I was happy to be invited to teach two flash fiction workshops at Wheaton College this past week as part of the Evelyn Danzig Haas Visiting Artists Program. Despite a little interference from Hurricane Jose, it was a peaceful drive to a beautiful campus, and I enjoyed talking and writing with a class of talented young writers.
We worked on a writing prompt with three elements, then talked about revision, and I shared my own revision process, cutting down a much longer first draft of several (messy!) pages into the published 53-word story “An Ordinary Day, With Spin Art.” Not all revision is this radical, of course, but writing with a strict word limit as a goal can be a helpful way to learn the art of compression. Or, as the elder scribe Bob Seger put it: “What to leave in, what to leave out.”