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FICT 68 — Short Story Workshop: Write a Riveting, Stylish, Singular Short Story

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 4—Jun 6
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 6
Units: 3
Tuition: $745
Instructor(s): Matt Sumell
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Apr 4—Jun 6
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 6
3 Units
Matt Sumell
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Writing a good short story involves a steady hand with suspense, close attention to language, a near-obsessive grasp of detail, and an underlying yet palpable sense of direction. All characters want things—love, sex, money, Cheez-Its—and a particular character’s search for that thing, those things, forms the basis of plot. During this short fiction course, we will discuss how it is that particular stories, both our own and published works, either fulfill or evade standard conventions of plot. We will also practice a process useful to fiction composition: reading, analyzing, and mining others' writing for new insights that we can apply to our work. Think of the course as a laboratory designed to encourage your own creative production. Students will have weekly writing assignments and produce one story of approximately 10 to 15 pages that we will workshop as a class. Along the way, we will study works by Aimee Bender, Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Díaz, George Saunders, and others. By the end, you will know how to tell a story in a riveting, stylish, singular manner.


Matt Sumell’s short fiction has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, Freeman’s, NOON, Electric Literature, One Story, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere. His first novel, Making Nice, has been translated into five languages and optioned for a television comedy series. He received an MFA from UC Irvine.

Textbooks for this course:

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