Write your single best short story or personal essay (or short auto fiction, if you, like me, often shoot the gap between) in one month’s time. In this class we will begin with collecting glimmers. The concrete physical details, the resonant bits of dialogue, the scenes that feel a little like a bruise when you push on them, that live in your memory/imagination or your daily life and want to come out and play. We will spend the second week making the roughest of rough drafts out of these scattered pieces, see which ones want to stay, which other ones want to wait for the next story. Third week is about making a solid second draft, adding what is missing, finding a structure and rearranging. Fourth week is about compressing and polishing. Along the way we will study the elements of craft that take a good story and make it great: scene, dialogue, voice, form, compression.
LIVE ELEMENTS: There will be an optional drop-in hour once a week, mid-week.
There will be an optional celebratory reading at the end of the class.
Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, which won the 2019 Colorado Book Award, the High Plains Book Award and the Reading The West Advocacy Award and more recently, Air Mail: Letters of Politics Pandemics and Place co authored with Amy Irvine. She is also the author of Cowboys Are My Weakness, Contents May Have Shifted, and four other books of fiction and nonfiction, all published by W.W. Norton. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande. She raises Icelandic Sheep and Irish Wolfhounds and is a fierce advocate for the Earth.