University of Iowa

Writing the Short Story--Love Letters

Weeklong June 16 to June 21 2019

“The best literature is always about matters of the human heart,” Larry Brown posited. And it’s true, certain tales are more moving than others. You look up from their last page startled to remember your life—the one you now must return to—as somewhat strange and distant. Or, as perhaps more familiar and treasured than you ever realized. How do some stories achieve such rare imprints of dislocation and connection? Amazing us or haunting us, touching us, perhaps even shifting our perspectives on what is real? And how can we, as writers of fictions, better fashion our narratives to similarly loom and linger within the minds and hearts of readers?


This intensive workshop focuses on the nuts and bolts of what makes a story work both structurally and emotionally. On how to design and plumb for confluences of form and feeling. Thematically, we’ll concentrate on tales that involve the complex balancing act of interpersonal relationships—from confessions to obsessions, co-dependency to commitment, to the dating and divorcing, the jilted, the jealous, the hold ons and hold outs, and even those whose passions lean more toward country or creed. Through model readings we’ll trail how other authors have successfully given voice to both the heartbroken and heartened. Above all, we’ll share and consider our own works-in-progress with tender loving care—working toward more affecting words and missives.


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

Short Story