Write your single best short story or personal essay (or short auto fiction, if you, like me, often shoot the gap between) in one month’s time. In this class we will begin with collecting glimmers. The concrete physical details, the resonant bits of dialogue, the scenes that feel a little like a bruise when you push on them, that live in your memory/imagination or your daily life and want to come out and play. We will spend the second week making the roughest of rough drafts out of these scattered pieces, see which ones want to stay, which other ones want to wait for the next story. Third week is about making a solid second draft, adding what is missing, finding a structure and rearranging. Fourth week is about compressing and polishing. Along the way we will study the elements of craft that take a good story and make it great: scene, dialogue, voice, form, compression.
LIVE ELEMENTS: There will be an optional drop-in hour once a week, mid-week.
There will be an optional celebratory reading at the end of the class.
Pam Houston is the author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction, all published by W.W. Norton, including Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, Cowboys Are My Weakness, and Airmail: Letters of Politics, Pandemics and Place, coauthored with Amy Irvine. She teaches in the low residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts and at UC Davis, and is the co-founder and artistic director of the literary nonprofit, Writing By Writers. She lives in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.