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Meet the Teaching Artist: Writing Advanced Flash Fiction with Tommy Dean

by Writing Workshops Staff

2 months ago

Meet the Teaching Artist: Writing Advanced Flash Fiction with Tommy Dean

by Writing Workshops Staff

2 months ago

We're excited to announce a new advanced flash fiction workshop led by Tommy Dean. As the Editor-in-Chief at both Fractured Lit and Uncharted Magazine, Dean brings a wealth of expertise and insight to the art of compact storytelling. His accolades include two celebrated chapbooks, Special Like the People on TV and Covenants, as well as the collection Hollows. His work has been published in numerous literary magazines, including Best Microfiction and Best Small Fiction.

Tommy's students have published work in SmokeLong Quarterly, Pithead Chapel, Maudlin House, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, New World Writing, Fictive Dream, 2021 Wigleaf Top 50 longlist, WOW! Women on Writing Spring 2021 Flash Fiction Contest winner, Bending Genres, jmww, Best Small Fictions 2021, The Los Angeles Review, Longleaf Review, and elsewhere.

Dean's upcoming Advanced Flash Fiction Workshop: Adding Depth and Urgency is designed to cater to flash writers who want to take their work to the next level. These generative workshops employ a prompt-based approach, drawing inspiration from some of the most influential writers in the flash and micro-story genres.

Students will explore the nuances of crafting short fiction that starts quickly, utilizes an economical use of language, and leaves a lasting impact. Whether you're battling the blank page or looking to sharpen your storytelling skills, Tommy Dean's advanced workshop offers a path to mastering the art of flash fiction.

Hi, Tommy. Please introduce yourself to our audience.

I love the flash form the way others love their favorite sports teams. My favorite part of writing is starting with a great first line. I love breaking down stories and finding out how they work, and sharing that with other writers.

What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft? Or is this just your jam and you love it?

I'm constantly trying to add more brevity, more compression to my own writing and the more moves I learn about the more i want to share them with other writers. Each flash or micro story is a puzzle first for the writer and then hopefully for the reader. I love breaking down fantastic stories to figure out how they work and how we can apply these moves to our own writing. I love finding the intersections between story and poetry.

Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?

All of my courses have excellent model texts, my attempts to show how these stories were created, how craft moves can be taken from these models and applied to our own stories. I love creating multi-point prompts that allow writers to dream up new stories. Students will receive not only positive and helpful feedback, but also places and ways they can improve their current story and things they write in the future. My favorite part is that students can use these skills across multiple forms of writing and find the resonance their readers want!

What was your first literary crush?

Is it cliche to say Raymond Carver stories?

What are you currently reading?

Murtagh by Christopher Paolini 

How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?

My next story often starts by hearing the first line repeat in my mind or an image comes to my imagination. I often allow myself to focus on one flash or micro at a time and I try to get to the computer as soon as I'm inspired!

Where do you find inspiration?

Every day interactions with people, my family, mixed with a bit of memory, and a dash of my central fears. If it's been awhile since I've written, I might look for a piece of art or photography to jolt my imagination.

What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?

Writing is a mix of patience and time, and showing up to write is the best way to give yourself both aspects. It reminds me that inspiration is great and necessary, but you can create this inspiration by showing up to write. I'm often impatient, and want to write perfectly.

What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?

Currently, The Art of Brevity by Grant Faulkner. It's the first single author dedicated look at how to write flash and micro fiction focused on seeing flash as its own unique form, with its own craft moves and sensibilities.

Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?

Laid back and positive, cheering all writers on and caring deeply about the flash form.

Learn more about working with Tommy:

Learn more and sign up for Tommy's Advanced Flash Fiction Workshop: Adding Depth and Urgency 8-Week Online Workshop.

Instructor Tommy Dean is the author of two flash fiction chapbooks Special Like the People on TV (Redbird Chapbooks, 2014) and Covenants (ELJ Editions, 2021), and a full flash collection, Hollows (Alternating Current Press, 2022). He lives in Indiana, where he currently is the Editor at Fractured Lit and Uncharted Magazine. A recipient of the 2019 Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction, his writing can be found in Best Microfiction 2019, 2020, 2023, Best Small Fiction 2019 and 2022. His work has been published in Monkeybicycle, Laurel Review, Moon City Review, Pithead Chapel, New Flash Fiction Review, and many other litmags. He has taught writing workshops for the Gotham Writers Workshop, the Barrelhouse Conversations and Connections conference, and The Writers Workshop. Find him at and on Twitter @TommyDeanWriter. 


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