Description of Class
Are you ready to dive into a workshop environment and get quality feedback from your peers and instructor Ben Hoffman? Get your pens ready, writers, because we’re pleased to offer another Short Fiction Workshop this winter.
Join this group of writers for a six-week exploration of short fiction. This class will mix craft lecture, discussion of published stories, and structured workshop. We’ll consider traditional story elements like character, conflict, and dialogue, as well as less-frequently discussed, harder-to-nail-down, but crucial concepts like information, revelation, decision-making, and pace.
We’ll also discuss short fiction markets, suitable venues for your work, and the submission and publication process in general. Participants should have a 2-to-25-page (double spaced) story draft.
Week 1: Surprise vs. Suspense: What’s the difference? What does a reader need to know, and what should be withheld from them? What roles do information and time play? How can we rethink the show-vs.-tell paradigm?
Week 2: Beginnings & Endings: How do stories differ from novels, and what about the form of the short story makes endings so difficult to nail? How can your opening lines best serve your reader? Are there common beginning and ending “moves” we can emulate?
Week 3: Making a Scene: Scenes are often considered the building blocks of narrative story-telling—but what should they accomplish? What should we leave out? And get ready for a major dialogue about dialogue. How do we transition from place to place? What role does flashback play?
Week 4: Decisions, Decisions: What happens in a story? Well, we decide—we’re the writers. But how? Is it just artistic intuition? How do we build on our initial imaginative bursts? And what about our characters’ decisions—how do they influence the direction of a story?
Week 5: Getting Weird: How does magic, whether literal or not, work in short fiction? What does it mean to think of strangeness as an inherent positive quality in art? How do embrace our weirdness, avoid cliché, and make our stories uniquely our own, both big-picture and at the sentence level?
Week 6: Radical Revision: So much of writing is rewriting. What does sustained, high-level revision look like? What does it mean to transform a story? How can we think outside the box as we shape—and revise—our stories?Top