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Jonathan Escoffery

The Final Drafts: Revising Your Short Stories

Jonathan Escoffery, photo by Cola Greenhill-Casados
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You’ve written a draft of one or more stories. Now what? In this workshop you’ll learn techniques for polishing your short stories. In particular, we’ll work in service of your story’s intention to locate its strengths and weaknesses and create a plan for taking your draft to a place of completion.

Each class will focus on a different craft topic such as opening/closing pages, character development, plot and structure, point of view, style, and sentence-level execution. We’ll do writing exercises to sharpen your revision skills. We will also read and discuss a few contemporary short stories, not (solely) for literary analysis, but as curious, careful writers of fiction.

By the end of the course, you’ll come away with tools for revising your future short work, as well as a concrete plan for revising your current story draft. The instructor will share individualized verbal critique of students’ work during class, and will be available to meet briefly with students one-on-one afterwards, if they are interested.

Students will be asked to submit in advance their own short story of up to ten pages double-spaced (2,500 words max). You will then be asked to read your classmates’ shared materials and be prepared to offer verbal critiques in class and engage with the texts from the perspective of the writer-in-learning.


  • This is an all-levels workshop.
  • Please submit a cover letter that states your interest in this workshop and gives an overview of your prior workshop experience, if any.
  • The cost is $675. If you are selected to participate in the workshop, a deposit of $300 is required to register, with the balance due by September 30.
  • If you are accepted, you have the option of attending the Keynote on Thursday, January 11, at a reduced price of $150 (we will send you a link upon confirmation). Alternately, you may purchase a ticket to attend the Seminar in full, as it runs after the workshops (January 11 – 14).
  • Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and/or to apply for a Workshop Fellowship Award. (Do not submit a regular application if you are requesting financial aid.)
  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the class is full.



Jonathan Escoffery is author of the critically acclaimed debut story collection If I Survive You, a New York Times and Booklist Editors’ Choice and IndieNext Pick. The book has been nominated for more than a dozen prizes and awards internationally, and was named a best book of 2022 by NPR, the New YorkerEntertainment Weekly, People, TIME, Oprah Daily, Vox MagazineKirkus Reviews, BookPageReal SimpleLiterary Hub, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and elsewhere.

He has taught creative writing at Stanford University, Warren Wilson College, Randolph College, the University of Minnesota, the Center for Fiction, Tin House, and at GrubStreet in Boston, where, as former staff, he founded the Boston Writers of Color group, which currently has more than 2,000 members.

Escoffery is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Creative Writing MFA Program (Fiction) and attends the University of Southern California’s Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature Program as a Provost Fellow. He is a 2021-2023 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His forthcoming novel is Play Stone Kill Bird.