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WSP 249 — Learning from the Masters: The Short Story

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Saturday
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Apr 7
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Mar 31
Unit: 0
Tuition: $255
Instructor(s): Ellen Sussman
Limit: 21
Status: Open
10:00 am—4:00 pm
Apr 7
1 day
Drop By
Mar 31
0 Unit
Ellen Sussman
Each year, short stories by some of the best writers of our time are gathered in The Best American Short Stories collection. Students will come to this one-day workshop having read ten of the twenty stories in the 2017 collection, edited by Meg Wolitzer. In class, we will discuss what we, as writers, can learn from these masters of the form. We will examine the use of point of view, voice, plot structure, and character development. After the discussion of each story, students will work on in-class writing exercises that will encourage them to try some of the techniques that we have identified.

We need to fill our writing toolboxes with tricks of the trade. This workshop is a kind of apprenticeship that will give us access to new skills. As Voltaire said, “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.” In this course, we will beg, borrow, and steal. In that way, we will learn. This workshop is appropriate for both beginning and experienced fiction writers.

Grade restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade

Ellen Sussman, Author

Ellen Sussman is the author of four novels: A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons, and On a Night Like This. She is also the editor of two anthologies, Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex, and Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. She has taught at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Rutgers.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Edited by Meg Wolitzer, The Best American Short Stories 2017 (ISBN 978-0-544-58290-3)