Fiction Workshop


What makes fiction feel “real”? What craft techniques do authors employ to convince a reader that the world of the story is, or could be, possible? Even in works of surreal, speculative, or fantastical fiction, how does a writer ground the experience and allow for deeper meaning to percolate?

This course will begin by reviewing familiar craft techniques (such as setting, character, and imagery) and then push to deepen our understanding of them. We will read stories that upend our expectations of these techniques and write work of our own that experiments with how to present such craft aspects in new ways. Our goal is to produce work that challenges us as writers, surprises and delights our readers, and offers a fresh take on what’s real to us.

A combination of readings, writing exercises, peer editing, and student-teacher conferences allow students to move from drafting to revision. A special unit on line-level editing will allow for greater polish. The course culminates in a story portfolio and self-reflective craft analysis.


M: 10:30-11:45, synchronous via Zoom

W: asynchronous discussion board via Laulima & office hours


  • Strunk, William and E.B. White. The Elements of Style (Illustrated). New York: Penguin.
  • Weekly readings posted in Laulima.


  • Identify and analyze fiction writing techniques and their effects through close reading.
  • Draft and revise original fiction, attendant to a series of deadlines and with a sense of audience.
  • Practice global and local revisions, and be able to articulate a process of revision suitable for your own work.
  • Develop editorial skills via careful and caring reading of peer work.


  • Weekly readings and discussion board posting.
  • 8 short fiction experiments focused on one writing technique, each of approximately 400 words.
  • 1-2 longer fiction piece(s), original in content, revised at least twice, to be turned in at the end of the semester. Approximately 2,500 words total.
  • Regular attendance on synchronous class days; regular discussion board posting on asynchronous class days.
  • Editorial letters that are attentive to the technique and intent of peer writers’ work.