Write a Flash Novel with me in July!

Write a Flash Novel (online course)

July 8-19, 2019

This class is now SOLD OUT.

7ce163b50c8d11cda50c0af6d803e41cDo you have a large, book-length idea that you’ve been wanting to bring to fruition? Do you love the intensity of FlashNano or NaNoWriMo? Then get ready: In 10 days we will create a literal “flash flood” and you will leave the workshop with the bones (at least) of a flash novel.

What’s a flash novel? With the scope and complexity of a novel, and the size and ingenuity of flash fiction, the flash novel is a new type of book, a breakout genre that can deliver a sophisticated reading experience in a compact space. In this workshop will envision, draft, collage and create the momentum for that large-scale idea you have been wanting to tackle.

Participants should come with a basic understanding of flash fiction and have ideas for a book-length concept.

Cost: $149

 

The Monster Opera this Friday!

 

In The Monster Opera, a writer travels to Mexico City in search of a new story, but the monsters are already waiting for her. The more she writes, the more their whereabouts, as well as their desperation, are revealed. The result is a gothic literary noir, a genre-bending novel-meets-libretto that combines recitative with dialogue, aria with prose, and ultimately asks the question: Who owns a story?

The Monster Opera started as a “flash novel,” a phrase coined by its writer, Nancy Stohlman, then mutated into a postmodern, compressed extravaganza that has grown into a hearty full-length production under the command of Stohlman and composer Nick Busheff. Originally staged as part of the book’s release in 2013, The Monster Opera is back for one night only, with the original cast, at the Mercury Cafe.

“It’s about a writer who steals stories,” explains Stohlman. “She steals the wrong story in search of a new story from these opera singers, and she’s telling their story and they’re trying to get it back. And they’ve been in hiding, and as she’s writing their story, she’s revealing them…. It’s about who owns the story.”

The presentation takes place at 7:30 p.m. October 30 at the Mercury, 2199 California Street. For tickets, $12 to $15, and information, visit nancystohlman.com/monsteropera.

Beyond Academia Poetry Camp!

I will be kicking off the inaugural Beyond Academia Poetry Camp! Think of it as summer camp for adults-with benefits. Four weeks of awesome and it’s FREE but you have to register. I’m teaching a 2-day Flash Novel workshop Monday and Tuesday June 30-July 1: We’re going to write a novel in 2 days! No pressure! All levels welcome. Bring pens and paper--www.loveshovelranch.com

imagesNEDERLAND, COLORADO

June 30-July 1

Beyond Academia Summer Poetry Camp

All Meat and No Fat: Writing the Flash Novel
With the complexity of a novel, the size of a novella, and the ingenuity of flash fiction, the flash novel is a new type of novel, delivering a sophisticated reading experience in a small arena. In this intensive novel writing workshop we’ll generate lots of material for your own flash novel. Come with a concept or idea for a longer work and be prepared to experiment.
More info or to register go to http://www.loveshovelranch.com

 

“The Monster Opera” reviewed by Savage Reviews

-Reviewed by Ian Chung-

Following on their first flash novel, Matthew Ankeny’s The Rink, Bartleby Snopes Press is releasing a second title in the series, Nancy Stohlman’s The Monster Opera, ‘a flash novel in two acts’. Structurally, Stohlman’s work mixes operatic libretto and sheet music with production reviews, wrapped up within a self-reflexive narrative that centres on a forbidden story. Or as the writer character of Ursula Leonard announces in the ‘Overture’, regarding The Monster Opera, ‘I hate this story. I hate the Muse. […] Now it’s a bastard deformity. Not an opera, not a novel. I wish I’d never written the first word. I had no idea what kind of monster I was growing.’

Monster Book Cover Draft (2)-page-0The first act of this flash novel thus consists mainly of the interactions between Ursula and the opera singers that she has come to stay with, tenor Libretto Santiago and soprano Magdalena Santiago (née Basco), as Ursula is seduced into writing their story. Libretto demands Ursula’s loyalty in exchange for giving her the story, offering her a final chance to ‘leave this place, leave [his] bed, leave this house and find [her]self another’. Right after she agrees to pay the price, the narrative interrupts to warn Libretto:

This is the final moment before the story changes hands, the moment your ego has done you in. You’re too infatuated to think straight, you find the prospect of becoming a character romantic and appealing, you want to be immortalized in words, you want to feel that your story is worth taking. Later, when it’s too late, you’ll forget that you gave it willingly. I warned you.

The story in question is akin to a living organism, casting its pall on the Santiago household, or as Ursula writes, ‘The whole family suffered from sad sickness.’ It is literally transmitted from Libretto to Ursula through a bite, continuing to gestate inside her: ‘The Forbidden Story grew inside of me. My breasts were stretched and sore. […] The story was growing stronger; it was swelling, transforming.’ It gradually becomes clear that what is being transmitted is really a poisoned chalice, in that it confers preternatural talent on those it infects, since Libretto received it from his father and went on to become the world’s greatest tenor, but ‘he [also] felt the monster stir’ inside him. In the case of Ursula, she writes, ‘The monster lives in me, wants to escape, wants to take over my body and mind.’

The final piece of the puzzle slides into place at the end of the flash novel’s first act, with the appearance of The Traitor, who also demands the deadly gift from Libretto. It is quickly revealed that The Traitor is in fact Ursula’s husband, Hugo, seemingly written into existence in the role by the Forbidden Story’s manipulation of Ursula (‘It’s growing on its own now’). In its second act, The Monster Opera shifts into a more surreal mode, as the walls between fiction and reality begin to break down, and the Forbidden Story writes itself towards a gruesome end for all involved: ‘The poet writhes and expels the story she is not allowed to write […] rotted, bloated chunks of paper that leave a strong odor.’

What is most fascinating about Stohlman’s work is how freely it shifts back and forth between different artistic forms, the whole package compressed into the length of a short story. Given its usage of sheet music, it would have been interesting to see an e-book produced that incorporated performances of those songs, in a similar fashion to what happens in Superbard’s The Flood. However, while Stohlman herself has acknowledged the potential of The Monster Opera as a performance piece, having done a staged reading with composer Nick Busheff and a small cast, she also sees it first and foremost as a written work. In that respect, The Monster Opera is a bold attempt to carve out a space for the flash novel as a distinct category within the fiction landscape. In doing so, the work also raises questions about how art forms like opera can sustain an existence today, as well as the sacrifices demanded of those involved in the act of creating art.

Read original review here

Purchase The Monster Opera on Lulu