Your Life Story is Five Pages Long with Stephen Graham Jones

An intensive 4-week Master Class that explores the boundaries of fiction and non-fiction while paring down to the essentials for effective and salable short work.

Your Instructor: Stephen Graham Jones (author of Demon Theory and The Fast Red Road)

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: Maximum Enrollment: 20 Students

Price: $397

Class Description


"Last summer I taught a one-week MFA workshop, a hired-gun thing, three or four hours for five days, and, at the last moment before the catalogue printed, I came up with a title for it: "Your Life Story is Two Pages Long." Just because I thought it sounded cool -- not because I had any idea what to do with a title like that. However, I got lucky, came up with an exercise or three that ended up working, and that class, man, they produced such excellent stories. My only regret was that we couldn't run down all the rabbit holes that kept showing up along the way.

So, now, yep: "Your Life Story is Five Pages Long." Or, more to our purposes: four weeks long. This time I've built the rabbit holes in, I think. The first week we'll read and discuss, try to . . . not so much generate a vocabulary by which to talk about fiction -- you've already got that -- but a chance for us to know where everybody's coming from, storywise. We'll look at what's good, what's bad. What's real, what feels real. And always how to condense it further, how to pare and pare until just that beating heart is left on the page. Yours. But no, I'm not advocating nonfiction. What I'm pushing for, it's for your fiction to have that same feel that nonfiction has: that this isn't a lie. If you can just get your reader to buy into that, they'll accept anything else. That's what it's all about."  -SGJ


Four intensive, mind-altering weeks, with the expectation the course will "sleep" on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, releasing the handbrake and squeezing the throtle again on December 26.

What This Class Covers

  • prose that doesn't suck
  • hook lines that hook
  • endings that take a chance
  • middles that don't bog down
  • the complete absence of flashbackery
  • indirect exposition
  • alternate forms
  • narrative economy
  • faking your way to truth

Goals Of This Class

For you to produce something an editor will bite on, and for the tactics and techniques you learn for this single piece to bleed over into your next project, and the one after that, until it becomes instinct.

The New:

"I plan on doing a lot of vimeo (video sharing) for these four weeks -- including your critiques. On-line teaching isn't meant to replicate the chalk and paper classroom, but there's something to be said for being walked through a story out-loud and in a group." -SGJ

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