Tuesday, March 3, 2015

LU MFA Foundations: Defining Flash Fiction--Mary Anderson

What is Flash Fiction?

In 1986 the short short story reemerged in the first of many anthologies edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas. Short shorts were surfacing at the time in literary magazines such as North American Review and Sundog. A separate genre, Sudden Fiction, appeared and then a further shortening of the term evolved, and “flash was coined by James Thomas in 1992, which he defined it as being 250-750 words and debuted in Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories. Shorter than its predecessor sudden fiction, but longer than Jerome Stern’s microfiction, flash is one of the more popular terms used to reference short shorts in the United States.” (xxxvii)

The computer lured back the audience that television stole and it reduced the American attention span even further spawning online magazines and blogs publishing Flash. Plus, its “brief length makes it perfect for viewing online and on hand-held electronics.” (xxxvi)

So far, during its adolescence, sub-genres of Flash Fiction have included: “dribbles (50 words), nanofiction (55 words), drabbles (100 words), quick fiction, fast fiction, microfiction, furious fiction, sudden and flash fiction postcard fiction, napkin fiction (from Esquire online), minute-long stories, smoke-long stories, skinny stories, vest-pocket stories and pill-size stories (from the forties), pocket-size stories, palm-size stories. . .” (xxxvii)

Flash Fiction was a sub-genre of Micr-O Fiction and defined as: “a novel crossed with a haiku,” in The Oprah Magazine (July 2006). Eight stories of 300 words or less were featured, including gems by Antonya Nelson, Stuart Dybek, and Amy Hempel. (xxxvii)

Lindenwood’s Flash Fiction course in the MFA Program, along with Rose Metal Press, bring together the advice of fifty or so experts and offer a primer to its students. Flash Fiction is so much more than a story quantified by a word count. Students in the Program will develop a set of tools that allow them to use image, smart surprise and an economy of language to write and publish Flash stories that, as Robert Shapard suggests, “achieve a depth of vision and human significance without ever wanting to be novel(s).” (89)

Masih, Tara L. Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field. Brookline, MA: Rose Metal, 2009. Print.

LU MFA Foundations is a new continuing series in which our faculty members 
discuss or clarify foundational elements of the craft of creative writing.
Other entries in the series are linked here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

LU MFA Foundations

LU MFA Foundations is a new continuing series in which our faculty members discuss or clarify foundational elements of the craft of creative writing. Links will be added below as new entries are posted.

Defining Flash Fiction: Mary Anderson

Defining Creative Nonfiction: Catherine Rankovic

Sample Guidelines for Workshops: Beth Mead

On Publishing Your Work: Catherine Rankovic

For MFA students who plan to teach frosh comp: 5 Things Freshman Composition Students Need to Learn: Beth Mead

LU MFA Foundations: Defining Creative Nonfiction--Catherine Rankovic

What is Creative Nonfiction?

"Nonfiction stories that read like fiction so that readers are as enthralled by fact as they are by fantasy. The word 'creative' refers to the use of literary craft, the techniques fiction writers, playwrights, and poets employ, such as description, dialogue, and suspense, to present factually accurate prose about real people and events—described in a compelling, vivid, dramatic way."

Creative nonfiction is sometimes also called "literary nonfiction" or "the literature of witness." The genre includes autobiography, memoir, history, biography, essays, nature writing, travel writing, true adventure, true crime, and pop-culture reviews and analysis.

Recommended Creative Nonfiction Books:
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
Lee Gutkind, The Best of Creative Nonfiction (anthology)
Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit
Bell Hooks, Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood
John Krakauer, Into the Wild
Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
Frank McCourt, Angela's Ashes
George Orwell, A Collection of Essays
Scott Russell Sanders, A Private History of Awe
Patti Smith, Just Kids
Tobias Wolff, This Boy's Life
—Catherine Rankovic

LU MFA Foundations is a new continuing series in which our faculty members 
discuss or clarify foundational elements of the craft of creative writing.
Other entries in the series are linked here.

TLR5 Acceptances

We enjoyed reading so many wonderful submissions for issue 5 of The Lindenwood Review. All submission responses have now been sent, and we are very happy to announce our acceptances for issue 5, which will be published this spring:


Our Mother: A Prequel
Betty Jo Buro

Fortune Tellers
Thomas Mannella

The Dog-eared Page


Postcard from Bodega Bay, 1963
Michael Boccardo

Daye Phillippo

Communion Season
Bianca Diaz

Cara Chamberlain

Dinner at Mom's
Michael Gould

Night Light
George Bishop

Light and Dark During the Sermon
George Bishop

Copperhead, Ambler Gorge
cl calia

Learning to Paddle a Canoe
Karen Hildebrand

The Spider in My Bedroom May Be an 18th Century Privateer
John Findura

Carl Auerbach

Old Loves
Carl Auerbach

Michelle Askin

In the Rain: Lake Superior
Richard N. Bentley

Working Draft
Gwendolyn Jensen

Late Afternoon in the Shadows of the Fruit Trees
Kelly Talbot

Solvent Can
Robert Kendrick

City of Bridges
Kirk Schlueter

Paper Birthday
Jennifer Jackson Berry

Looking at Six Mile Creek
Robert Kendrick

Zenith Singularity
Joddy Murray

Alison Hicks

Killing Time
Jennifer Gray


A Bowl Full of Oranges
Carmelinda Blagg

Where's Billy?
Lawrence F. Farrar

Mother Superior
Jennifer Robinette

FLASH FICTION (Contest Winner & Honorable Mentions):

The Someone on the Roof
Genna Nethercott (Winner)

The Son of a Coal Miner
Nate Pillman

Sarah Hausman

The Final Score
Ashley Cowger

We Passed Upon the Stair
Lynn Watson

A Promise
Maria Brandt

Still Auditioning
Eileen Malone

Ernesto Pavan

What She Showed Me
Bryce Emley

Thank you to all who submitted their work. Issue 6 submissions of Poetry, Fiction, and Personal Essay will be accepted between June 1 and November 1, 2015. Details for our free Prose Poetry Contest will be posted soon, with entries accepted between May 1 and August 1. Visit us at www.lindenwood.edu/lindenwoodReview.

Friday, February 13, 2015


Who is the contact person for questions about the MFA in Writing Program?
Please contact the Program Director, Beth Mead, with any questions you have. Beth is the Advisor for all MFA students. If Beth does not have the specific information you need (regarding financial aid, etc.), she will give you the contact information for the correct person to contact.

How do I apply to the MFA Program?
Visit our Prospective Students page for details about the creative writing sample and statement of purpose, as well as quarterly deadlines for submitting these two documents to the Program Director. Students accepted into the MFA Program are given all details for full university admission (online application, transcripts, resume, ID photo, and for fully online students, a notarized driver’s license copy for identity verification). The MFA Program does not require the GRE or letters of recommendation. The creative writing sample and statement of purpose are the basis for MFA Program acceptance.

How many students are accepted into the MFA Program each year?
The MFA Program has a rolling admissions policy and is not limited to a specific number of acceptances each year. Each applicant is considered individually, and every creative writing sample is reviewed on its own merit. We are looking for students who clearly demonstrate strong writing skills, an understanding of the craft of creative writing, and a willingness to continue growing as a writer.

Does my undergraduate degree need to be in English?
No. Any completed undergraduate degree is acceptable for MFA applicants.

How many classes should I take each quarter?
On-campus students enroll in one 9-credit cluster each quarter. To accelerate their degree program further, on-campus students may also take one 3-credit online class along with a cluster. The 3-credit Thesis may be taken along with the final cluster.
Fully online students may enroll in one, two, or three 3-credit online classes per quarter. (In some cases, students may seek approval to enroll in four 3-credit online classes per quarter.) Each online class requires students to participate on Blackboard a minimum of three times per week, so it is up to students to determine how many classes will work best with their schedule. See the FAQ about full-time/part-time enrollment for information about financial aid/loan eligibility.

How many credit hours must be taken each quarter to be considered full-time? Part-time? How many credit hours are required for financial aid/student loan eligibility?
In our accelerated quarter system, enrollment in 9 credit hours is considered full-time. Enrollment in 6 credit hours is considered part-time. At least 6 credit hours must be taken each quarter in order to be eligible for financial aid or student loans.

How long does it take to complete the MFA in Writing?
Degree completion will depend upon the number of credit hours students enroll in each quarter. The MFA is a 48-hour degree program, including the final Thesis (which is taken in the final quarter of enrollment, either along with coursework or by itself), and degree completion can take from one to five years. Below are some possible completion scenarios:
- An on-campus student who takes one 9-credit cluster per quarter, and then enrolls in the Thesis along with the final cluster, will complete the degree in one year and three months.
- A fully online student who takes three 3-credit classes per quarter for four quarters, and then takes two online classes in the fifth quarter, and takes the Thesis along with the final class in the sixth quarter, will complete the degree in one and a half years.
- A fully online student who takes two 3-credit classes per quarter, and then enrolls in the Thesis along with the final class, will complete the degree in two years.

What grants does the MFA Program offer? Do you offer Teaching Assistantships or scholarships?
The MFA in Writing Program offers a grant of $60 off per credit hour for teachers who currently teach at the elementary, middle school, or high school level. Eligible students must notify Beth every quarter (when registering for classes) that they qualify for the grant, and they must provide the name of the school where they teach.
Lindenwood University offers a 50% tuition grant for students age 60 or over. This grant is processed through the Admissions Department.
The MFA Program does not offer Teaching Assistantships or MFA-specific scholarships. For information about any other grants or scholarships that Lindenwood University may offer, contact Admissions at 636-949-4933 or Financial Aid at 636-949-4923.

How do I drop a class? What is the charge for withdrawing?
Contact Beth Mead, who is the Advisor for all MFA students. Beth will need your last date of attendance (for online students, this is the last date you accessed Blackboard), and then she will fill out the paperwork to withdraw you from class.
The drop policy, as well as fees that are charged based on your date of withdrawal, is detailed in the catalog. If a student who drops a class has never attended a class meeting (or if an online student has never posted in that class on Blackboard), there is no charge for dropping. Students must contact Beth Mead to process withdrawal paperwork.

How do I view my grades/schedule/transcripts/account ledger/student email?
Student grades are not mailed out. Grades, along with other student information, including class schedule, unofficial transcripts, and account ledger, can be viewed through your student portal. Student email is accessed through a student’s Lionmail account. New students will have access to their student portal and Lionmail after they have registered for classes.

How do I register for classes?
Read the instructions for MFA class registration HERE.

What if I don’t see my question listed here?
Visit the links below for more program information, and contact Beth Mead, the MFA Program Director, at bmead@lindenwood.edu or 636-949-4524.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Calls for Submission -- Send a FB friend request to Lindenwood Writing-Program

Calls for submission and literary events are posted on Facebook through our program account. Send a friend request to Lindenwood Writing-Program if you'd like to see these posts on your wall. We also have a FB page at www.facebook.com/LindenwoodMFAWriting (general program info) and a page for The Lindenwood Review, our literary journal.

Below are two recent calls posted on FB:

Monday, February 2, 2015

Spring Quarter 2015 LU MFA Class Schedule

Current MFA students:
Click HERE to view registration instructions.

Creative Writing for the MFA
Instructor: Kelli Allen
Wednesdays 6-10pm beginning April 8
Room: LUCC Conference Room
Read the full Cluster First Assignment post HERE

Online classes can be accessed as of Sun. April 12
First assignment post due by Mon. April 13 at 11:59pm
Read the full First Assignment info post for online classes HERE
Click on each course title below for detailed class info
Instructor bios are here

Fundamentals of Contemporary Fiction / Wm. Anthony Connolly (craft) -- FULL

Focused Fiction Workshop: George Saunders / Zachary Vickers (workshop/literature)

The Prose Collection: Raymond Carver / Mary Anderson (literature/craft)

Genre Fiction Workshop: Focused Sci-Fi Workshop / Kelli Allen (workshop/craft) -- FULL

Genre Fiction as Literature: Young Adult Literature / Beth Mead (literature) -- FULL

Narrative Journalism / Tony D'Souza (workshop/craft)

The Personal Essay (workshop/craft) / Andrew Pryor (section OL1) / David Hollingsworth (OL2) -- both sections FULL

The Long Poem / Scott Berzon (craft/workshop)

Prose Poetry / Eve Jones (workshop/craft) -- FULL

Selected Emphases in Poetry: Sylvia Plath & the Tarot / Julia Gordon-Bramer (literature/craft)

Special Topics: Manuscript Preparation and Publication / Catherine Rankovic (craft/workshop)
    Section OL1: Publishing Your Novel
    Section OL2: Publishing Your Collection of Stories, Essays, or Poems