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The SmokeLong Online Flash Workshop – April 5-May 23!

February 8, 2021

This workshop is now sold out. If you would like to be on our mailing list to receive information about future workshops, please send us an email at editors@smokelong.com. 


We’re thrilled to be able to announce the next SmokeLong Online Flash Workshop. This seven-week course with three workshop leaders, each leading a two-week module, will take place April 5-May 23! This workshop is asynchronous, so you can participate from anywhere in the world.

At a Glance:

Dates: April 5-May 23

Workshop Leaders: Christopher Allen, Amber Sparks, Helen Rye

Cost: $340 (please send an email to editors@smokelong.com for payment details)

Space limited to 20 participants (peer reviewing in small groups of 4-5)


The Modules:

Module One: “The Energy of Flash” with Christopher Allen

Regardless of whether a flash narrative is fiction, nonfiction or hybrid, the prose still needs to read with the energy and urgency of flash. In this module we’ll look at narrative structures, from macro to micro, as we focus on nailing the sound of the flash narrative.

Module Two: “Get Uncomfortable: Leaning into Weakness to Explore New Possibilities in Writing” with Amber Sparks

We all tend to avoid certain things in writing: dialogue, setting, description, plot – whatever we feel unsure about, we tend to run hard the other way. But what if leaning into our weakness could create weird, wild, unpredictable, and wonderful art? What if your weakness became a signature move, or a gateway to a new style? That’s what we explore here, with exercises, readings, and brainstorms – we’ll figure out what we’re most afraid of and create a safe space to dig into those fears and find something new.

Module Three: “The Elusive Heart” with Helen Rye

Are you looking to find that extra layer that takes a story deeper? Conscious that there’s something missing but not sure what? You have an interesting concept, neat sentences, and yet…? We’ll work on developing stories with that elusive quality: heart.

Final Week: Editing Flash


How the workshop works:

This seven-week flash-narrative workshop is divided into three two-week modules. In the first week of each module there is a new writing task each weekday (Mon-Fri) with discussion questions and reading. Please chime in boldly! Participants will critique one another’s work in small groups of 4 or 5 participants, and these groups will be remixed each module. Please give feedback on your groupmates’ work as quickly as possible (within 2 days if at all possible). The small groups are set up as a space for peer review. The workshop leader will be active in large-group discussions in the comments section of the writing tasks and may also choose to communicate in the forum.

The Concept:

This first week of each module is designed to be full-on and bursting with words: generative, experimental, risk-taking energy; the second week of each module is a quieter week, giving the participants time to write, think, edit and breathe.

When giving peer feedback in your small groups, please keep in mind that these may be daring first drafts. Please focus on what directions drafts can take in terms of point of view, narrative focus, tone, etc. On Tuesday and Friday of the second week of each module participants will have the opportunity to send the workshop leader a draft for feedback. At the end of the seventh week, participants have the opportunity to send each workshop leader one last draft—a total of seven drafts during the workshop (two during the individual modules and one at the end of the workshop).

Where it happens:

SmokeLong has a devoted website for our workshops. Very important: Two days before the workshop begins, you will receive an invitation to join the website. All you need to do at this point is accept, log in, and create a profile. This all takes about two minutes. Then please take a day to familiarize yourself with the site. There is a welcome post that tells you all you need to know. One day before the workshop begins you will receive an invitation to join your small group.

Also very important: We think it’s important that you have a good understanding of how websites work. The SmokeLong workshop website is set up very similarly to Facebook and other social media platforms.

Looking forward to writing with you!



Workshop Leaders:

Christopher Allen is the author of the flash fiction collection Other Household Toxins and the publisher of SmokeLong Quaterly. Allen has an MA in English and has been teaching for almost three decades. His own work has appeared in The Best Small Fictions, Split Lip Magazine, Booth, Indiana Review and lots of other good places.

Amber Sparks is the author of The Unfinished World and Other Stories, and I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges, both from Liveright. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Tin House, Granta, The Cut, The Paris Review, and others.

Helen Rye lives in Norwich, UK. She has won the Bath Flash Fiction Award, the Reflex Fiction contest and third place in the Bristol Short Story Prize. Her stories appear in The Best Small Fictions 2020 and have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, nominated for The Pushcart Prize and published in many journals and anthologies. She is currently studying part time for an MA in Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia, where she is the 2019/20 Annabel Abbs Scholar.


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