21W.755 | Spring 2012 | Undergraduate

Writing and Reading Short Stories

Lecture Notes

Please note: Though this section features lecture notes for the majority of class sessions, notes are not available for every single session. Furthermore, please consult the readings, as many of the notes reference them.


Many of the exercises below were inspired by the following text:

Bernays, Anne, and Pamela Painter. What If? Writing Exercises For Fiction Writers. 2nd ed. Longman, 2003. ISBN: 9780321107176.

Lecture Notes

1 Introduction and Discussion of the Process and the Nature of the Story Course Introduction (PDF)
2 Discussion of Readings and Exploration into the Notion of What Makes a Short Story What Is the Short Story? (PDF)
3 Biography, Slice of Life, and the Use of Real Life in Creating a Story

The Seeds of Story (PDF)

Potential Scenarios (PDF)

4 Exercise in Developing Story From Incident and Life Emotional Truth, Discussion of Readings (PDF)

Workshop Incident/Emotion Sketches

Begin Discussion of Character

Character as the Center of the Story

Detail (PDF)
6 Creating Character Character (PDF)
7 Exercise/Workshop in Character Creation (Bring in a Character Sketch)

Character Creation/Sketch (PDF)

Central Questions for Any Story (PDF)

8 What is a Plot and How can it be Constructed? Plot (PDF)
9 Exercise in Creating Plot Creating Plot (PDF)
10 The Real as the Basis for the Unreal Reality (PDF)
11 Examination of the Idea and Usage of Point of View Point of View (PDF)
12 Exercise on Point of View Points of View Exercise (PDF)
13 Description as a Central Element and Metaphor Description I (PDF)

Exercise with Description

Discuss Reading in Terms of All Techniques Discussed in Class

Description II (PDF)
15 Workshop: The Forms and Methods of Revelation Revealing Information (PDF)
16 Workshop (Story 1) Workshops Guide (PDF)
17 Making the Decision Where to Begin Where to Start (PDF)
18 Workshop (Story 1) Workshops Guide (PDF)
19 Exercise in Extreme Fictionalization  
20 Place as both Reality and Metaphor Place (PDF)



Rewriting (PDF)

Workshops Guide (PDF)

23 The Way a Professional Writer Works in the World The Life of the Writer (PDF)
24 The Business of Publishing (About Conglomerates, Agents, Distributors, etc.)  


Discussion of Getting Published in the Real World


Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2012
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments
Instructor Insights