Writing Flash Fiction Beginnings and Endings

Mastering the Art of Flash Fiction: Crafting Powerful Beginnings and Impactful Endings

While novel writers often grapple with the middle of their stories, flash, and micro writers face different challenges. The most daunting aspect for them is crafting clear and impactful beginnings and endings.

Writers of all levels will have the opportunity to learn from a trusted writer and editor of the form. Tommy, with his extensive experience in reading and evaluating thousands of flash submissions, is well-equipped to guide you on what will catch an editor's eye and where writers often make mistakes when crafting such short stories.

In this workshop, you’ll be provided with examples and prompts that will not only help you create beginnings that develop narrative roadmaps but also end your stories with brevity and meaning naturally.

We will delve into a multitude of ways to begin your fiction by establishing the inciting incident and the story occasion. Readers crave stories that start with and explore trouble and conflict. We’ll explore numerous ways to include story trouble and tension so your stories begin with velocity and depth.

Writers I work with often struggle to find the right place or way to end their flash and micro, so I want to share with you how to use metaphor, imagery and heightened language to bring the unspeakable to life.

We’ll look at excellent examples of story endings that don’t resort to tricks or gimmicks and are more than a punchline. We’ll find the endings that give our readers a sense of inevitability and surprise, a longing to linger long after the last period.

By the end of this workshop, you can look forward to:

  • Knowledge of or new insight on using flash/micro specific Craft moves you can use in your writing.
  • A new reading list of flash fiction examples. Plus, in-depth analysis of the craft moves that lead to excellent short short stories.
  • Four to five opportunities per class to create new writing material to use in new or existing stories/essays.
  • Four to five new prompts will be provided per class period to inspire students to create solid beginnings or endings. Students will also be given a PDF copy of the slides, including the prompts, so they can use them in the future.
  • Write in a safe and inclusive community of writers.

Your Instructor

Tommy Dean
Tommy Dean

Tommy Dean is the author of two flash fiction chapbooks, Special Like the People on TV (Redbird Chapbooks, 2014) and Covenants (ELJ Editions, 2021), and a full flash collection, Hollows (Alternating Current Press, 2022). He lives in Indiana, where he currently is the Editor at Fractured Lit and Uncharted Magazine. A recipient of the 2019 Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction, his writing can be found in Best Microfiction 2019, 2020, 2023, and Best Small Fiction 2019 and 2022. His work has been published in Monkeybicycle, Laurel Review, Moon City Review, Pithead Chapel, Harpur Palate, and many other litmags. He has taught writing workshops for the Gotham Writers Workshop, The Writers Center, and The Writers Workshop. Find him at tommydeanwriter.com and on X @TommyDeanWriter.


Workshop Agenda and Schedule

If these times do not work for you, we will provide recordings for you to watch on your own time.

Use this time zone tool to convert to your local time: https://dateful.com/time-zone-converter

Writing Flash Fiction Beginnings and Endings - Day 1

Saturday, August 10, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time

  • Flash Fiction: Its own form?
  • Learn the art of opening with context and intrigue.
  • Analyze openings and practice our own.
  • Learn the art of Inciting Incidents and Story Occasions.

Writing Flash Fiction Beginnings and Endings - Day 2

Saturday, August 17, 09:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time

  • Running out of time, room, space?!
  • Analyze endings and practice our own.
  • Learn the art of ending with metaphor and meaning.
  • Learn the art of making it linger.

Flexibility for All-Time Zones

Can't make the live sessions? No problem! All participants get lifetime access to workshop recordings, allowing you to participate at your own pace.


Course Materials and Resources

  • Openings examples handout.
  • Endings examples handout.
  • Titles examples handout.
  • PDF of PowerPoint slides.

You should enroll in this workshop because…

  • You're a budding writer eager to master flash fiction.
  • You want to impress judges with tales that pack a punch and leave them begging for more.
  • You seek a supportive writing community and critique group.
  • You are an experienced flash fiction writer who wants to learn to go deeper.

Student Testimonials

"Tommy Dean brought such energy and enthusiasm as a guest teacher in my workshop! He has a gift for sparking creativity and innovation in writers. As a gifted practitioner of the short form and a knowledgeable and inspiring teacher, he is sure to bring fresh insights and expertise to his own classes as well. I’m excited for any writers lucky enough to work with him!"

— Kathy Fish

“This was such a fabulous, generative workshop. The material for each day provided us with a craft essay that illuminated elements of the microform, readings that showed these elements in practice, and prompts that gave just the right amount of guidance—enough to take away the paralysis of sitting down to write, but not so much that it felt too limiting. Tommy’s feedback, and that of the other participants, was warm and encouraging, and worked to recognize the best in our work and build our confidence. The pieces I wrote during this weekend are some of the writing I feel proudest of. I’ve come out with a stronger understanding of structure and construction of character and desire in a small space, and I feel inspired to continue applying what I’ve learned to future projects.”

— Wendy Wallace

"Tommy Dean brings his exceptional writing and editing skills to his classes. He provides original and thought-provoking prompts and gives incisive feedback, noting how various lines in the story are working, where the story escalates, etc. His workshops attract a great group of writers, so you also give and receive feedback from them. I learned so much from Tommy’s classes and have had so many stories that originated there published that I’ve lost count. A truly wonderful and worthwhile way to spend your writer time."

— Francine Witte

"I love reading flash and recently ventured into writing it, but I felt I was missing some basics that differentiate it from other forms. Tommy Dean’s workshop filled in those blanks. His structure of written lessons with analysis of flash examples, followed by prompts and feedback, helped me understand why flash can resonate so effectively. I wrote new stories, reworked old drafts, and learned a ton. I highly recommend Tommy’s brilliant workshops to anyone, from beginners to seasoned writers."

— Lisa Alletson


Access to Our Writing Community and Critique Group

Enroll now and gain exclusive access to our writing community—an oasis for writers seeking critiques, motivation, and camaraderie. Don't navigate the writing world alone; join a community that shares, supports, and succeeds together. This VIP lounge for wordsmiths is yours FREE with enrollment!

Getting feedback on a story before submitting it to publishers is a critical piece of the process that many writers ignore.

We know this because we get countless submissions that have not been read by anyone other than the author.

Why Our Community Rocks

  • Get immediate feedback on your writing from your peers.
  • Receive motivation boosts when frustration hits.
  • Find a space to learn, share, and grow with like-minded writers.

Lifetime Access Bonus: Enroll Now!

Enroll in this course, and you don't just get a workshop—you gain LIFETIME access to our vibrant writing community for FREE.

Community Member Testimonials

“What a wonderfully supportive and helpful group! When I post a story, I know that I will receive honest and useful suggestions that only push me to grow further as a writer.”

—Phebe Jewell

“The greatest advantage to this group is that critiques and comments are kind and based on what works in the story. I'll add I've never seen a group so into good prose and kind with constructive comments.”

—Edward Kratz

“It's not the everyday writing which builds up the good writing, but receiving feedback. And this group is amazing at providing feedback.”

—Ali Hemati

“Critical but constructive comments are what helps me most, and I can easily find them here. On top of that, there are plenty of positive comments and feedback too.”

—David Batteiger

“I've had nothing but the best of learning how to write through this group. I've found nothing but support here and give back as much as I can.”

—Eva Wong Nava

“It's the best decision I've made...a safe, supportive place for writers, new or not so new.“

—Susan Wright


Exclusive Bonus Perks Await You

Monthly “Ask Us Anything” Zoom Calls: Your Access to Expert Insights

Our "Ask Us Anything" Zoom Calls are not just sessions; they're intimate gatherings where you have the unique opportunity to delve into the minds of accomplished professionals, gaining invaluable insights to fuel your writing journey.

Finnian will be our guest expert in March and April.

Why You'll Love It

1. Expert Guidance, Up Close and Personal

Join us every month for a casual and immersive two-hour session on Zoom. This is your chance to pick the brains of seasoned writers and instructors, gaining direct access to their wealth of knowledge and experience. It's not just a Q&A; it's a dynamic dialogue that enriches your understanding of the craft.

2. Forge Connections with Other Writers

Imagine having a front-row seat to conversations with writers who've walked the path you aspire to tread. It is not just an opportunity to ask questions; it's a chance to connect with like-minded individuals, fostering relationships that extend beyond the virtual realm.

3. Tailored Wisdom for Your Stories

Whether you're grappling with the nuances of character development or seeking advice on navigating the publishing landscape, these sessions are crafted to address your specific needs.

4. Recording Access

Can't make it to the live session? No worries. As a member, you'll have exclusive access to the Ask Us Anything recording archive, ensuring you never miss a moment of inspiration.

Virtual Write-Ins

The concept of the write-in is very simple and informal. We gather on Zoom, and those who are around at the beginning can share (verbally or in the chat) their writing goals for that day. Then we mute everybody, and get to work. No one will be seeing what you write, and you can turn your camera off, if you'd like. At the end of the session, we can unmute and talk about how it went.

Curated List of Literary Opportunities

Delve into a treasure trove of literary opportunities with a curated list of magazines open for submissions, thoughtfully compiled by Timons Esaias. Updated regularly, this invaluable resource includes details like the journal's name, accepted genres, word count criteria, and direct submission links. It's your personalized roadmap to finding the perfect home for your work.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have access to the course?
The course is taught live on Zoom, but we will record the sessions. After enrolling, you have unlimited access to the recordings for as long as you like.
I have another question.
Free free to reach out to Shannon at: [email protected]

Don't Miss Out!

Seize this opportunity to leave the workshop with several flash fiction drafts and a fully revised piece. Can't attend live? No worries! All participants receive exclusive access to workshop recordings.

Unlock Your Flash Fiction Potential—Enroll Now and Transform Your Writing!

Get started now!