hub and elsewhere. With Seth Rogoff, she is co-editor of the anthology Smashing the Tablets: Radical Retellings of the Hebrew Bible forthcoming from SUNY Press. She is a founding member of the Writing Co-Lab, a teaching cooperative, and lives with her family in Brooklyn.

February 24. 2pm NYC. “The Moment of Being — Why Write Flash?” with Christopher Allen

Available now as a recording.

Virginia Woolf’s obsession with her sketches and her “moments of being” is arguably the moment when the Anglo literary world went micro. Victorian literature tended to be macro: tomes of often long-winded prose (though Middlemarch is actually hilarious at times). Were Woolf’s obsessions a response to this? In this webinar we’ll look at why homing in on The Moment is at the heart of flash as we dive deep into how flash writers draft.

Christopher Allen is the author of the flash fiction collection Other Household Toxins (Matter Press, 2018). His work has appeared in The Best Small Fictions (twice) and Flash Fiction America (Norton) as well as in over 100 journals and anthologies. Allen has judged The Bath Flash Fiction Award, Micro Madness, the Cambridge Flash Fiction Award, and the Bridport Prize. He has a BA in music business from Belmont University and an MA in English from Middle Tennessee State University. Allen, a nomad, is the editor-in-chief and publisher of SmokeLong Quarterly.

March 2. Noon NYC. “The Art of 100-Word Stories” with Grant Faulkner

Available soon as a recording!

In a 100-word story, the whole is a part and the part is a whole. The form forces the writer to question each word, to reckon with Flaubert’s mot juste, and move a story by hints and implications. 100-word stories are built through gaps as much as the connective tissue of words, so what’s left out of a story is often more important than what’s included. A single sentence can serve the function that a paragraph or even a chapter might in a longer work.

In this workshop, Grant Faulkner will discuss how a different type of creativity emerges within a hard compositional limit, and how writing a story in precisely 100 words teaches a writer the fundamental craft elements of all good flash fiction.
Come prepared to write short pieces and explore the expansiveness of succinctness.

Grant Faulkner is the co-founder of 100 Word Story and the Flash Fiction Collective. He recently published The Art of Brevity: Crafting the Very Short Story. He’s also published Fissures, a collection of 100-word stories; All the Comfort Sin Can Provide; Nothing Short Of: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story; and Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo.

His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including Tin HouseThe Southwest Review, and The Gettysburg Review, and he has been anthologized in collections such as Norton’s New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, Flash Fiction America, Best Small Fictions, and Best MicrofictionHis essays on creativity have been published in The New York TimesPoets & WritersLiterary HubWriter’s Digest, and The Writer.

Find Grant online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Listen to his podcast Write-minded and subscribe to his newsletter Intimations: A Writer’s Discourse.

March 9. 11am NYC. “The Killer Micro” with Emily Devane

In this webinar, Emily Devane will explore the elements that make up micros that resonate. How do you know when a micro is a micro? How can you elevate a so-so draft to something that grabs the attention of competition judges and editors? How can you add depth and meaning by drawing on the reader’s sense memory bank?

Emily Devane is a writer, editor, bookseller and teacher based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire (UK). She has taught workshops and courses for Comma Press, Dahlia Press, London Writers’ Café and Tracks Darlington. She has won the Bath Flash Fiction Award, a Northern Writers’ Award and a Word Factory Apprenticeship. Emily’s work has been published in SmokeLong Quarterly (third place, Grand Micro Contest 2021), Best Microfictions Anthology (2021), New Flash Fiction Review, Lost Balloon, Ellipsis, Janus Literary, Ambit and others. She is a founding editor at FlashBack Fiction. Last year she was shortlisted for the Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing, and she also won second place in the Bath Short Story Award. Emily runs regular spoken word nights and teaches at Moor Words.


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High Intensity Interval Training for Flash Writers with Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Book Now!

Bring a pen, lots of paper, and your water bottle: this is a high-intensity guided-writing work-out designed to kickstart creativity, and push you into new territory, and exercise flash muscles you didn’t even know you had.

Maybe you’re stuck in a story and looking for a way to proceed.  Maybe you’re looking to generate new ideas.  Maybe your inner editor is holding you back.  Maybe you’re in a rut or have writers’ block or are just wanting to shake things up a bit.  This session is designed to tackle all these issues and help you level up your flash fitness.  Writers of all backgrounds and experience levels warmly welcome; come along, roll up your sleeves, and trust the process.