North Central College - Naperville, IL

Writing Life Short Stories

The Writing Life Short Stories course is an innovative workshop course offering advanced practice in the creation of popular and/or literary autobiography and biography-based manuscripts. Students learn to transform and draft meaningful life stories into traditional and mixed-genre pieces suitable for publication or agenting. Particular emphasis will be given to market-ready creative nonfiction and literary journalism, memoir and travel writing, and may also include long-form poem cycles and personal essays.

This class provides an understanding of the basic techniques of transforming life stories into various forms, ability to analyze the potential of life story and its relationship to form and markets, and knowledge of the personal importance of life stories and their relationship to various markets. Topics covered include finding forms, poetry and prose, scene and life, metaphor and meaning, finding language, life as theater, markets for lives and editing lives.

Coursework may includes weekly writings and serving as constructive and encouraging critics of peers’ work. For a final project, students may have to submit, as they might in a professional setting, two complete chapters and a full proposal for publication.