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

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Sundays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Oct 13—Oct 20
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 6
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $340
Instructor(s): Sara Houghteling
Limit: 21
10:00 am—4:00 pm
Oct 13—Oct 20
2 days
Drop By
Oct 6
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
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, James Joyce, James Baldwin, Zadie Smith, and Pierre Michon 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 on experienced writers 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 Book and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She received the Narrative Prize and a fellowship from the NEA, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Narrative Magazine, 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.