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Short Story Intensive - November 2017

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Think you never have time to write? Think again. Mary Robinette Kowal wrote her first Hugo-nominated short story "Evil Robot Monkey" in ninety minutes. If you have ninety minutes, you can have a story -- all it takes is understanding how to make every word work double-time. In this workshop, learn the same techniques she uses to create new fiction. Through exercises focusing on viewpoint, dialogue, and plot, you'll learn how to let nothing go to waste. By the end of this three day workshop, participants will be given a writing prompt and complete their own short story.

Classes will be taught via Zoom from November 3-5, 2017

Each session, you will be given an exercise that builds on the previous session. Classwork will be uploaded to a shared Google Drive folder visible only to you and your classmates. The class will be divided between lecture and group critique. The class is capped at eight students, to create a class size that allows the most interaction, feedback and personal attention for each of you.

Class requirements: You need an interest in writing short stories, but you do not need to have written or published anything yet. You also must be able to use Zoom on a computer. The tablet form has limited functionality. (Note: You don’t need a web camera, although they’re useful, but you do need a working microphone, the internet and some speakers so you can hear us).

This is an intensive workshop, so do not plan anything else that weekend.

Schedule (all times are Central time)


Introduction, discussion of POV using specificity, and focus. Exercise 1: Context



Post assignment/read homework

Critique of homework. Second POV assignment

Post assignment/meal break

Discuss nature of dialog, use of rhythms to distinguish character. In class exercise, followed by homework.

Post assignment/meal break

7pm-10pm (There will be a 15 minute break in here)
Plot structure. Plot homework


Post Homework

Discuss plot exercise, unpacking, and outlining for short fiction. Outline homework

Post homework/meal break

Discuss outlines. Recap of plot structure. Final exercise.

Write a story in ninety minutes.

Post story/meal break

Critique of stories/recap/Giant Q&A


Q: What's the refund policy?
If you cancel 48 hours prior to the event, I will offer a full refund. After 48 hours, I'll donate your seat to a writer in need.

Q: What is Zoom?
A: Sort of like Skype but specifically geared for meetings. It is free to use and students will be given a login URL for the class. You will need to download the app, which works for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android. Though it does have a dial-in option, you will need to be able to see the screen for some exercises.

Q: What's the accessibility like?
A: It's primarily a spoken lecture, with written exercises. Closed captioning can be provided upon request. Please let me know what accommodations you need.

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