September 7, 2017
$315 | 8 Weeks
Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” —
Coraline, Neil Gaiman paraphrasing C.K. Chesterton.
This class is for enthusiastic writers of fantastical fiction, which includes magical realism, all sub-genres of fantasy, and in some cases science fiction, horror, supernatural fiction, etc., who wish to create short stories that offer the thrill of the fantastical along with emotional truths. We’ll explore the particular challenges of crafting the fantastical within the restricted space of the short story, as we also explore character and story development. Each week Laura will provide lectures and writing exercises. Participants will submit either pieces developed in response to exercises or complete short stories for workshop-style critique.
Participants should expect to respond honestly, constructively, and supportively to all pieces submitted. They will leave the class with a critiqued draft of a short story, and concrete plans for revision.
Week 1 — Introduction and Worlds in the Space of the Short Story. Also, Writing Exercise: World Building.
Week 2 — Characters, Primary and Otherwise. Also, Writing Exercise: Character Development.
Week 3 — The Tale-Teller — Narrative Point-of-View. Also, Writing Exercise: POV.
Week 4 — Plot — A Solo, not a Symphony. Also, Writing Exercise: Plot.
Week 5 — Special Topics: Fairy and Folklore. Also, Workshop of Complete Short Stories.
Week 6 — Special Topics: Dystopia and Allegory. Also, Workshop of Complete Short Stories.
Week 7 — Special Topics: Aliens and Shadowy Twins. Also, Workshop of Complete Short Stories.
Week 8 — Final Reflections, and Charting the Next Stage of the Journey.
Laura Williams McCaffrey is the kind of teacher and mentor whose voice and advice stay with you forever. I last worked with Laura a few years ago, and even now, as I tackle challenges in my writing, I hear her voice in my head, - kind, straightforward, sharp - advising me and helping me along. Laura is not only a phenomenal writer; she is a true teacher. She doesn't point out what's wrong with your work; she asks the right questions, so you come to the answers of what works and what doesn't yourself. I feel privileged to have had Laura as a teacher and mentor, and I would take any class of hers, anytime! - Beth Grosart
Laura is a gifted teacher who combines a passion for excellent writing with a genuine interest in the development of her students. I have grown tremendously under her mentorship, and her lessons continue to enrich my own writing. - Joyce McPherson, children's author
Laura Williams McCaffrey is not only a fantastic teacher, she is also a master of magic. McCaffrey always lets her students in on the secrets of her wonderful writing, and guides students to their best work with her thoughtful insight and calm instruction. I’ve had the honor of working with McCaffrey for a full semester and because of her, my fiction has a clear path and is the strongest it’s ever been. – Jessica Kennedy