My ‘Writing the Short Story’ class began two weeks ago. We had four people for the first class. Second class we had three (very nice people). For the third class, the fourth person has said she will be there. But here’s the thing – they’re all beginners.
Beginners need all kinds of help and instructions. How to write a scene, what felt experience is, how tone affects your story, how to read a story from the writers’ point of view, how to develop your characters, point of view, how to publish once you learn the craft of, etc.
I admit it took me years of writing to learn the craft of writing. And here I have only six weeks to teach my beginners just the basics.
For the first class, they learned how to reach their “wild” mind, i.e. the unconscious mind that writes the first draft. Then we went over the arc of the short story. After that we brainstormed ideas for a story they would write. In addition, I asked for them to let me know what they expected to write. One woman took a course in the novel, but she was determined to learn how to write the short story.
The second class we read their stories out loud. It’s important for some one other than the writer to read the story so the writer can hear how it flows. Which is exactly what we did. According the class, that story was done. I didn’t exactly agree with the class. But I feel my job is to encourage a potential writer so I didn’t comment. But further on in this class, I definitely will.
The following class hasn’t happened yet. But I have planned to discuss what felt experience is. That, plus we’ll read the stories I suggested by giving them an idea I’ve used before that was successful.
For many years I taught this course at Glenbrook High School. Then one student wanted a formula for success. There is NO formula for success, and if there is, please share!
People are very busy these days, and the short story has regained interest. After all, one can read a short story in one sitting.
Do you have an interest in writing? Specifically, do you have an interest in writing the short story? Take a class. Join a writing group. Lastly, start writing!
Sue Powers has 21 fictions published. She’s been awarded a Fellowship and grant in Prose from the Illinois Art Council, and two of her stories were nominated for a Pushcart Prize.