I like reading, but I find that I typically gravitate toward romance, paranormal romance, adventure, and thrillers. I’m currently in a class that goes on for 18 weeks where 8 students are led by an established author and read a few stories from The Best Horror of the Year, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, as well as The Best American Short Story of the Year. While we read particular stories, we are also reading our peer’s short stories. Each student is to write four short stories, each around 5,000 words for the duration of the class.
I’ll be honest with you. I LOVED this class. Each class we would review stories from one of the anthologies. We read and then analyze why the story worked or didn’t work. Our instructor would first break down each story to make sure we understood what it was about and then discuss why he thought it was in the anthology and what was great about the story. Afterward, each student would do the same.
My favorite anthology by far was The Best Horror of the Year 2022. A majority of those stories had me on the edge of my seat while I read them. To me, they fit Freytag to a tee! I loved how the stories increased the tension in just the right areas. And then bam, a fantastic ending I didn’t see coming. They left me wondering how particular characters could do certain things. One of my favorite stories was by Christopher Golden, “The God Bag.” I remember Christopher Golden because he wrote a lot of the Buffy and Angel novels I read when I was growing up, my favorite- Pretty Maids All in a Row.
My least favorite anthology was The Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022. It wasn’t anything against the authors, I just don’t care for science fiction. That is not a genre I read. A lot of the stories fell flat for me, but I appreciated the techniques the authors used. I’m used to my characters being put into intense situations and adventures.
The anthology that surprised me the most was Best of American Short Stories 2022. Although these stories were literary fiction, something I typically don’t read the real life stories of the characters in this book was intense. There were a few stories in there that were my favorite. One being, “The Wind.” That one was super intense. I felt like I was reading Bird Box again.
I’m a week away from this class ending and I’m getting pretty upset. This was by far one of my favorite classes and I am going to miss it dearly once it’s completed. I really wish it lasted all year, but alas it does not. To help keep me on my A game I am now going to refocus on the short stories I did write during this course and try to make them even better than before. Then I’ll start to them out.
To me, one of the best things I’ve ever done is continue my education in my writing. I’m starting to see my stories get better and better. And I couldn’t be happier.
But what about you, have you taken any writing classes recently? If so, where and what class was it?