12-Week Story Collection Draft Generator with Chaya Bhuvaneswar, Starts Tuesday, February 13th, 2024
Applications are required.
Class begins Tuesday, February 13th, 2024
Class will meet weekly via Zoom (Tuesdays, 7:00PM EST - 9:00PM EST).
**Click HERE to apply to this program.**
Note: applications help us cultivate a dedicated and motivated cohort of writers in each class cycleAny questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
Led Chaya Bhuvaneswar, a practicing physician, writer, and PEN American award finalist for her debut collection WHITE DANCING ELEPHANTS: STORIES, which was also selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Debut Fiction and Best Short Story Collection. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Narrative Magazine, Tin House, Electric Literature, Kenyon Review, The Millions, Joyland, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Awl, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from MacDowell, Squaw Valley/ Community of Writers, and Sewanee Writers Workshop. She has been a visiting writer for Yale University Summer Writing Workshop, Westchester Community College, UCSF Medical Humanities program, and the University of Rhode Island graduate writing program. She was an invited speaker for the SUNY-Canton Visiting Writer Series.
Isn’t it time you transformed your ideas or handful of unfinished stories into a finished story collection? A story collection can live so many lives.
We believe there’s a better, ambitious, and definitely less lonely way to compile a story collection. In this twelve-week master class for writers at every stage of the writing process—from the first couple stories to full collection draft—we will attempt to understand the mechanisms through which story collections are made. Due to the intensive nature of our work together, this class is limited to six writers.
Often, publishing a story “here and there“ is the first step on the journey toward publishing a collection. But how does that relatively spontaneous act—of writing, polishing and publishing a single story, or a few different stories, or even many, many stories, each different—transform into the more intentional act of creating a cohesive collection, one that can have lasting impact?
We will look at excerpts from story collections with impact, including Gabriel García Márquez’s Innocent Erendira and Other Stories, Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties, Kelly Link’s Get In Trouble, ZZ Packer’s Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, George Saunders’ Tenth of December, Lesley Nneka Arimah’s What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. We also have Sandra Cisneros’s, Jennifer Egan’s, and Tommy Orange’s linked short stories (respectively, The House on Mango Street, A Visit from the Goon Squad, and There, There). We’ll also discuss the recent successes of award winning story writers, such as Deesha Philyaw's The Secret Lives of Church Ladies and Maurice Carlos Ruffin's The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You.
All these collections evolved over years, and included stories published in diverse places, yet they emerge as thematically linked and unified works and received more dazzling recognition than many novels. How? We will discuss, most excitingly, how the ’house’ that is a contemporary story collection—a form built out of whispers, clippings, moods, glitter and straw—can come to feel so much like a mansion.
Over the twelve weeks of our class, each writer will submit three short stories to the workshop which will serve as anchor stories for their collection. The class will read and leave line edits on up to 200 pages of each other’s manuscripts, but the discussion in class will focus on these three stories—how to space them in a collection, how to connect themes, etc. Throughout the class, students will meet one-on-one with the instructor to create a plan to finish polishing and fleshing out the entire collection after the course.
Throughout the course, we will keep an evolving reading list of primarily optional readings tailored to specific concerns and questions brought up by workshop participants as they discuss their work. Some of the core texts will be books on craft, such as Matthew Salesses’s Craft in the Real World and The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction, while others will be essays and other practical overviews of how to publish a story collection.
Students will meet with the instructor following each of their workshops for specific feedback as well as an in-depth conversation about the workshop discussion and to set a plan in place for the work ahead, along with more practical querying/publishing concerns.
Writers will leave this class with a first (or eighth or fifty-seventh) draft of a story collection as well as the necessary tools to make the final draft of the book they hope to make.
To apply, please submit up to 3 stories totaling at least 20 double spaced pages and not exceeding 30. The writing sample you submit with your application can but does not have to include what you submit for your workshop #1 materials. Note: applications help us cultivate a dedicated and motivated cohort of writers in each class cycle
**Click HERE to apply to this program by December 15th, 2023.**
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled.
- Learn how to draft and substantially revise at least 3 strong stories to anchor a collection and how to use strategies to generate the rest of the stories in a collection (usually at least 4-8 more). For students who start with 3 very finished, polished, published stories at their entry into the course, the focus will be more on generating the rest of the collection.
- Learn how to trace the arc and themes of your collection and know what it is about, in a pithy and exciting way that allows you to later shape query letters and/or talk about it with interested editors, using group and instructor feedback to revise the collection as a whole while in parallel revising fragments of specific stories.
- Learn how to read other story collections like a writer about to publish a story collection.
- 10% discount on all future WritingWorkshops.com classes.
1. Identify personalized goals for the journey of getting to at least 3 finished, polished, published stories to anchor your collection (i.e. week by week goals will differ for students with one story at the start, vs. starting with three, etc.)
2. Participate in generative outlining, drafting, and analytic exercises to be described by the instructor during workshop meetings.
3. Contribute feedback to others manuscripts using shared document formats.
4. Estimated page lengths for writing assignments per week: 1) writing about 2-10 pages per week; 2) revising up to 20-30 pages per week (i.e. each week, an intense revision focus on one story); 3) contributing comments on one other classmate’s manuscript once a week (so everyone receives feedback from their peers).
- Week 1: Introduction
- Week 2: How to begin
- Week 3: Moving through time
- Week 4: Voice
- Week 5: Keeping a writer’s notebook for your collection
- Week 6: Short story vs. novel chapter
- Week 7: Nurturing your writing lives
- Week 8: First lines
- Week 9: Pastiche
- Week 10: How to order your short story collection
- Week 11: Flash fiction
- Week 12: Writer and editor visit
**Click HERE to apply to this program by December 15th, 2023.**
Full Tuition for the 12-week program is $1,199. Accepted writers must commit to the full 12-weeks and meet all assigned deadlines. You can pay the tuition in full or opt for equal monthly payments by selecting Shop Pay or Affirm at checkout. If you create a monthly payment plan using Affirm, you can do so once you add "Full Tuition" to your cart, enter your contact information, and are on the payment page.
Additional Program Information:
Tuition is $1,199
Apply Now | Program starts Tuesday February 13th, 2024
This class is fully online, and students may participate from anywhere.
Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this program.