Writing the Short Story [Workshop] Begins

"Short stories are about trouble in mind. A bit of the blues. Songs and cries that reveal the range and ways of human character. The secret ordinary and the ordinary secret. The little disturbances of man, to borrow Grace Paley’s phrase, though a story may also be having a conversation with many larger disturbances lurking off-page. Still, the focus on the foregrounded action will be sharp and distilled as moonshine and maybe a little tense and witty, like an excellent dinner party. Writers go there to record hearts, minds, manners, and lives, their own and others." —Lorrie Moore

In this eight-week class, we’ll read, write, and breathe the art of the short story. We’ll complete exercises focused on individual elements of the craft of short fiction—character, setting, point of view, plot, dialogue, and voice—and examine how these function in published works. As we think about how to construct stories, we’ll consider drafting methods such as Antonya Nelson’s “clock” approach and a step-by-step model offered by Hannah Tinti, founder of One Story magazine. Lastly, we’ll give some love to the concept of generating new work through curiosity and intuition—how might we find our best material, the stuff that we must write? In addition to in-class exercises, participants will be expected to submit complete drafts of stories and read and respond thoughtfully to fellow students' submissions. Assigned readings may include work by Lorrie Moore, Lucia Berlin, Grace Paley, George Saunders, Alice Munro, Edward P. Jones, Elizabeth Strout, Lindsay Hunter, Laura van den Berg, Antonya Nelson, Richard Bausch, and others. 

This is a great class for you if you’re already writing literary short fiction and want to hone your craft while giving and receiving feedback in a community of fellow writers, or if you’re new to short fiction but feel confident you can produce a few complete drafts over eight weeks.