University of Iowa

The Three-Jump Story: A Writer’s Weekend Challenge

Weekend July 21 to July 22 2018

“Stories are either best written in one jump or three, according to length. The three-jump story should be done on three successive days, then a day or so for revision and off she goes. This of course is the ideal.”  —F. Scott Fitzgerald


Taking F. Scott Fitzgerald’s assertion that a short story is best written in three “jumps” as our point of departure, we will attempt to write a complete, original short story in three sessions. In the first session—or “jump”—we’ll write the beginning of the story, with action unfolding in the present; in the second “jump” we’ll focus on backstory, the past, and things that live beneath the surface of the present action; in the third “jump” we’ll continue the present action, driving the story toward resolution. Between each jump session we’ll share our work aloud and get feedback before heading to the next jump. Once we’ve finished the three sessions, you will have the opportunity to take your story home and revise it before bringing it back the following day, when we will workshop our stories together.


Short Story