• John Dempster

Flash Fiction Workshop with Meg Pokrass

We’re so grateful to HighlandLIT member Meg Pokrass for delivering the August Workshop twice – the first time on Tuesday to an in-person audience at the Glen Mhor Hotel, and again on Tuesday coming, 23rd August to an on-line audience via Zoom.


Meg is a leading exponent of Flash Fiction who has achieved extensive publications in the genre. And American ex-pat, she is now living here in the Highlands.


Although the term ‘flash fiction’ is recent, Meg told us, the concept of short, powerful pieces of fiction has a long ancestry stretching back to classical times.


These days, ‘flash fiction’ has been defined as a story told in under 1000 words. In ‘micro-fiction’ no more than 400 words are used. Micro-fiction deals with big ideas, big emotions. It is very close to poetry in its form – every unnecessary word has been carved out at the editing process. Meg read some examples of successful micro-fictions demonstrating the possibilities of the genre.


Meg’s main aim, she said, was to get us writing, but she also shared much wisdom from her own experience. She spoke about the need for a powerful introduction and about the importance of conflict and creative tension in the story. The micro-fiction should deal with a loaded moment, a moment of dramatic urgency – something subtle has to change. ‘Make it hard for your characters,’ Meg said. ‘Follow the trail of messy love.’ ‘Have a sense of the ridiculous and absurd.’ ‘Make use of the stuff in your life which hurts.’


She spoke about using prompt words to stimulate your thinking. Meg lets her unconscious drive the first draft, and then rigorously tweaks, shapes, edit.


And there was much, much more wisdom.


And then she set us to write – first, powerful opening lines, and then a whole piece of micro-fiction. One or two people were brave enough to read their work afterwards.


Finally, Meg spoke a little about marketing Flash Fiction. She recommended the International Flash Fiction Network on Facebook as a source of information, and the Microfiction group, also on Facebook. She mentioned the Duotrope Digest, which gives information about publishers and agents.


It was a lovely evening – we’re so grateful to Meg for her friendliness and wisdom. There was a lovely spirit of community in the discussion which followed her presentation, a warm inclusive atmosphere of writerly communion.


And if you missed this event, you’re welcome to attend on-line on Tuesday 23rd at 6.30pm. Please just email us on highlandlit.com@gmail.com for a link to this event.



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