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My Week at the Fine Arts Work Center – Provincetown, MA

28 Jul
Fine Arts Work Center

Fine Arts Work Center

Today was the first day of the week here with a brief orientation and meeting with our workshop leader and fellow classmates. The class I’m taking is Flash Fiction with Pamela Painter, an Emerson professor and widely published writer of both regular length short stories and much shorter flash or micro fiction pieces.

I liked Pam right away. We only had fifteen minutes together as part of our introduction to her class, and she led a mini lecture about the flash fiction form with some examples of the assignment she’d like us to do for tomorrow.

The class is small – right now just me and two other women, with a possible fourth classmate to join us tomorrow. I think the perfect size for a class is six people, so four (or three) is pretty small. The benefit is having more time to talk to Pam one-on-one and be able to learn as much as possible from her – something that is more difficult to do in a larger class.

View from the Provincetown Fast Ferry

We passed a sailboat on the way to Provincetown.

Our first assignment is to write the first two sentences of three different stories. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong! The first two sentences of any story are – like the last two – some of the hardest to write. The sentences need to do the following: place the reader in time and place; introduce character(s), POV, voice and conflict; draw the reader in. In some ways, the story needs to be already somewhat formed in your head before you can even begin.

Luckily for my writing, it is rainy and a bit cold (mid-sixties), so I got a big mug of tea and am locking myself in my room to write. Fingers crossed I don’t come down with a case of writer’s block!

Tracy Staedter

Science writing, editing and workshops

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