Brief Brilliance: A Tool Kit for Writing Very Short Prose

Flash Fiction, Prose Poetry, and very short pieces of nonfiction prose (or Truebits) can pack an astonishing punch in a very small space. As short as such works may be, they display a wide range of possible techniques. There’s a lot that practitioners of any writing length can learn from focusing on very short prose.
This class is a reduced version of a popular course for graduate-student creative writers, so we’ll be reading five books during the seven weeks. Our primary focus will be on learning to read like writers, analyzing the successful techniques in published works, and figuring out how we might borrow those methods for our own writing. We will read almost a book a week, and students will organize a compendium of tricks, ideas, strategies, and techniques to consult long after the class has ended. This is not principally a writing workshop, but each student will have an opportunity to have one work of brief prose (any genre) critiqued.

7 Tuesdays: September 26; October 3, 10, 17, 24; November 7, 14 (no class October 31)

6:00-8:00 pm

Wordcrafters Workshop, 438 Charnelton, Suite 102, Eugene

Cost: $287

Wordcrafters Registration

This course is intended for advanced writers, but the method of instruction allows writers at any level of experience to climb aboard and get a lot out of the readings and discussions.

Participants should acquire the first book, Short, edited by Alan Ziegler, before the first class meeting. Getting all of the books in advance would be ideal.


  • Short, edited by Alan Ziegler, Persea, 2014
  • In Brief, edited by Judith Kitchen and Mary Paumier Jones, Norton, 1999
  • Flash Fiction Forward, edited by James Thomas and Robert Shapard, Norton, 2006
  • An Introduction to the Prose Poem, edited by Brian Clements and Jamey Dunham, Firewheel Editions, 2009
  • Flash Fiction Funny, edited by Tom Hazuka, Blue Light Press, 2013



Bruce Holland Rogers has published fiction in a variety of genres, traditions, and lengths, winning national and international awards for literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery fiction. He is best known, however, as a prolific writer of very short fiction, with over 400 pieces of flash fiction to his credit. His stories have been translated into more than two dozen languages, including some rather unlikely ones such as Pasto and Latvian. He was a founding faculty member in fiction at the Northwest Institute for Literary Arts where one of his favorite courses was a survey of very short literature in prose: flash fiction, prose poem, and flash nonfiction (or “truebit”). He has lived in Eugene since 1996 and has taught or done research for his writing in England, Finland, Hungary, and Japan.