2012 Workshops and Faculty

The Art of the Short Story (Weeklong PM - Level: All) – Eric Puchner

"No iron spike can pierce a human heart as icily as a period in the right place."
--Isaac Babel

In this course, we'll take Babel's dictum seriously and concentrate on the details of craft that can turn a good story into a great one. Each student will submit a short story for workshop, where it will be carefully critiqued by the class. We'll also read short fiction by well-known contemporary writers, with an eye toward what makes these stories original, entertaining, and complex. In class, we'll look at basic elements of craft but also address issues of concern for the more experienced writer. How do we avoid cliché? Create narrative drive? Take risks with form, language, and subject matter? Written exercises will focus on these issues while challenging students to push their writing in unexpected directions.

Eric Puchner - photo credit Saeed Mirfattah

Eric Puchner is the author of the story collection Music Through the Floor and the novel Model Home, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and won a California Book Award for fiction. His work has appeared in GQ, Tin House, Zoetrope: All Story, and Best New American Voices. He has received a Pushcart Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. He is an Assistant Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College.