OC logo


Skip to main content

Creative Writing: Form

Prose poetry and flash fiction

Subject Guide

FORM assignment

FORM--This assignment is inspired by flash fiction, micro fiction, serial poetry, and prose poetry.  Think of it as a weird interlude to your long project, or as a single separate piece of writing, or a place to tinker with alternate plot twists, or an exploration of voice.


No matter what genre you are working in, you should produce 7-15 short, numbered prose pieces (see examples, but follow them very loosely).  There should not be a plot or narrative progression, but thematic elements could be threads that tie the short sections together.  They should be experimental, surreal.  You should carefully choose the order that they appear in your final draft, but ideally, they would have the feel that they could be in any order: though related, each should feel self contained and complete by itself.



                --This is a chance to be very experimental with your voice.

                --Without line breaks, how do we know it’s a poem?  Pay close attention to language and the

                juxtaposition of the numbered stanzas.

                --Go out of your way to show that they are poems/all one poem, though they don’t look like it;     

                they should sound like it.

                --1 poem, 7-15 prose stanzas



                --These should be short, highly descriptive scenes. They will be connected, but not in a plot

progression—more like facets of a cut stone.  Each section should feel complete by itself, yet fit in with the others—in a non-narrative way.

--These could be alternate endings for a single scenario. They could be dreams, manifestations of a theme, multiple character perspectives on a single event, or pretty pictures drifting in and out of a character’s mind.

--Experiment and use your imagination.  Go against the grain of linear plot.

--7-15 numbered scenes.


Creative Non-fiction

                --These short, highly descriptive scenes should be based on real memories.

                --Consider remembering these events in a dream-like state, or work with actual dreams.

                --Consider presenting them as flash backs that could be used later in a long piece.

                --Experiment—what could be revealed through this process of presenting facets of memory?

                They should be highly descriptive and subjective.

--Consider using stories that are so painful, awkward, embarrassing, upsetting, or hard to remember that this surreal form would make them possible to explore.

--Work with flashes of memory that wouldn’t provide full scenes by themselves.

                --7-15 numbered scenes.



                --You might think of this exercise as a way to brainstorm about plot or character development.

                They must be written as a prose, though incidental dialogue may be included.

                --Try thinking of them as flashbacks or background in a screen play.  What would the camera be

                seeing?  The camera could be anywhere, not stuck on the stage, shot to shot, quickly, seeing the

                past, the future, inside someone’s mind, etc.

                --They could be monologues delivered by your characters (Have you ever seen Spike Lee

                monologues on film?)  Still, they should be presented as prose, and not necessarily identified with

specific characters.

--7-15 numbered scenes




Reminder: For next week’s assignment, you will be imitating the STYLE of another writer.  You will need to bring in a 1 or 2 page sample of that writer’s work so that we can evaluate your imitation.  Choose a writer who writes in a style totally different than your own, but in the same genre.