Deepening Fiction: Advanced Story Technique

Experienced writers, here are the advanced skills to help you produce publishable work and deepen your craft. Lessons include: complicating characters; reimagining perspective; refining metaphors; and capturing voice. Readings come from Ernest Hemingway, Tobias Wolff, John Updike, and others. Put the techniques directly into practice and receive individual feedback. In Option 2, you may add an instructor's critique of your 2,500-word piece.

At a glance

What: Deepening Fiction: Advanced Story Technique

When: Start anytime, complete within 1 year

Where: Online

Cost: Option 1: 2.0 CEUs, $175 | Option 2: 3.0 CEUs, $200

Instructor: Lori Devoti

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For additional information, contact Christine DeSmet: 608-262-3447

Who this course is for

This course is ideal for intermediate to advanced writers looking to produce publishable stories by deepening their fictional craft, prospective MFA candidates who want to tighten up short stories and produce stronger application portfolios, and students ready to take the next step after completing “How to Write Compelling Fiction” and/or “Take Your Characters to Dinner.”

What we cover in this course

Learn how the inner lives of your characters bring out the tension in your plot, discover surprising uses of first- and third-person perspectives, and see exactly what it takes to find your true “voice.” You’ll receive detailed lessons full of practical advice, and you’ll have the chance to see the concepts at work in example readings from short-story masters.

Each lesson culminates in an exercise, so students put techniques directly to practice and receive individualized feedback — prompt, professional, and supportive responses from your instructor, Lori Devoti. And because Deepening Fiction is an entirely e-mail-based course, you can write at your own pace and submit each lesson whenever you like.


  1. Complicating Characters: How Inner Lives Fuel Better Conflicts
  2. Re-imagining Perspective: Subjectivity and Objectivity in the 3rd Person
  3. Re-imagining Perspective: Surprise in the First Person
  4. Voice Lessons: Discover and Develop Your Narrative Style
  5. The Hills Are Alive: Setting as Character
  6. Fits Like a… Tightly Crafted Metaphor
  7. Unstoppable Story Momentum

With standard Option 1 registration, you’ll receive each lesson and specific, one-on-one feedback on your written exercises. With Option 2 registration you’ll receive all of these benefits, and your course will culminate in an additional bonus critique of a complete story (up to 2,500 words).

How the course works

You can start our writing workshops anytime, and there are no required hours to log on. It's all done with one-on-one correspondence with the instructor using email. We have writers from around the world participating in our workshops. A lot of great writing gets accomplished via email. Because of the one-on-one nature of our workshops, you'll find them an excellent "coaching" or mentoring situation that will keep you going. And if you want to just work on your own — hey, that's fine too. Of course you can do the suggested exercises on your own without the feedback if you'd rather do that. We're also here throughout the year if you have questions.