Digging In, Sending Out: A Fiction and Editing Workshop


Do you have a story you’ve been sending out for a while that keeps getting rejected? Even as you revise it, here and there, hopeful it will find a home at last? What keeps the editors from saying yes? Is there something about your story—that story you’ve re-read a zillion times, so often that you’ve practically got it memorized by now—that you aren’t able to see? What is it? How might you address it in your next draft?

In this weeklong workshop, we will explore what it means to “dig in” when drafting and revising our stories, from sentence-level concerns (we’ll identify those “weasel words” that show up again and again without our notice) to larger considerations, like character motivation, verisimilitude, plausibility, psychological depth, and complexity. We will also explore the submission process from an editor’s perspective, reading sample published stories with a behind-the-scenes look at why those stories were selected for publication. Our goal will be to demystify the submission process while developing greater appreciation for the connection between drafts that “dig in” before they are sent out into the world.

Our class format will be a short story workshop with additional in-class writing exercises and prompts. We will devote some time each day to in-class writing, and then workshop 2 or 3 stories each session. I will distribute a packet of select readings on the first day of class—these will help guide our discussion. Required: participants will bring copies of an original short story or novel chapter of 12-20 pages in length.

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; critique writing you bring from home.

Science Fiction
Short Story
Speculative Fiction
Anthony Varallo photo
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