The University of Iowa

Fiction Craft Primer

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020

Nathanial Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” This engaging and fast-paced workshop will ease that pain and simplify the elements of craft that go into writing fiction. Short story writers and novelists are both welcome at any stage of writing. All genres welcome, too. The class will provide you with how-to instructions on the basic principles of craft that are necessary for writing “readable” fiction with as little pain as possible. Students will benefit from lively and engaging in-class writing assignments designed to hone skills, and discussion on craft. Lecture notes will be provided so you can spend your weekend in deep participation, learning by doing. Some of the essential craft elements we will learn and practice include: how to uncover your theme, how to build characters, how to write dialogue and how to develop structure. Tricks for all skill levels will be provided in a take home tool kit to keep you writing after the workshop.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; critique writing you bring from home; provide feedback on writing you produce in our weekend.

Short Story