Short Story Craft Workshop – Day 2

I think I should provide a caveat here, on my second day of this workshop. Because of the pandemic, we are not doing the in-person version of Kris Rusch’s Short Story Craft workshop. Instead they are conducting something sort of halfway between the online Study Along workshop and the in-person seminar. It is different.

It doesn’t include some of the craft exercises we would get in person but it does include interaction with the other eight students. We get private videos for just the nine of us regarding the stories we write and we get to see each other’s stories.

From what I understand this is a bit easier than the in-person workshop. It’s still pretty intense and I’m glad Steve insisted I pre-make a bunch of food so that I don’t have to cook during it. There’s a lot of learning activity.

Yesterday,  there were fifteen short videos to view that served as a deep introduction to the subject. Plus five additional videos in which Kris Rusch discussed the first book we were asked to read before the workshop began, which was a large book on the best short stories of the last hundred years. It was a huge volume and not my favorite. It was great to get Kris’ views on it and to see that they meshed in some ways with my own. On the other hand she liked a short story by Philip Roth that made me cringe.

We were asked to view Kris Rusch’s  70-minute lecture on the basics of short stories. I’ve seen this before, but Dean emphasized that we should watch it again before moving on with the rest of the videos, so I did. I was glad to have done that since it helped me identify a problem with the short story I edited and sent to Mia yesterday and set me up for a deeper understanding of the material in the other videos. (Always listen to Dean.)

We received our second assignment yesterday, which is to write a short science fiction or fantasy story. It is due tomorrow morning, which effectively means it is due late tonight for me. I have brainstormed ideas, but nothing solid yet. I think it is going to involve tea. Much of today and tonight will be taken up with writing that story. Though I also need to watch today’s videos and read more stories.

We were also given five stories written by the other students to read by today. I read all but half of one last night. So this morning I should be able to clean through that quickly and catch up with yesterday’s videos before diving into today’s videos.

I expect we will have the same number of new videos today as yesterday, so 15 videos on writing techniques, five videos on the short stories we had to read before class began, and a video on each of the five stories written by my peers. Perhaps another four videos on the remaining four stories (which includes mine). I’ll need to read three more stories by my peers. I’ve passed the point of nervousness and am solidly into the “oh my this is a lot” stage.

I’m thankful to have finished the short story I’m sending into the Superstars anthology and gotten it to Mia yesterday. Effusive thanks to my husband and to Max for reading it before I sent it to Mia. It is a much better story now. I added about 1,000 words to it on their recommendations, all good stuff.

How am I feeling today? A little overwhelmed by the amount to learn and do, intimidated by my fellow students who are all good writers, and excited for today.

This really isn’t a basic class and I’m glad I waited until I’d honed my craft a bit before taking it. I’m especially glad that I forced myself to learn to write a story in a day before taking this, since I now need to do exactly that.

I wonder if it is going to be one of those classes that can be profitably taken over again and be confident that I will learn new things. I’ll let you know what I think at the end.

So that’s the run down this morning of today’s socially-isolated short story craft workshop with Kris Rusch. Let me know if you have any questions or comments on the class ask and I’ll answer, though it may come slow or I may answer in the next day’s blog entry.

Be well, friends!

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