The Shape of Things: Structure and Short Fiction

This class will focus on structure as a container for our stories and how that shape can determine or alter the “telling” of the story. Our in-class discussion will revolve around three types of structure–the linear/ chronological, the collage/ mosaic and the hermit crab–and include published examples of each. Our discussion will also include:

  • The how and why of beginnings and endings in short fiction.
  • Story compass and the manipulation of time.
  • The work of a title in very short fiction as both threshold for the story and weight-bearing vehicle for exposition.
  • Guided exercises — in-class and take-home — designed to inspire new work as well as allow us to see old work with fresh eyes.

Students will leave the session with an understanding of how patterns of narrative can act as both frame and container for a story as well as how structure works to deepen and expand on theme and meaning.

Date: December 3, Saturday: 6 AM PDT / 9 AM EST / 2 PM GMT / 7:30 PM IST (see below for time zone map)

About Instructor

Sarah Freligh is the author of four books, including Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis, and We, published by Harbor Editions in early 2021. Recent work has appeared in the Cincinnati Review miCRo series, SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Fractured Lit, and in the anthologies New Micro, Exceptionally Short Fiction (Norton 2018), Best Microfiction (2019-22) and Best Small Fiction 2022. Among her awards are poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Saltonstall Foundation.

Registration: Want to register? Sign up for the mailing list and you’ll be notified when registration opens in September.

Click here for the text version of the time zone map.

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