The University of Iowa

Short Story Workshop

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020

When was the last time you read a story you couldn’t put down? We all want to write such stories, but how do we do it? In this class we will workshop short stories of up to 18 pages, with the goal of helping each writer identify and build on the strengths of his/her story. In so doing, we will discuss what makes a story irresistible. Among the questions we will consider: In what ways does this story engage and move us? Does the story have a recognizable structure that serves the writer’s artistic aims? Do the events that make up the plot connect to create meaning? Do we have a strong sense of who the characters are? Is setting used effectively? Does the language capture our imagination? What is the story really about? Class discussion will be frank, focused, and supportive. Throughout the week, you will also do writing exercises, designed to sharpen your fiction writing skills and generate new work. By the end of the week, you will go home not only with fresh ideas for revision but also with what could be the beginnings of new stories.


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 week.

Short Story