Writing Character-Driven Short Stories

Yiyun Li, Writer

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
8 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Introduction

      3:01
    • 2. Your Assignment: Write a Short Story

      4:03
    • 3. What Is a Short Story?

      8:04
    • 4. Developing Characters

      7:29
    • 5. Transforming Situations into Stories

      6:44
    • 6. Writing Your Story

      5:11
    • 7. Revising and Workshopping

      9:40
    • 8. Final Thoughts: Publishing and Inspiration

      2:35
129 students are watching this class

About This Class

How do you write a great short story? In this 45-minute class, Yiyun Li walks us through prompts, strategies, and advice for writing compelling characters, turning situations into stories, and revising work into a polished piece.

Li is a professor at UC Davis, a MacArthur Fellow, and has been named a "20 Under 40" writer by The New Yorker. In addition to the class video lessons, Li shares her 4 favorite short stories, and every student will write their own 3-5 page short story inspired by an online comment, review, or obituary. (She provides a few favorites, or you can choose your own.)

Beginning writers can take this class to get started writing fiction, and experienced writers can take this class to try out new writing styles and get feedback on their work. It's perfect for writers, bloggers, literature lovers, and everyone who loves a compelling story.