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The SmokeLong April Intensive — Going There: Sex and Intimacy in Flash

February 13, 2023

Sex and intimacy, in every form and from every point of view, are essential parts of life and so essential parts of literature. In April we’ll look at sex and intimacy in flash with workshop leaders Christopher Allen, Megan Pillow, and Nancy Au. This four-week workshop is asynchronous and happens on a dedicated website where you will exchange feedback in small groups of around 10 participants.

Dates: April 3-30
Times: Asynchronous. Participate at your convenience
Cost: $310 ($280 until March 31)
Maximum Participant Number: 21 (working in small groups of not more than 10-11)

When you book the April Intensive, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in A SmokeLong Summer 2023 for only $150.

Purchase the April Intensive

The One-Week Intensive Modules

Module One (April 3-9): “Foreplay: creating tension and urgency in flash” with Christopher Allen

In this one-week intensive we’ll explore openings that pull readers in and keep them begging for more.

Module Two (April 10-16): “Finding The Rhythm: pacing and revelation in flash” with Megan Pillow

In this one-week intensive, we’ll examine how writing sex can add depth and nuance to the middle of a story. We’ll explore ways to write sex that help set a story’s pace and reveal key character details.

Module Three (April 17-23): “Linger: Intimacy, Endings, and Sharing Joy” with Nancy Au
In this segment, we will experiment with different ways that flash writers can craft endings that linger in the minds of their readers’ imaginations, pushing the boundaries of what endings can do. We will explore the intriguing connections and contrasts between sex, intimacy, and story endings.

Module Four (April 24-30): Editing Flash
During this week, you’ll work together with one workshop leader in a small group of not more than seven participants to discuss editing techniques. At the end of the week, you may send one draft to your workshop leader for specific feedback.

Purchase the April Intensive

Your Workshop Leaders

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 is the 2023 flash fiction judge for the Bridport Prize. He has a BA in music business from Belmont University and an MA in English from Middle Tennessee State University. Allen is a nomad.

Megan Pillow is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in fiction and holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Kentucky. She is project manager for Roxane Gay and co-editor of The Audacity (Dr. Gay’s newsletter). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in, among other places, in Electric LiteratureSmokeLong QuarterlyThe BelieverGuernica, and Gay Magazine. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her two children.

Nancy Au is a genderqueer, bisexual artist and educator with a degree in sociocultural anthropology from U.C. Berkeley and an MFA from San Francisco State University. Au is the co-founder of The Escapery, a collective of artists dedicated to diversity, and to writing and art as a form of resistance. Au’s short stories, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, and essays–which have appeared in over thirty literary journals–often center on the experiences of the elderly, the young, immigrants, and first-generation US-born characters. She endeavors to write about (and to amplify, diversify, complicate) the voices that have been historically ignored (or stereotyped or diminished or demonized) within academia and literature. She is particularly interested in exploring the lives of American-born Chinese and Chinese immigrants. Au’s full-length collection, SPIDER LOVE SONG AND OTHER STORIES, (Acre Books, September 2019), is longlisted for the 2020 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award for debut short story collection. Au is currently working on a second collection of short fiction.

Purchase the April Intensive


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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.