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Featured Online Short Story Workshop

Writing Engaging Short Fiction by Melanie Faith

START DATE: Friday, May 18, 2018

END DATE: Friday, June 22, 2018

DURATION: 5 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Margaret Lucke writes: “Writing is a mode of exploration. Through stories we can examine and come to terms with our own ideas, insights, and experiences. In the process of writing a story, we achieve a little better understanding of our world, our fellows, and ourselves.”

In this five-week workshop, we’ll explore tips and techniques for developing plot, scenery, characters, and more within our class texts, Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories by Margaret Lucke and The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction by John Dufresne. Students will submit exercises and (later in the course) an optional draft of a story to receive weekly constructive and supportive instructor feedback. There will be short story handouts each week from the instructor and a private group for students to discuss the literary life and for sharing of literary resources, such as markets and quotations about the writing process.

Topics covered will include: A Short Story’s Basic Ingredients, Finding a Story to Write, Choosing a Protagonist, Conflict—How to Devise a Story that Readers Won’t Want to Put Down, Plot and Structure: How to Shape Your Story and Keep it Moving Forward, Narrative Voice: How to Develop Your Voice as a Writer, and Revision Tips.

Melanie has always shown great insight into my work. Often times, she is able to pull out deeper meanings, that even I wasn't consciously aware of while writing. Her constructive criticism has moved my writing into new directions. I find that I feel more confident and prepared as a writer by having her constant editing eye. I respect that she critiques my poetry honestly, letting me know areas that are weak as well as strong points. I wouldn't be able to grow as a writer if she always told me my poems were great. It's from her perspective of my work that I grow. I enjoy learning through her and appreciate her sharing tricks of the trade that she learned in her masters program. I'm thankful to know Melanie and hope we remain friends and a poetry support system for the rest of our lives. She's the type of person and writer that anyone would feel lucky to know. She is a great mentor and holds a wealth of knowledge in the written language. Her achievements and constant pursuit as a writer inspire so many. Her determination and skill will go very far and I suspect she'll leave a lasting imprint in the written world. She already has. ~ Courtney Burger

Melanie has been a total joy as a teacher and guide. I found her feedback, critiques, and comments to be extraordinarily helpful and insightful. And the daily prompts and positive reinforcement made this writing class a wonderful experience! ~ Mary Purdy

Melanie’s class taught me economy of words by using strong verbs and nouns, implying and showing rather than telling, and exploring topics outside of my comfort zone. Her feedback is prompt, detailed and constructive. ~ Rajni Gupta

Melanie knows how to offer on-the-mark suggestions for writing improvement while also being extremely encouraging (and a joy to work with). I've taken many classes with her, including the flash class, and I plan on taking many more. ~ Marilyn Fahey

The course was great. I did not want it to end. I have taken several college level creative writing courses, as well as, attended many writer’s workshops, but I have enjoyed this course the most. I really appreciated that Melanie would also critique our re-writes which was very, very helpful. This course has really helped to motivate me creatively. ~ Barb Cramer

WEEKS AT A GLANCE:

Duration: (5 weeks) Friday, May 18, 2018 - Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday, May 25 and June 1, 8, 15, and 22, 2018 (student drafts due for instructor comments)

Week One: A Short Story’s Basic Ingredients, Finding a Story to Write, Choosing a Protagonist, Choosing a Point of View, Tip-Sheet: Three-Dimensional Characters, Giving Your Characters a Voice, Tip Sheet: Dialogue

Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories Text Reading (pages 1-53):

  • Chapter One: Writing a Short Story—Getting Started
  • Chapter Two: Characters—How to Create People who Live and Breathe on the Page

The Lie That Tells a Truth Text Reading (pages 11-30):

  • “As a Matter of Fact” and “Writing around the Block”

Short Story Handouts from the Instructor:

  • “Fish” by Anu Lakhan
  • “If at The Wedding (at The Zoo)” by Lydia Davis
  • “Bless This Home” by Rosie Forrest

Assignment: Choose one of the exercises from either of our books to complete and submit for instructor feedback. :) In our Schaum’s text this includes the nifty Character’s Bio Chart on page 41 if that calls to you.

Week Two: Conflict—How to Devise a Story that Readers Won't Want to Put Down

Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories Text Reading (pages 55-67):

  • Chapter Three: Conflict—How to Devise a Story that Readers Won’t Want to Put Down

The Lie That Tells a Truth Text Reading (pages 119-131):

  • “Getting Her Up the Tree, Getting Her Down”

Short Story Handouts from the Instructor:

  • “Roof Topped” by Terese Svoboda
  • “The Choice” by Arnaba Saha
  • Excerpt from “For the Love of a Minotaur” by Melissa Gardner

Assignment: Choose one of the exercises from either of our books to complete and submit for instructor feedback.

Week Three: Plot and Structure: How to Shape Your Story and Keep it Moving Forward, and Plottery

Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories Text Reading (pages 69-97):

  • Chapter Four: Plot and Structure: How to Shape Your Story and Keep it Moving Forward

The Lie That Tells a Truth Text Reading (pages 133-167):

  • “The Queen Died of Grief”

Short Story Handouts from the Instructor:

  • “Last Minute Contributor” by Robert Vivan
  • “Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU” by Carmen Maria Machado
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe

Assignment: Choose either one of the exercises from either of our books to complete and submit for instructor feedback.

Week Four: Setting and Atmosphere, and You Can’t Do Anything If You’re Nowhere

Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories Text Reading (pages 99-119):

  • Chapter Five: Setting and Atmosphere: How to Bring Readers into a Vivid Story World

The Lie That Tells a Truth Text Reading (pages 243-256):

  • “You Can’t Do Anything If You’re Nowhere”

Short Story Handouts from the Instructor:

  • “The Second Sense” by Nadine Gordimer
  • “The Fight of the Good Ship Clarissa” by Ray Bradbury

Assignment: Choose either one of the exercises from either of our books to complete and submit for instructor feedback OR submit a rough draft of a short story up to 2,000 words for feedback.

Week Five: Narrative Voice: How to Develop Your Individual Voice as a Writer and Revision Tips

Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories Text Reading (pages 121-141):

  • Chapter Six: Narrative Voice: How to Develop Your Individual Voice as a Writer

The Lie That Tells a Truth Text Reading:

  • “May I Ask Who’s Calling Please?” (pages 221-241)
  • “Doing It Again (And Again [And Again])” (pages 81-94)

Short Story Handouts from the Instructor:

  • “The Landing” by Lydia Davis
  • “Spring in Fialta” by Vladimir Nabokov

Assignment: Choose either one of the exercises from either of our books to complete and submit for instructor feedback OR submit a rough draft of a short story up to 2,000 words for feedback.

Materials needed: Students will need a copy of Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories by Margaret Lucke (McGraw-Hill 1999) and The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction by John Dufresne (W.W. Norton & Company 2003). These texts are currently available in print online at Amazon and other bookstores.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Melanie Faith holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, NC. Her writing has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. Her full-length, historical poetry collection set in the 1918 flu epidemic, This Passing Fever, was published by Future Cycle Press in September 2017 (available at Future Cycle Press and Amazon and signed copies by writing to the author), and Vine Leaves Press will publish her craft book about writing and editing flash fiction and nonfiction in May 2018. Most recently, her shorter pieces appeared in After the Pause, Contemporary Haibun Online, The Sandy River Review, The Writer’s Monthly Review Magazine, and Embodied Effigies. Her flash fiction, “The Slades,” placed honorable mention in the 2014 Bevel Summers Prize for the Short Short Story and was published in Shenandoah (Washington and Lee University). In addition to numerous photography publications, her at made the cover of both OVS Magazine and Chantwood Review in 2017. Her instructional articles about creative writing techniques have appeared in The Writer and Writers' Journal, among others. Visit her website at www.melaniedfaith.com.

COST:  $185, which includes e-mail critique and positive feedback on student writing, and access to a private group for student interactions.

BUY NOW:  Writing Engaging Short Fiction by Melanie Faith (5 weeks, starting 5/18/2018) Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. She will contact you via email so you can get started.

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Additional Testimonials for Melanie Faith:

I took the nature writing class a few weeks ago and it was one of the best courses I've even taken. Melanie Faith is an excellent instructor. ~ Jean Forsythe

Your course has jump-started me back into writing. I have missed it. Thank you. ~ Melissa Healy

Melanie Faith’s “Spark and Sizzle Flash Fiction Class” lives up to its title. The sample stories provided were examples of good writing and served as models. Melanie’s prompts came at a rapid pace and kept my pen on the page every day. Her critique comments were sharp and encouraging and challenged me to be the best writer I could be. She is easily available for questions or discussions during and after her classes via her personal email. This is the third class I’ve taken with Melanie and I am looking forward to taking many more in the future. ~ Renee Cassese

Melanie knows how to offer on-the-mark suggestions for writing improvement while also being extremely encouraging (and a joy to work with). I've taken many classes with her, including the flash class, and I plan on taking many more. ~ Marilyn Fahey

Melanie has always shown great insight into my work. Often times, she is able to pull out deeper meanings, that even I wasn't consciously aware of while writing. Her constructive criticism has moved my writing into new directions. I find that I feel more confident and prepared as a writer by having her constant editing eye. I respect that she critiques my poetry honestly, letting me know areas that are weak as well as strong points. I wouldn't be able to grow as a writer if she always told me my poems were great. It's from her perspective of my work that I grow. I enjoy learning through her and appreciate her sharing tricks of the trade that she learned in her masters program.

I'm thankful to know Melanie and hope we remain friends and a poetry support system for the rest of our lives. She's the type of person and writer that anyone would feel lucky to know. She is a great mentor and holds a wealth of knowledge in the written language. Her achievements and constant pursuit as a writer inspire so many. Her determination and skill will go very far and I suspect she'll leave a lasting imprint in the written world. She already has. ~ Courtney Burger

The course was great. I did not want it to end. I have taken several college level creative writing courses, as well as, attended many writer’s workshops, but I have enjoyed this course the most. I really appreciated that Melanie would also critique our re-writes which was very, very helpful. This course has really helped to motivate me creatively. ~ Barb Cramer

Melanie demonstrates particular qualities in a writing teacher/coach that I would recommend for anyone looking for focused attention to help move their writing forward.

I had not taken an on-line course previously, and didn't know what to expect, but Melanie melted the distance, was always accessible, and never missed a beat with out on-line communication. I always felt like I had Melanie right here around my writing table, or knocking on my door saying—“I had a few thoughts..." She provided a wealth of resources and provided us with course materials that were tuned to our course level.

Her insight into my work, in terms of critique, were extremely thoughtful, thorough, and eye-opening. I feel that working with Melanie has allowed me to be braver with my writing and editing—as she was supportive of experimentation and taking chances with style, vocabulary, and theme. She provides serious critique in an atmosphere that, well, just makes me want to keep on writing!” ~ Mary Ellen Sanger

I have taken three courses from Melanie and in each course I grow tremendously as a writer. The texts she uses as well as the handouts and daily writing prompts all contribute to what she refers to as “the writing life” and in her courses that’s exactly what it becomes. Her comments on the pieces go way beyond grammar and punctuation. She delves into the content and clarifies what is good and what can be adjusted to make the piece stronger. I can tell she spends time reading what I write and is prompt in returning the assignments so I always have plenty of time for revision. She treats me, and everyone in the class, like a writer. Her classes are a joy. If there is a course offered by Melanie and I can fit it in, I always take it. ~ Holly Helscher

I have the normal anxiousness of sharing my work while so excited to have Melanie Faith’s critical eye read my writing. It is always reviewed with an eye to improvement and an eye to the thoughts the words contain. This is the first computer class I have ever taken and want to take many more. I also look forward to many more classes with Melanie Faith. ~ Benita Cervantes

Because I love memoir writing, I have taken two memoir/personal essay classes from Melanie. I can’t believe this, but because I enjoy the teacher herself and her method of teaching so much, I’ve even taken a poetry-writing class. I’ve always steered away from writing poetry of any kind ever since I wrote a poem in college (an assignment, not a by-choice piece) and the class laughed because I wrote about a controversial topic and was so naïve that I didn’t even know it was controversial. Every time I’d mention to Melanie that I’d never write a poem, she’d encourage me to take her class, assuring me that I’d be successful. I took the class, and sure enough, I was successful, thanks to Melanie’s velvet critiquing, encouraging comments, and thoughtful suggestions, many times seeing in my writing what I couldn’t see for myself.

I have to rein myself in every time I see in the WOW classes list that Melanie is teaching another essay class. And why is this? In all of my education (B.A. in English and M.A. in English), I never took a writing class. When I was in college, writing was taught only in Freshman English; after that class, we were just expected to know how to write. I learned to teach writing myself by reading books about writing. How refreshing and educational to find a teacher/mentor who exhibits the characteristics that I know an excellent writing teacher has: the creativity to come up with topics that students want to write about, the ability to critique without finding fault, the desire to encourage students to keep on writing even when the juices aren’t flowing. Believe me . . . she’s an excellent teacher. In addition, she became my friend through being my teacher. To be a friend AND a teacher takes real talent. ~ Sandy Young

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Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
classroom[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com


 

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