University of Iowa

Experiment, Embellish, Enlarge: Revising Your Way into Story

Weeklong July 14 to July 19 2019

Often when we’re writing a story, we start at the beginning and try to get everything done at once: compelling plot, best point of view, engaging characters, beautiful images, and so on. Sometimes this works, but oftentimes it feels like so much to juggle that we get stuck, or don’t feel that the story we end up with is as rich as we’d like it to be.  

This class invites you to try a different approach. We’ll begin by writing a short (500 word) sketch, then expand it day by day while adding a new element—and not necessarily the obvious ones mentioned above! We will look to published models for inspiration, and we will help each other see what’s working, and what could work better, as we progress through our drafts. By the end of the week, your sketch should be transformed into a shapely, sturdy, and affecting work of fiction. You’ll also take home a new method for approaching writing, and some new perspectives on what a story can do. This workshop welcomes writers at all stages.


In this workshop we will provide feedback on writing you bring from home or produce in our week.

Hybrid Forms
Short Story
Young Adult