• Home
  • Flash Fiction Forms: Exploring Elements of Craft Through Archetypes & Metaphors in Dreams, Tarot, & Fairy Tales // with Riham Adly

Flash Fiction Forms: Exploring Elements of Craft Through Archetypes & Metaphors in Dreams, Tarot, & Fairy Tales // with Riham Adly

  • 18 January 2023
  • 01 March 2023
  • Online
  • 2


Have you ever woken up from a dream, out of breath, feeling that mix of fear and awe and possibly confusion? There comes a point in life where people can no longer make sense of the chaos in their lives. Who could make sense of pandemics, economic collapses, global warming, separations, and losses? Life becomes an unpleasant dream, maybe a nightmare, but did anyone of us ever think of truly looking into what’s happening on the inside? What’s behind that state of collective neurosis? Have you ever wondered about the images you see in dreams? Are those images trying to tell us something? A story? Our story? Have you ever stopped to notice that those images in our dreams are also there in the resonating fairytales we grew up fascinated with and also in the awe-inspiring divination tarot cards?

The purpose of this workshop is to help us reach that state of catharsis we all strive for, not only to survive but also to thrive when exploring The Self, our self. We’ll explore the archetypical symbols and messages in dreams, fairytales, and Tarot cards. We’ll explore flash fiction and its different forms and techniques that offer different ways of telling a story.

We’ll find out how flash fiction recalls a moment in time building an entire narrative around it using image and language associations popular in psychoanalysis, and how flash fiction is the best vehicle to exploring The Self through the use of its concise yet expansive nature.

Week by Week

Week 1: Introduction to Flash fiction structures: How to choose the right structure/form that resonates with your subconscious emotional state.

What is flash fiction? A short short? A vignette? A one-page story? An epiphany? How does it capture the pulse of time and place in an ever so brief narrative? How is it structured? What are its forms? Can each form be used specifically according to our emotional and subconscious states to best tell our stories?

We’ll discover what makes it work as a manifested means of psychic expression and how its different forms offer different ways to tell a story whose threads start formulating after the primordial archetypes seen in dreams, tarot cards and fairy tales.

In this week we’ll also explore the importance of having a Daydream Notebook to capture images from dreams, stray memories, and fragments from the everyday life that’s somehow stayed with us. We’ll also experiment with language association exercises.

Week 2: Writing from where we dream: The segmented/ mosaic/ fragmented flash. (Character) 

In this week we’ll explore the universal symbols and associations emerging as images and motifs in dreams popularly known as archetypical images as introduced by Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung. We’ll explore how these images factor in how we view our Self, how they’re connected to our feelings, and how to use those images as inspiration to recreate our feelings through storylines we intuitively choose for our characters. We’ll use the segmented flash to create our stories for this week. Supplemental reading material about childhood attachment patterns will be provided to add psychological depth and further understanding of those archetypes.

Week 3: Writing from where we dream: The Counterpointed flash. (Plot)

At the core of every story is a character that yearns. We continue exploring the anatomy and the types of dreams which should help us identify the load-bearing points we try to either conceal or face in our daily conflicts or the conflicts we express in our stories. The counterpointed flash form will help us carve a story with different perspectives and different polarities that might reflect our fractured dualities. A Dream has its own oneiric language that helps us realize aspects of life for which it tries to compensate.

Week 4: Tarot Cards: Snapshot flash (Lifetime in a flash).  (Point of View and Perspective)

Sometimes, the only way for us to confront a truth is to summon that never-ending fast track we​ ​call life and view it in a ​blur before slowing down to examine its  components under the microscope. Having discovered that tarot cards are nothing but archetypical images representing one’s journey—or as mythologist Joseph Campbell describes​,​ “the hero’s journey”, we can use those symbols to create stories that thrust us further into the essence of our character's journey, their perspectives and core emotions. The journey could be something as subtle as small adjustments that characters realize they need to go through or revelations that are deep and internal. Last week we used snapshot flash fiction that utilized a scene or a moment as the world of the story. This week we’ll experiment with the “lifetime in a flash” type of snapshot stories. We’ll further explore more court cards such as : The Eight of Swords, The Ten of Wands, The Five of Cups and The Nine of Pentacles. This week we’ll also start to notice the similarities between the images in Tarot and those in fairytales.

Week 5: Tarot cards: Flash in a moment (The Synecdoche). (Metaphor and Imagery) 

The symbols are no longer fleeting or simply haunting a dream. They are alive and out, in color, on those awe-inspiring cards used for hundreds of years as a divination method. On close inspection this week, we’ll explore the storylines and the archetypical images in those cards and how to use the details, colors, associations to see into the depth of our own Self and use that as inspiration for our stories. This week we’ll also explore snapshot flash fiction and use this form
to craft a new story. Cards we’ll have a good look at this week will be: The Sun, The Priestess, The Fool, The Wheel of Fortune, The Tower and more from the Major ​A​rcana.

Week 6: Fairytales and Myths: Hybrid flash fiction: What If. (Setting: Changing Time, Space, and Self Axes)

This week we continue to examine archetypes in three well-known and beloved fairy tales. But this week we ask the “what if'' question, challenging those archetypes we attempt to create or re-write those fairytales using the defamiliarization technique. Can a character challenge its own archetype or will it be integrating the missing pieces in polarity and perspective? We will also use hybrid flash fiction in this week’s prompt exercise. Hybrid flash allows for experimentation in storytelling, using unconventional styles that follow no rules like writing stories in the form of a list or a recipe or even as a Q&A. We’ll go through stories like: The White Witch, The Little Mermaid, BlueBeard and more. Participants will pick one of the suggested stories for analysis as well as using it for the prompt exercise.

Who Should Take This Class

This class is ideal for people who want to discover flash fiction or plan a memoir or those who want to discover the inner workings of the psyche to better plan characters for longer works. It is also ideal for artists who use storytelling as part of the visual arts. The workshop will also appeal to people who use writing as a coping mechanism to help vent and explore their feelings and hopefully through awareness and acceptance, begin the healing process.

Participants should expect to respond to weekly writing prompts/ assignments, revisions, and to read and comment on the work of other participants. Participating in live discussions and sharing work in progress will take place through Zoom sessions. We’ll create a safe and supportive environment offering respectful support that inspires the development of every writer’s voice.

Supplemental reading material is available in each lesson. Feedback and critique will be provided to all submitted assignments. Upon completion of assignments, students should expect to have completed six flash fiction pieces by the end of this course. Tips and advice on where to submit work for open calls and contests will also be provided.

Four scheduled Zoom meetings (dates TBD) will be available to discuss concepts in lessons and to read some of the participants' works-in-progress.


Each week will consist of engaging and eye-opening lessons designed to help participants discover the inner meanings of the archetypical images in dreams, fairytales, and tarot cards. Understanding what might appear like the vague and ambiguous language of our subconscious could help us realize what’s amiss in our lives and ultimately help us craft powerful stories.

Lessons will be shared via online teaching platform, Wet Ink, as well as via Zoom. The Wet Ink platform allows students to log in on their own time to post comments and critiques directly to authors’ works. You can also view deadlines, track revisions, and watch video or listen to audio. At the end of the class, each student will receive an email that contains an archive of all their content and interactions. 

The day before class begins, you’ll receive an invitation to join Wet Ink. There are no browser requirements, and Wet Ink is mobile-friendly. If you have any questions about the technical requirements, please email tlan.coordinator@gmail.com.

Students should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week perusing resources and readings, engaging in several writing/creation prompts, and briefly responding to peers’ work. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

Zoom Meetings - TBD.

About the Facilitator

Riham Adly is an award-winning flash fiction writer from Giza, Egypt. In 2013 her story “The Darker Side of the Moon” won the MAKAN award. She was short-listed several times for the Strand International Flash Fiction Contest. Riham is a Best of the NET and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work is included in the “Best Micro-fiction 2020” anthology. Her flash fiction has appeared in over fifty journals such as Litro Magazine, Lost Balloon, The Flash Flood, Bending Genres, The Citron Review, The Sunlight Press, Flash Fiction Magazine, Menacing Hedge, Flash Frontier, Flash Back, Ellipsis Zine, Okay Donkey, and New Flash Fiction Review among others.  Riham has worked as an assistant editor in 101 words magazine and as a first reader in Vestal Review magazine. Riham is the founder of the “Let’s Write Short Stories” and “ Let’s Write That Novel” in Egypt. She has taught creative writing all over Cairo for over five years with the goal of mentoring and empowering aspiring writers in her region.  Riham’s flash fiction collection “Love is Make-Believe” was  released and published in November 2021 by Clarendon House Publications in the UK.

The TLA Network exists to support and promote individuals and organizations that use the spoken, written, or sung word as a tool for personal and community transformation.

Access our policies: Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use

The Transformative Language Arts Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

1741 Valley Forge Road, #175, Worcester, PA 19490 | tlan.coordinator@gmail.com

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software