Instructor Blog: Writing Short, Short Stories instructor Jason Lee Norman on the need to exercise our creative muscles and what’s in store for his workshop.
I remember hearing a story about Jerry Seinfeld awhile back. It happened when he was an up-and-coming stand up comedian and a teacher asked him to attend a class he was teaching about stand up comedy. This was basically one of those Learning Annex type classes but this one was teaching people how to become stand up comedians. Seinfeld agreed to talk to the class and told them something along the lines of: the fact that you’re all in a class like this is not a good sign.
Most comedians agree that being funny isn’t something that can be taught but that isn’t their issue with a class that attempts to teach stand up comedy. The issue is that stand up comedy (most believe) is something that comedians learn on stage. Write some jokes and get up there in front of people and try to make them laugh. Seems simple enough, right? Also seems terrifying.
This is why I’m excited to be running this workshop next week about writing short, short stories.
For writers who want to get better at their craft, a workshop like this is EXACTLY the place you should be. When you boil it down there are basically two things that will make you a better writer: write more and read more. We can get a good start on these two things during our three hours together.
I’m always wary of writer talks or workshops where nobody actually does any writing. Sure, there is a lot to learn about the business of writing and what goes on behind the scenes in the publishing world but there is even more to learn about the craft of writing.
Writing a short story is very different from writing a novel. There are different writing muscles that you need to develop when writing short fiction and we’ll talk about how to develop those muscles at my workshop. We’ll also talk about how short fiction (especially flash fiction) can offer a lot of creative freedom to the writer that you may not have thought of before. We’ll learn about the rules and then we’ll learn how to break those rules.
While preparing for this workshop I read someone say that all writers are like runners. Everyone has their distance that they are more comfortable with. There are some of us that are long distance runners and others that are sprinters and others that fall somewhere in the middle. Whether we have a natural born talent to write stories or whether it takes more work for us to create something out of nothing we all have to exercise our creative muscles every day.
I look forward to seeing you on May 30th to work on becoming stronger writers together.
Jason Lee Norman is a writer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He received his MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester at the Centre for New Writing. He is the author of two short story collections, Americas and Beautiful Girls & Famous Men and is the editor and publisher behind the 40 Below winter anthologies.