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WSP 333 — Short Story Bootcamp: A Reading and Writing Intensive

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Saturdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Feb 24—Mar 3
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Feb 17
Unit: 1
Tuition: $355
Instructor(s): Sara Houghteling
Limit: 25
Status: Closed
10:00 am—4:00 pm
Feb 24—Mar 3
2 days
Drop By
Feb 17
1 Unit
Sara Houghteling
The short story seems like a miracle of compression. When we read a great short story, we marvel at the author’s skill in describing minute details—details that somehow culminate in an interrogation of life’s most essential, tragic, and glorious moments—and all within only a few thousand words. In this intensive reading and writing course, we will devote two Saturdays to studying a half-dozen masters of the short story form, and pair these readings with a lively discussion as well as in-class and take-home writing exercises. We will examine the likes of Anton Chekhov, Vladimir Nabokov, James Baldwin, and Zadie Smith with our own fiction in mind, asking how do these authors take on love, marriage, art, death, suicide, war, memory, madness, and time? How do they use plot, structure, dialogue, point of view, and interior thought? This workshop is designed to assist aspiring, first-time writers in beginning a new project, and to spur experienced writers on to deepen their short story craft and approach revision of established projects. At the end of this workshop, students will have explored the beginnings of several new projects, and learned numerous techniques to keep them writing in the future.

Sara Houghteling, Former Nancy Packer Lecturer in Continuing Studies, Stanford

Sara Houghteling is the author of Pictures at an Exhibition, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a San Francisco Chronicle Best of 2009 Book, and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She has received a Fulbright Scholarship, an NEA Fellowship, a Camargo Fellowship, the Harold U. Ribalow Prize, and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Narrative, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Houghteling received an MFA from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.