What shape does your short story demand? Does it curve like an Aristotelian arc, or peak like Freytag’s pyramid? Does it call for something associative such as a many-branched collage, or wandering and exploratory such as an essay? Wonderful short stories have been written in the form of field notes, interviews, love letters, and recipes. Poe and Aristotle suggest some ground rules. We’ll use these rules as our basic armature, and from there work to guide your story toward its rightfully traditional or yet-to-be-invented shape. This class will offer several examples of both innovative and classically structured short stories. We’ll examine the structure that gives each story its finish, the style that buttons it up, or zips it shut. And then we’ll do the same with yours. This class is perfect for writers who are putting the finishing touches on a story, or struggling with material that feels lacking in form. Writers of all levels are most welcome, including those who would like to use the workshop to generate new material through creative structural play. Lend us your raw material, and together we’ll work toward finding its most flattering form!
Jennifer Colville has taught literature and creative writing at The University of Iowa, San Francisco State, the University of San Francisco, and Coe College. She now co-organizes the Free Generative Writing Workshops program in Iowa City. Jennifer holds an M.F.A. from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Utah. Her stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Literary Review, The Mississippi Review, DIAGRAM, and on the Huffington Post. A collection of short stories, Elegies for Uncanny Girls, will be published by Indiana University Press in 2017. She is the founding editor of PromptPress, a journal for visual art inspired by writing, and writing inspired by visual art.