In this online class, we'll be starting with the basics of short fiction: building complex characters, intriguing wants, rich settings, and interesting obstacles. No previous workshop experience is required, but experienced writers looking to start something new from scratch are also welcome! Together we will experiment with exercises designed to jump-start creativity and further develop our stories; analyze published works and what makes them tick; and provide positive reinforcement and helpful critical feedback for our peers. Each writer will have the opportunity to submit their work twice during the six-week course. Everyone will also have the opportunity for individual telephone conferences with the instructor. Writers will leave the course with two completed works and a concrete grasp on the mechanics of short fiction.
This class will meet over our text-only chat platform. There will not be any video or audio component to class.
- Discover and develop the basic building blocks of short fiction
- Experiment with new techniques to stretch creative skills and voice
- Receive peer and instructor feedback on two short works
Week 1: Character, desire and obstacle
Week 2: Setting
Week 3: Writing from emotion
Week 4: Form and structure
Week 5: Climaxes and endings
Week 6: Revision
Madeline Stevens is a writer from Boring, Oregon currently based in Los Angeles. Her first novel Devotion is forthcoming from Ecco Press and Faber in the UK in August 2019. This psychologically propulsive debut has also been pre-empted by Mondadori in Italy, 2020 in Portugal, Planeta in Mexico, and CITIC in China. Madeline holds an MFA from Columbia University and her work has been published in a variety of literary magazines. She has taught creative writing to both adults and children at Columbia University as well as the non-profit Writopia Lab.
"Madeline saw straight to the heart of my story and showed me exactly how to bring it out. Her advice was concrete, intelligent, and kind."
"I’m lucky to be in a writing group with Madeline, and her work is absolutely stunning, with faithfully rendered characters and gripping plotlines. Her forthcoming novel is one of the best books I’ve read in years, replete with a consistently pitch-perfect emotional tone. Madeline was also one of the first people to workshop my novel, and her sharp eye and thorough attention helped rework the landscape of the book for the (far) better."
"Madeline Stevens conjures up a mood like no one else--and brings a satisfying, delicious beauty even when describing a horrible situation. Her work is well-crafted and acutely observed."
"Madeline Stevens writes sexy, lucid prose that grabs you like a fever dream, sentences of dark, shining clarity that linger in the mind for months."