Once a week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT May 4 to June 22, 2023
Online via Zoom
What makes a good short story tick? Though it’s often taught as an introductory form, in my experience, the short story is one of the most difficult things for a writer to master. An entire world must exist self-contained, characters must have developed arcs, and the reader must walk away feeling something—whether heartbreak, elation, discomfort, or hope. But how do you achieve that in just a few short pages? In this course you’ll be studying voice, character development, plot structure, and endings with the goal of generating exciting new work that’s capable of invoking a range of emotional reactions.
On weeks where we meet for craft discussions you’ll be reading published work I provide by writers such as Ottessa Moshfegh, Deeshaw Philyaw, and Rebecca Schiff. You’ll also be doing writing exercises in class designed to stretch your skills, cement the concepts we discuss, and help you embark on new full-length pieces.
On workshop weeks you’ll be reading each other’s work, making notes and coming prepared to talk about what the piece is doing, what’s working, and possible editorial suggestions. Everyone will have the opportunity to submit their work twice over the course of our eight weeks together. This is a space where experimentation is encouraged, pieces are expected to be rough, and comments will be kind and constructive.
Open to writers of every level and genre.
- Session I: Craft discussion and in-class exercises: openings, character & voice
- Session II & III: Workshops
- Session IV: Craft discussion and in-class exercises: plot, setting
- Session V–VII: Workshops
- Session VIII: Craft discussion and in-class exercises: endings, revision
Madeline Stevens is a writer based in New York City. Her first novel Devotion, which the Guardian calls “Complex and psychotically taut,” is out now in the US, UK, France, Portugal, Germany and Mexico. Madeline holds an MFA from Columbia University and her stories and essays have been published in places like CrimeReads, Joyland magazine, Fautline, and Monkeybicycle. She is a 2021 recipient of The Freya Project’s Meret Grant. She works as a developmental editor and teaches creative writing to adults and children.
By Madeline Stevens
By Madeline Stevens
Published by HarperCollins
Ella is flat broke: wasting away on bodega coffee, barely making rent, seducing the occasional strange man who might buy her dinner. Unexpectedly, an Upper East Side couple named Lonnie and James rescue her from her empty bank account, offering her a job as a nanny and ushering her into their moneyed world. Ella’s days are now spent tending to the baby in their elegant brownstone or on extravagant excursions with the family. Both women are just 26—but unlike Ella, Lonnie has a doting husband and son, unmistakable artistic talent, and old family money.
Ella is mesmerized by Lonnie’s girlish affection and disregard for the normal boundaries of friendship and marriage. Convinced there must be a secret behind Lonnie’s seemingly effortless life, Ella begins sifting through her belongings, meticulously cataloguing lipstick tubes and baby teeth and scraps of writing. All the while, Ella’s resentment grows, but so does an inexplicable and dizzying attraction. Soon Ella will be immersed so deeply in her cravings—for Lonnie’s lifestyle, her attention, her lovers—that she may never come up for air.
Riveting, propulsive, and startling, Devotion is a masterful debut novel where mismatched power collides with blinding desire, incinerating our perceptions of femininity, lust, and privilege.
About this series
We strive to make our classes the most inviting and rewarding available, offering an intimate environment to study with award-winning, world-class writers. Each class is specially designed by the instructor, so whether you’re a fledgling writer or an MFA graduate polishing your novel, you’ll find a perfect fit here.
Unputdownable: How to Grab the Reader's Attention and Keep It with Stefan Merrill Block$150
Friday—Sunday March 31 to April 2, 2023
Crafting Unforgettable Characters with Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry$150
Friday—Sunday March 31 to April 2, 2023
Who Is You: Writing Second-Person Stories with Nat Mesnard$150
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT April 1 to April 2, 2023
Speedboat and Sleepless Nights and 1970s New York with Mike Levine
Four Sessions Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT April 4 to April 25, 2023
Crossing the Lines: Applying Writing Strategies Across Genres with Dawn Raffel$395
Once a week Mondays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT April 10 to May 15, 2023
Your Problems Are Your Solutions: Generative Revision Through Plot with Christopher M. Hood$495
Once a week Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT April 11 to May 30, 2023
How to Structure the Strange with Rebekah Bergman (Sold Out)$125
Saturday, 11:30 am EDT - 4:00 pm EDT April 15, 2023
Making Time: A Generative Writing Workshop with Kate Milliken (Sold Out)$395
Once a week Mondays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT April 17 to May 22, 2023
Members Only: The LiterariansFree
Wednesday, 12:30 pm EDT - 1:30 pm EDT April 19, 2023
World and Languages: Writing About Languages, Travels, and Immigration with Jenna Tang$295
Once a week Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT April 19 to May 10, 2023
On Writing Grief: A Two-Day Bootcamp with Diane Zinna$150
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT April 22 to April 23, 2023
Everything Authentic Is Simultaneous: Time and Memory in Crime Fiction with William Boyle$395
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT April 26 to May 31, 2023
The Art of Teleportation: How to Write with a Strong Sense of Place with Laia Jufresa$150
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am EDT - 2:00 pm EDT April 29 to April 30, 2023
Henry James's The Golden Bowl with Sheridan Hay
Four Sessions Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT May 3 to May 24, 2023
The Utopian Imagination: Creative Worldbuilding with Nat Mesnard$150
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT May 6 to May 7, 2023
Writing Masquerade: The Supernatural and Folklore as Fantasy in Fiction with P. Djèlí Clark (Sold Out)$125
Saturday, 12:00 pm EDT - 4:30 pm EDT May 13, 2023