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356762: Short Story III WRITING-X 412.3

  • Fall 2017
  • Section 1
  • 3 Credits
  • 10/04/2017 to 12/13/2017
  • Modified 09/28/2017


The short story, one of the most challenging of all literary forms, requires the precision and imagistic intensity of poetry combined with novelistic elements of structure, setting, and characterization. This workshop helps you to realize your fictional intentions through detailed written critiques and to prepare your stories for publication in targeted markets. The course goal is to complete two new stories and one revision.


Various workshop stories

The workshop stories we submit in class will form the fabric of our discussion. I may also make reading suggestions along the way, but these are optional.



Many of you are not taking this course for credit. Let me say first off that I think that’s a perfectly legitimate decision. Grading for creative work is by nature a bit tricky, and often it sidetracks us from the actual learning, the actual creative exploration taking place. Too much focus on grades often dissuades students from taking chances in their work and causes students to pay more attention to the letter than to the comments being made. Still, not taking the class for credit can make it much harder for students to remain motivated, so it’s worth keeping that in mind.


If you're pursuing a Creative Writing Certificate, you must enroll in this class for a letter grade and earn at least a "C" or better.


Students may request a grading status change any time before the midpoint of this class by phoning the Registrar’s Office at (310) 825-9971 or requesting a grading status change online by logging into “MyExtension” at After the midpoint of this class but before the instructor’s submission of final course grades, students should ask for the instructor’s approval of a status change. For those of you who are taking this class for a grade, it breaks down as follows:


  1. Participation in discussion boards:                    40
  2. Workshop Story #1:                                            12
  3. Workshop Story #2:                                            12
  4. Revision:                                                              36                                                                          

Total Possible                                                                100 points


Grading Scale


A = 90 points to 100 points

B = 80 points to 89 points

C = 70 points to 79 points

D = 60 points to 69 points

F = 50 points to 59 points


Because I want you to take chances, I don’t grade the first two workshop stories on quality. Basically, if you’ve submitted the story on time, and it’s clear to me that you’ve spent some time in working on it, you’ll get full credit. With the revision, it’s different matter. There, I’m mostly looking for real evidence that you’re embracing the process—that you’re making thoughtful, big-picture changes based on the feedback you’ve been given.

Course Policies

Policies about Deadlines and Late Work

Life happens and I understand that work and family emergencies occur. Still, firm due dates are part of what keeps a class consistent, and self-discipline is part of the writing life. So if something comes up, please contact me before an assignment is late, so we can try to work out a new due date. I do not grade or comment on work that has been turned in late without my prior permission.


Each week, we’ll have discussions about the workshop stories. These discussions will form the fabric of the course. That means that active, engaged participation is absolutely key. It's important that you comment on each and every story submitted for workshop. The only you shouldn't be responding to is your own!

There’s also a Faculty Office forum for you to ask me general questions about the assignments, expectations, etc. And then, there’s Shop Talk, an informal forum in which we can discuss various areas of fiction as you like. These aren’t areas in which you receive credit. They’re simply resources to help along the way.


I’ll generally check in and read posts every day and post at least every other day

Class Netiquette


It’s essential for this class that all of the students be kind and courteous to one another in the classroom—and especially in the workshop. No one likes to be criticized. And though engaging the piece critically is part of what helps make it better, tone is essential. It’s particularly important in an online environment where we aren’t able to modulate by voice, facial expression, etc. Here are some things to keep in mind:


1) Please remember that when we discuss one another’s work in this open way, there is great opportunity to hurt the writer’s feelings, even if it’s completely unintentional. Try to focus on the technical aspects of the work and not on your evaluation of the psychology of the writer.


2) You will read the stories of others, exposing yourself to an array of responses and strategies. You will comment on the writing of your classmates and receive from them comments on your own writing. You will also receive feedback from me, typically giving suggestions for using technique more effectively.


3) Good feedback can be short or long, so I won't impose an arbitrary length on yours. Of course, it should avoid personal attacks, insults, or harassment of any kind. Your stance should be that of a careful and interested reader. You're making suggestions or observations the writer can take into the next draft or into other pieces. In my feedback, I will always assume your work is a draft in progress. I will gear my comments toward improvements you can make in future drafts, even though you may not actually choose to rewrite that particular piece. Whenever possible, when identifying flaws in another writer’s work, search for some means by which to rectify the problem. If you were the author of this piece, how would you choose to deal with this problem? Workshops can be heartbreakers or they can be truly effective problem-solving sessions.


4) Feedback is most helpful if it makes specific points. It's least helpful when it deals

in generalizations. Let’s take a look:


Example 1


"Your piece is great."

"I really didn't like this. It just didn't work for me."


These are weak and uninformative feedback, because they leave the writer nothing specific to work on. Overall judgments like this are usually not helpful in revision (especially if they're negative).


Example 2


"I like the way you used point of view."

"Seems like the point of view changes throughout the piece."


These are better, because they help the writer focus on a specific aspect of the piece.


Example 3


"I couldn't figure out whose point of view we're seeing in Paragraph 4."


"I liked the way you shifted from the dog's point of view to your brother's in Paragraph 3. That helped me understand the conflict between them—how the dog thought the brother was stealing its food, but the brother thought he was just saving the dog from a bad case of indigestion."


These are useful comments. They let the writer know whether a specific aspect of the piece is working (at least for one reader), giving her some idea where she might best spend her revision time.


*Notice that useful feedback doesn't necessarily have to offer suggestions. It can merely observe, leaving the writer to work out solutions for herself. Usually, I myself do offer suggestions, probably because I am the type of writer who really appreciates getting suggestions. Still, that doesn’t mean that the student writer is in any way obligated to take me up on these suggestions. In revision, I want to see that the writer has thought through the feedback received, but that hardly means taking every single piece of advice.


Course Evaluation

To help the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program better serve our students, at the end of the course you will be asked to complete an evaluation.  These evaluations are 100% anonymous and help shape the program curriculum.  Please take the time to fill out this quick form, and don’t be afraid to be candid in your responses.




Workshop – Each student must submit two stories and a revision. I won’t impose any page requirements, but it should probably be around 8 to 15 pages double spaced—that is, long enough to be what is generally considered a full-length story, but short enough to be considerate of your fellow classmates. The third story should be a revision of one of the two previous stories along with a brief explanation of those revisions. The stories will be due at the end of each week, so that the rest of the class has time to discuss them the week following. (You will be placed in groups at the beginning the class.)

Underage Students

As UCLA's principal provider of continuing education, the majority of UCLA Extension courses are designed for the post-baccalaureate professional-level student. Enrollment is therefore normally reserved for adult students 18 years of age and older. The Writers’ Program may consent to enroll younger students based on special academic competence and approval of the instructor. Minors who enroll in a Writers’ Program course without first receiving permission from both the department and the instructor are subject to withdrawal.  To request approval, please contact the Writers’ Program at 310/825-9415.

Institutional Policies

Student Conduct

Students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of misconduct or attempted misconduct, including but not limited to dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University; or theft or misuse of the intellectual property of others or violation of others' copyrights. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with policy provisions which proscribe these and other forms of misconduct at:

Services for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, UCLA Extension provides appropriate accommodations and support services to qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These include, but are not limited to, auxiliary aids/services such as sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices for hearing-impaired individuals, extended time for and proctoring of exams, and registration assistance. Accommodations and types of support services vary and are specifically designed to meet the disability-related needs of each student based on current, verifiable medical documentation. Arrangements for auxiliary aids/services are available only through UCLA Extension’s Office for Students with Disabilities at (310) 825-0183 or by email at [email protected]. For complete information see:


Your instructor may post the interim grade Incomplete/I if at the end of the class your overall work is of passing quality but a portion could not be submitted for understandable reasons (e.g. illness). It is your responsibility to petition your instructor for permission to submit work late and to provide an explanation, and it is his or her sole decision whether to accept the explanation. If permitted, the Incomplete/I grade will be posted and a time frame defined for you to submit the missing work, ranging from one to twelve weeks. Incomplete/I grades that remain unchanged after twelve weeks will lapse to F, NP or U. Receiving an I grade entitles you to submit only the missing work your instructor has agreed to accept late, and does not allow other work to be retaken or oblige UCLA Extension to provide continuing access to course materials via Canvas. The Incomplete/I grade is not an option for courses that do not bear credit, such as 700, 800, or 900-level courses. For complete information, see:

All Grades are Final

No change of grade may be made by anyone other than the instructor, and then, only to correct clerical errors. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination. The correction of a clerical error may be authorized only by the instructor of record communicating directly with personnel of Student and Alumni Services.

Sexual Harassment

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Every member of the community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that such behavior violates both law and University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates our policy.

All Extension students and instructors who believe they have been sexually harassed are encouraged to contact the Department of Student and Alumni Services for complaint resolution: UCLA Extension, Suite 113, 10995 Le Conte Ave., Westwood; Voice/TTY: (310) 825-7031. View the University’s full Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence at

Additional Items

About Your Online Course Materials

Please note the following about online course components at UCLA Extension:

  • Students must have basic computer skills, including the use of word processing software, email, and the ability to use internet browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.
  • Students are responsible for meeting the technical requirements of Canvas and familiarizing themselves with the Canvas Learning Management System.
  • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of all assignments and work submitted, and to be aware of all assignments, due dates, and course guidelines.
  • Students are encouraged to keep and/or download a local copy of their assignment files, as access to the online environment of a specific course is limited to 30 days after the final course date, as listed in the course catalog.

    If you need assistance downloading student materials from your course, please contact Canvas Support or the Office of Instructional Enhancement.

UCLA Extension Enhanced Support

Email: [email protected]
Phone: Toll-free at (866) 269-7289 (US only) or (310) 206-4563.
Monday - Friday, 7am to 6pm (Pacific Time).
The UCLA Extension course management team assists both students and instructors with Canvas-related technical support, as well as general administrative questions.

For additional support on using Canvas or addressing a technical issue:
Click on the ''Help'' button on the lower left corner of the screen from within the Canvas system, where you can chat live with a technical support agent or submit a ticket for assistance.


Course calendar and related activities
When Topic Notes
Week 1: W 10/4-T 10/10


  1. Bios (please post within the first two days of class)
  2. Group A Workshop (I will solicit volunteers to submit before the class begins so we can get started immediately)


  1. Group B Workshop Stories are due at the end of Week 1



Week 2: W 10/11 - T 10/17


  1. Group B Workshop


  1. Group C Workshop Stories are due at the end of Week 2



Week 3: W 10/18 - T 10/24


  1. Group C Workshop


  1. Group A second Workshop Stories are due at the end of Week 3



Week 4: W 10/25 - T 10/31



  1. Group A Workshop


  1. Group B second Workshop Stories are due at the end of Week 4



Week 5: W 11/1-T 11/7


  1. Group B Workshop


  1. Group C second Workshop Stories are due at the end of Week 5



Week 6: W 11/8-T 11/14


  1. Group C Workshop



Week 7: W 11/15 - T 11/21


*Open, informal discussion about revision.

Due: Group A Revisions due at the end of Week 7



Week 8: W 11/22-T 11/28


  1. Group A Revision Workshop


  1. Group B Revisions due at the end of Week 8



Week 9: W 11/29-T 12/5


  1. Group B Revision Workshop


  1. Group C Revisions due at the end of Week 9



Week 10: W 12/6 - T 12/12


  1. Group C Revision Workshop