Short Stories: Creative Writing & Classics!
Holly Van Houten
Thursday 9:30 - 11:00
Class Price: $256 or $64 / month for 4 months (16 week class)
Material fees: $30 - includes 50 Great Short Stories (Anthology edited by Milton Crane)
Homework: Yes! Reading: 1/2 hour / week; Writing: 2 hours/week
There’s no better way to hone your creative writing skills than to write short stories. Because short stories are less complex than novels, they must be tightly plotted – focusing on one incident, one setting, a small cast of characters and generally, a short span of time. This allows writers a chance to focus on one main concept and develop their strategies and story-telling techniques.
This class will provide students a forum where they will write and discuss their stories in a workshop format. Each week we’ll begin by hearing the stories students have written for that week and then we’ll focus on a particular element of story-telling (character development, plot, setting, writing dialogue, etc.) and work on ways to incorporate different skills and techniques into future stories. The workshop structure of this course will provide students with an audience to make their writing more meaningful. They’ll receive feedback from each other, as well as from me in class and learn revision techniques to help improve their writing skills. Students present their writing orally in class so that they can learn about the reactions their writing elicits from others and receive helpful feedback to aid with the revision process. These workshops not only allow students an important opportunity for feedback, but allow them to be immersed in the writing of their peers as well. This requires each student to sharpen his or her own analytical skills as they consider how others may improve their stories. Over the course of the semester each student will write 5 creative stories and critique many more in class – a process that will improve their writing by leaps and bounds.
But this is more than just a writing workshop; we’ll also be reading classic short stories each week and isolating the various literary elements within them, emphasizing the techniques we find most effective and providing an opportunity for students to gain valuable literary analysis skills as well. We’ll be learning from the masters – Ernest Hemmingway, Edgar Allen Poe, Flannery O’Connor, John Steinbeck, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and many more!
Over the course of the semester, each student will write five original short stories. Our big project for the semester will be writing and compiling these stories into a Short Story Portfolio to display for our friends and family at the Huck End of Semester show! Although we’ll be creating fiction in this class, the techniques we learn will be quite useful (in fact, invaluable) in expository and argumentative writing as well. The ability to outline quickly and efficiently is especially crucial for timed writing tests. Organizing ideas into a cohesive whole is essential for good writing of any kind and students will enjoy learning to wield this useful tool through creative writing.
Homework: Reading – ½ hour week; Writing (approx.) 2 hours/week
DAY/TIME: MONDAYS (Time TBA – Watch for Schedule on www.hucklearning.org)
Materials Fee: $30 -includes 50 Great Short Stories (Anthology edited by Milton Crane)