The Pang in Your Heart: Short Story Workshop (with Elizabeth Bernstein)

Elizabeth Bernstein

Elizabeth Bernstein




MONDAYS, APRIL 18–JUNE 13  |  A short story can knock you flat, it can break your heart, it can make you believe in the world. But how? How can you achieve all that in just a few thousand words? This comprehensive workshop will cover the key elements that make a short story great: plot, character, structure, dialogue, pacing, tension, and more. In class, we’ll explore the short story form using fun in-class exercises, close analysis of weekly readings, handouts, lecture, and discussion. We’ll also talk about how to integrate writing into your life, survive the slush pile, and publish your work. Each student will workshop one of their own stories at length.

The difference between a short story and a novel is the difference between a pang in your heart compared to the tragedy of your whole life. It’s all a matter of how you feel the pain. Read a great story and there it is — right now — in your gut. A novel gives you some time between innings. A story is complete, remorseless.” — Peter Orner

Elizabeth Bernstein is a fiction writer and freelance story editor. Her short stories have been published in McSweeney’s, Tin House, the North Atlantic Review, eleven eleven, the Los Angeles Times Sunday magazine, and elsewhere. Her short story “Alice” won first prize in the San Francisco Bay Guardian fiction contest and was optioned by Sneaky Little Sister Films. She founded The Big Ugly Review (, which was called “a great literary magazine” by Utne Reader. She has an M.A. and M.F.A. in creative writing from San Francisco State University.


Number of sessions: 8

Meeting time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Dates: Mondays, April 18, 25; May 2, 9, 16, 23 (no class Memorial Day, May 30); June 6, 13

Course fee: $495

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