5 Sundays, January 22 – February 19, 2-4:30pm
$275 members/$295 non-members
Testimonials for Jess
“The short form – stories and novellas – are my absolute favorite literary form,” says instructor Jess Wells. “They are multifaceted, beautifully compacted pieces of art. But they are not a snapshot or a verbal photograph – they have very hard work to do in a very short timeframe. In this class we will examine and practice both in class and as homework each of the five key topics that can make a tremendous difference in your crafting of short stories:
- How to develop the emotional arc of characters by looking at their desires and the catalyst that makes them change
- The classic 3-act structure of a story; the importance of internal theme and how it matches an external statement on humanity
- Powerful beginnings that hook the reader immediately
- Setting as a plot driver
- Internal conflict and dialogue as characterization
“In each session I will give a short lecture,” Jess says. “Then we’ll work with your material and my worksheets on the topic (or sometimes as homework as well). Together we’ll read short story masters like Andrea Barrett, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and James Joyce, and discuss how their work illustrates the topic of the week. We’ll also make time to workshop specific pieces from those who volunteer, with group suggestions and kudos.”
Please bring a laptop or tablet, if possible, and work you have already created; or just come with your imagination and a desire to have fun.
Jess Wells is the author of thirteen volumes of work, including the novel A Slender Tether on the early years of Christine de Pizan, a pioneering thinker of the 14th century French court; and the novel The Mandrake Broom, dramatizing the fight to save medical knowledge during the witch-burning times in Europe (1465-1540). Wells is the winner of a San Francisco Art Commission Grant for Literature and a four-time finalist for the national Lambda Literary Award. Her work is included in dozens of anthologies and literary journals.