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Writing Workshops

Making Time: A Generative Short Story Course with Kate Milliken (Sold Out)


6 sessions

Out of stock

Once a week Mondays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT February 6 to March 13, 2023

Online via Zoom

This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Randy Winston at [email protected].

This course is designed for writers just starting out as well as intermediate writers looking to gain new insight into their process. Each week we will read one well-regarded short story, from modern masters to a Joyce classic. Our discussion of these stories will lead us into brief talks on of the fundamentals of craft at work in each. From these discussions we will take inspiration and have two opportunities to write, responding to craft-relevant writing exercises. If time and interest exist, we may share and discuss some of our in-progress work, but the main goal of this course is to get (re)acquainted with the fundamentals of great storytelling and to make new work. Each writer can expect to leave this course with a new awareness of the essential craft elements of the short story form (concrete detail, characterization, point of view, conflict, dialogue, setting), as well as a nearly complete, if not finished, short story. As an instructor, I strive to facilitate supportive and inspiring spaces for both generative and more critical workshop courses. I want my writers to leave our time together feeling confident in their strengths, aware of where they should keep challenging themselves, and completely capable of reaching their writing goals.

Course Outline:
  • Session 1: Whose story is it? The very first choice we make, often unconsciously, when starting to write a story is the point of view from which it is told. So, our first week together we will discuss and play around with the various points of view available to us and the effect each can have on our reader.
  • Session 2: What do they want? To have a story, we must have a central protagonist and that protagonist must want something even if, as Vonnegut said, it is only a glass of water. Our in-class exercises this week will focus on characterization and character desire.
  • Session 3: How will they get it? For a story to have an arc we must have a conflict. Most often conflict stems from an obstacle standing in the way of our characters desires. In our third week we will seek inspiration from the various forms a story’s antagonist might take.
  • Session 4: Who said what? If we have a protagonist and an antagonist at this point in our story work, chances are we need to get them talking. This week we will look at the structure of a scene, get our people talking, and look at the various forms dialogue can take.
  • Session 5: Wait, where are we? This week we will slow down and look around, considering place as secondary character in our story work. How does place generate new information for the character and reader? What kind of details deepen the emotional meaning or subtext of the scene we’re working in.
  • Session 6: Is it over? In this last week, we will look at story endings. What makes them satisfactory? Unsatisfying? What kind of an ending do you want for your characters? In this final week, we will also look at the endless possibilities presented to us when we go to revise—and how we can know when to do what. In our exercises, we will play with revision and language, seeing what happens when we elevate diction, shorten sentences, let them run on, or cut whole paragraphs, etc. If we have not already had time to share our work, for those that wish to do so, this week will also dedicate some time to sharing as well as addressing any questions about next steps in the writing process.

Capacity: 12


Led By

  • Kate_Author 5 -

    Kate Milliken

    Kate Milliken

    Kate Milliken is the author of If I’d Known You Were Coming, winner of the 2013 Iowa Award for Short Fiction, as well as the novel, Kept Animals, which was longlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize in 2020. Kate’s work as been supported by Ragdale, the Tin House Writers Workshop, Vermont Studio Center, and the Sewanee Writers Conference.