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Writing Flash Fiction 1

Course Times & Enrolment

Wednesdays from 17th April 2024 (Code CW083-303) Wednesdays from
17th April 2024 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (10 classes)
LG49 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Gavin Inglis BSc
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

Short of time to write? Only one piece of paper? Flash fiction, or the short-short story, is a popular form among writers from Borges to Brookmyre. A flash story can be completed in an hour but offers different challenges and new opportunities for publication or performance. Suitable for beginning to intermediate writers.

Course Details

Content of Course

1. Introduction to flash fiction. Defining the form, its challenges and rewards.

2. First drafts. Techniques to generate ideas and begin writing.

3. Show, don’t tell. Understanding the needs of the reader.

4. Second drafts. What is the story about? What is it really about?

5. Character and conflict. Defining an interesting central character.

6. Ghost stories. Traditional forms adapted for flash fiction.

7. Description. Making the most of a limited word count.

8. Point of view. The different options and their particular effects.

9. Specialised forms of flash fiction. Further constraints and particular formats.

10. Conclusions. Lessons learned this term and creative suggestions for the break.

Teaching method(s)

Each week will include a short lecture, discussion of sample stories and time to workshop students’ own work. A collaborative class project will run during weeks 5-9 of the course.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify the opportunities and challenges of flash fiction;

  • Build confidence in their own writing;

  • Create works of flash fiction in a supportive environment;

  • Experiment with story structure, tone, mood and narrative voice.


Core Readings

Each week students will receive a handout summarising the key issues explored that week, with suggested further reading and a potential market for their stories. The final handout contains a short reading list. 


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.