To build a strong foundation for our writing, we must understand the basic elements of our craft. In this eight-week course, we will read contemporary short stories and consider how and why they work so successfully. For the first six weeks, we will take a deep look at a different element of craft each class and the skills that bring them to life: character, setting, plot, point of view, conflict, and theme. Through discussions and writing prompts, we will learn how to employ these skills and heighten these craft elements in our own writing. For the final two weeks, students will workshop their own stories, employing what they have learned. In our workshops, we will consider each submission with a thoughtful and open mind. By approaching every submission on its own terms, we will help our fellow writers hone their skills and deepen the impact of their stories. Finally, by sharing work, students will grow as editors and readers as well.