How to Write a Great Short Story:
Cultivating Empathy, Voice & Character in Short Fiction (Morning)
with Lauren Groff & Heidi Pitlor
Join the guest editor and series editor of the 2024 volume of perennial bestseller, The Best American Short Stories, for a rare look inside a beloved American genre. Short stories are often the chosen form of new fiction writers. Increasingly, film scouts and content providers are looking to short stories for potential adaptation and publication. Mastering the short form may be your goal, or may be a useful skill in learning to write and revise novels. Groff and Pitlor discuss what they looked for when choosing The Best American Short Stories, and what all writers can learn from this.
Through discussion, generative exercises, close study of successful short stories, and question and answer sessions, Groff and Pitlor will guide you toward seeing your own and others’ fiction in a new way. They’ll discuss structure, point of view, narrative distance, characterization, as well as learning to cultivate your individual process and voice as a writer. Every piece you write is different, and must be approached in a different way. Learning to master one story is a great way to learn about your own process as a writer.
4 Mornings: Monday 11/11 – Thursday 11/14, 9:00am-12:00pm
Lauren Groff is the guest editor of this year’s The Best American Short Stories, collaborating with editor Heidi Pitlor
She is a three-time National Book Award finalist and The New York Times–bestselling author of the novels The Monsters of Templeton, Arcadia, Fates and Furies, Matrix, and The Vaster Wilds, and the celebrated short story collections Delicate Edible Birds and Florida. She has won The Story Prize, the ABA Indies’ Choice Award, France’s Grand Prix de l’Héroïne, and the Joyce Carol Oates Prize, and has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work regularly appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. Her work has been translated into thirty-six languages. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.
Heidi Pitlor has been the series editor of the annual bestselling anthology The Best American Short Stories since 2007. Before that, she was a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for ten years. In 2022, she founded Heidi Pitlor Editorial, a small freelance firm that provides editorial services to agents, editors, and published writers. Of HPE, MacArthur “genius” grant recipient and Pulitzer Prize finalist Karen Russell said, “Heidi Pitlor is one of the kindest and keenest editors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and her notes have been invaluable to me.” She has worked with Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Cheryl Strayed, Min Jin Lee, Anthony Doerr, Rainbow Rowell, Jesmyn Ward, and many other writers.
Heidi is the author of the novels The Birthdays, The Daylight Marriage, which was optioned for film, and Impersonation, of which Good Morning America said, “[it] highlights what’s important in life, parenthood, and ambition in this compulsively readable story.”