Eleven Stories

Registration open from December 1 to 29, 2017; course begins January 2, 2018. 

eleven stories coffeeDates: Year-long
Lecturers: Kim Addonizio, Sheila Bender, Gary Copeland Lilley, Sayantani Dasgupta, Jordan Hartt, Pam Houston, and Sam Ligon. Also featuring special guest lectures by Erin Belieu.
Registration: available down the page, or contact [email protected]

Designed for writers who want to build their portfolio of publications, Eleven Stories is a one-year, MFA-equivalent course and writing community, created to give you eleven short stories ready for publication.

We use a closed, private Facebook group as our central gathering place, which works really well thanks to the “Add File” feature for video and text-based craft lectures and readings.

By the end of next December you’ll have eleven new stories written, revised, and submitted for publication; have read or re-read over 90 works of the masters through 48 separate craft lectures; and know the exact literary journals seeking the kind of writing you’re doing–all while becoming the writer you’ve always wanted to be.

Participants in our 2017 Maui Writers’ Retreat discuss a story’s beginning paragraph

Writing Lectures, Workshopping, and Submissions
Craft Lectures
Each Monday, we post a new craft lecture full of readings, intensive craft analysis, and writing prompts based on the material. Each lecture and associated prompts could keep you busy for months–and there is one per week. They’re designed with busy writers in mind, to work around your schedule. Don’t worry if you miss some: they are all there for you when you want to get into them.

All this reading and writing is designed to feed into one new short story each month, which you have the option to post for critique. For public story postings, rules and guidelines are given out to all participants in how to make comments that help a story get to its next draft. This is moderated so that you only receive helpful and inspirational notes on your work-in-progress to excite you about its next draft. The process works! Want additional, intensive private critique on your finished work from faculty member Sheila Bender? Simply select the “critique” option at checkout.

Along with writing and revising, we discuss intensively the submission process and post hundreds of magazine deadlines as they open, giving you the journals and magazines that best fit your work, as you build your portfolio of publications with the eye toward a collection of stories.

Write in community
Write in community

Email [email protected] or call 1.531.1472 for more information, or simply register directly below.

This $210 course ($17.50/month) is designed for those who want to write–and publish. You’ll get eleven finished stories, as well as craft instruction, ongoing community, and writing inspiration that lasts, through 48 craft lectures and writing exercises.

The $2,100 critique option ($175/month) gives you the option of an intensive, monthly critique on your story with Sheila Bender, going over its craft elements and where to submit it after revision. No one else in the group will know which option you’ve registered for and you can change your registration option at any time.

Eleven Stories: intensive writing craft, writing community, and the ongoing inspiration of a life built around writing. Tuition starts December of 2017 and ends November of 2018, with December of 2018 included for free.

Questions! Contact Jordan: [email protected].

All readings provided for you. We read them like writers and steal all the good techniques we find. 

Quarter I (January-March): Character & Setting

Month Craft Lecture Readings Writing
January Character & Setting: Introduction “Old Loafers”; “High Heat”; “Araby”; selection from “Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man” Craft exercises
Point of View I: First Person “Eyes of a Blue Dog”; “The Colonel”; “Sonny’s Blues” Craft exercises
Point of View II: First Person “Car Crash While Hitchhiking”; “Why I Live at the P.O.”; “The Swim Team” Craft exercises
Point of View III: First Person “Recitatif” Craft exercises
Point of View IV: Third Person “Miss Brill”; “The Garden Party”; “The Voyage”; “Kew Gardens” The 55-word story
February Point of View V: Third Person “Counterparts”; “What Happened During the Ice Storm”; “The Rockpile” Craft exercises
Point of View VI: Third Person “The Boarding House”;  “Why Don’t You Dance?”; “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” Craft exercises
Point of View VII: Second Person “How To Love a Cowboy”; “Theory of Dramatic Action”; “How to Become a Writer” Craft exercises
Point of View VIII: Speaker to Character Prologue to “The Stories of Eva Luna”; “And of Clay We Are Created”; “Orientation” The 101-word story
March Character & Setting II: Character Through Detail “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”; “Girl”; “Pretty Ice” Craft exercises
Character & Setting III: Character Through Detail II “The Things They Carried”; “Aluminum” Craft exercises
Character & Setting IV: Setting Through Voice “An Unspoken Hunger”; “My Man Bovanne” Craft exercises
Character & Setting V: Influence of Setting on Story “The String”; “Hills Like White Elephants” The 300-word story

Quarter II (April-June): Character & Setting II

Month Craft Lecture Readings Writing
April Character & Setting VI: Horizontal v. Vertical “The Habit of Writing”; “Anna” Craft exercises
Character & Setting VII: Horizontal v. Vertical II “A Father’s Story” Craft exercises
Character & Setting VIII: Influence of Setting on Story II “The New Dress” Craft exercises
Character & Setting IX: Handling Time “The Waves Were Low”; “Big, Two-Hearted River: Parts I & II”; “Eveline” Craft exercises
Character & Setting X: Handling Time “Blue Skies”; “Oranges and Apples” The 500-word story
May Character & Setting XI: Character and Absence “This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” Craft exercises
Character & Setting XII: Character and Presence “An Encounter” Craft exercises
Character & Setting XIII: Character Change “Chef’s House”; “The Story of An Hour” Craft exercises
Character & Setting XIV: Communal Character “A Rose for Emily”; “Those Who Don’t” The 750-word story
June Character & Setting XV: Historical Character “Meneseteung” Craft exercises
Character & Setting XVI: Character Action “My World of the Unknown” Craft exercises
Character & Setting XVII: Character Action II “Dirigibles”; “Cape Cod Pantoum” Craft exercises
Character & Setting XVIII: Character Points of View “Benito Cereno” The 1,000-word story

Quarter III (July-September): Literary Forms & Techniques

Month Craft Lecture Readings Writing
July Techniques: Symbolism “Clay”; “Two Gallants”; “Everyday Use” Craft exercises
Techniques: Naturalism “Loading a Boar”; “High School as a Dead Girl” Craft exercises
Techniques: Naturalism II “El Morro” Craft exercises
Techniques: Stream-of-Consciousness “I Stand Here Ironing”; selections from “Ulysses” Craft exercises
Techniques: Epistolary “The Cousins” The 750-word story
August Techniques: Epistolary II Selections from “Lady Susan” and “So Long a Letter” Craft exercises
Techniques: Reverse Chronology “Reverting To a Wild State” Craft exercises
Techniques: Realism “A Day’s Wait”; “One Of These Days” Craft exercises
Techniques: Magical Realism “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”; “Blacamán the Good, Vendor of Miracles” The 500-word story
September Techniques: Magical Realism II “Axotl”; “Flying Carpets” Craft exercises
Techniques: Dirty/K-Mart Realism “This is What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” Craft exercises
Techniques: Dirty/K-Mart Realism II “Hunters in the Snow”; “Sweethearts” Craft exercises
Techniques: Politics and Fiction “Ivy Day in the Committee Room”; “How To Love a Republican” The 300-word story

Quarter IV (October-December): Major Authors & Preparation for Publication 

Month Craft Lecture Readings Writing
October Major Short Fiction Writers: Anton Chekhov “The Lady with the Dog”; “Gooseberries” Craft exercises
Major Short Fiction Writers: Lorrie Moore “People Like That Are the Only People Here”; “You’re Ugly, Too” Craft exercises
Major Short Fiction Writers: Ernest Hemingway “Cat in the Rain”; “Cross-Country Snow”; “The Three-Day Blow” Craft exercises
Major Short Fiction Writers: William Trevor “Teresa’s Wedding”; “Kathleen’s Field”; “Two More Gallants” The 101-word story
Major Short Fiction Writers: Isabel Allende “Two Words”; “Our Secret”; “The Phantom Palace” Craft exercises
November Major Short Fiction Writers: Flannery O’Connor “Everything that Rises Must Converge”; “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” Craft exercises
Major Short Fiction Writers: Toni Cade Bambara “Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird”; “The Lesson” Craft exercises
Major Short Fiction Writers: Alice Munro “The Bear Came Over the Mountain”; “Runaway” Craft exercises
Major Short Fiction Writers: James Joyce “A Mother”; “Grace”; “The Dead”; “The Sisters”  The 55-word story
December Submissions I
Submissions II
Submissions III


Course Facilitator
Jordan Hartt

kapiti-imageFor the past decade I’ve served between three and six thousand writers per year, at events that include the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, the YAWP retreats, the Desert Writers’ Retreat, and multiple writing retreats in Jamaica, Uganda, New Zealand, Seattle, San Francisco, Kaua’i, Maui, and on the Big Island of Hawai’i.

Participants in my programs have published over three thousand times in literary journals, including all the major magazines; over two hundred books on nationally ranked presses; and been featured in the Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, and Best American Short Stories anthologies.

My own writing has appeared in about forty literary magazines and journals. My collection of stories “Leap,” appeared in 2015.

Course Lecturers

Kim Addonizio is the author of six poetry collections, two novels, two story collections, and two books on writing poetry, “The Poet’s Companion” (with Dorianne Laux) and “Ordinary Genius.” She has received fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation, two Pushcart Prizes, and was a National Book Award Finalist for her collection Tell Me. Her latest books are “Mortal Trash” and a memoir-in-essays, “Bukowski in a Sundress.” “Writing is an ongoing fascination and challenge,” Kim says, “as well as being the only form of spirituality I can consistently practice. I started as a poet and will always return to poetry—both reading and writing it—for that sense of deep discovery and communion I find there. There are only two useful rules I can think of for aspiring writers: learn your craft, and persist. The rest, as Henry James said, is the madness of art.”

unnamedSheila Bender’s passion is helping writers break out into new forms, revise effectively, generate more writing and facilitate the writing of others. In the last three decades, she has worked with hundreds of people helping them write personal essays, fiction, and more meaningful writer’s journals, in addition to book-length memoir, how-to books and novels. She is the author of the memoir, “A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief,” and the instructional book “Creative Writing Demystified,” available in e-book format. More of her instructional work includes “Sorrow’s Words: Writing Exercises to Heal Grief. She has taught at colleges, universities and community centers and presented at national writers’ programs and conferences.

Gary Copeland LilleyGary Copeland Lilley is a North Carolina poet living, writing, and teaching in the Pacific Northwest. His publications include four full-length collections, the most recent of which is The Bushman’s Medicine Show, from Lost Horse Press (2017), and three chapbooks of poetry. He is a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program, and been faculty at Warren Wilson College, the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. and the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and has been a visiting writer at the University of Arizona, Colby College, and the Institute of American Indian Arts.

View More: http://heatherwoolery.pass.us/sd_brick_1Sayantani Dasgupta is an essayist, a short story writer, and the author of “Fire Girl” and the chapbook “The House of Nails.” Born in Calcutta and raised in New Delhi, she has lived in the United States since 2006. Sayantani’s publications have won a Pushcart Prize Special Mention, and Dukool Magazine‘s 2016 Prize for Creative Nonfiction. Her essay “Oscillation” was the finalist for Phoebe Magazine‘s 2014 Creative Nonfiction Contest. She works as the editor of the Crab Creek Review.

Pam Houston’s most recent book is “Contents May Have Shifted,” published in 2012. She is also the author of two collections of linked short stories– “Cowboys Are My Weakness” and “Waltzing the Cat”–the novel, “Sight Hound,” and a collection of essays, “A Little More About Me,” all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of the Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, and the Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA award for contemporary fiction, The Evil Companions Literary Award and multiple teaching awards.

Samuel Ligon is the author of two novels—”Among the Dead and Dreaming” and “Safe in Heaven Dead”—and two collections of stories, “Wonderland,” illustrated by Stephen Knezovich, and “Drift and Swerve.” His stories have appeared in Prairie Schooner, the New England Review, New Ohio Review, Gulf Coast, and Okey-Panky, among other places, and his essays appear in The Inlander. Ligon edits the journal Willow Springs and teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane.