YMCA Creative Writing Class


12 Week Creative Writing Class at the Gig Harbor YMCA

Café Stories website at: http://cafestories.net

Where to read fiction online:

Best Short Fiction Writers at: http://bit.ly/2ySCWcI

Classic Short Stories at: http://www.classicshorts.com/

20 Great American Short Stories at: http://bit.ly/2pNm6aO

100 Great American Stories at: http://bit.ly/239SnaP

27 Short Stories at: http://bit.ly/2ARBysr

Literary magazines at: http://bit.ly/2zK8IvQ and http://bit.ly/2hDDiR1

46 Literary Magazine to submit to by The Write Practice at: http://bit.ly/1HVuMQJ

Magazine search result at: http://bit.ly/2zmWSYa

Favorite Short Story Collections at: https://americanliterature.com/short-story-collections

75 Short Short Stories at: https://americanliterature.com/short-short-stories

Some of my stories are at: https://cafestories.net/stories-you-can-read

Writing Resources

Writing genres and sub genres (Steampunk?)

Writing prompts and software

Get  a kindle account – Get the free kindle ereader app at https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/fd/kcp The app works on smartphones, tablets and computers.

If you don't have a laptop, a tablet is a great device. Check out these tablets at 


eBooks are much less expensive than paperbacks and you can carry thousands of them around with you when away from home.  

The Write Practice Guide to Publishing a Short Story (a 4 part series)

How to Publish a Short Story: Find Your Publication and Idea

How to Publish a Short Story: Write your first and second drafts

How to Publish a Short Story: Final draft

How to Publish a Short Story: Submit

Places to Publish Your Story






100 Best Short Story Ideas


Short Fiction

Fiction Books
The 30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories by Mark Twain
How to Tell a Story and Other Essays by Mark Twain
The Trimmed Lamp and Other Stories of the Four Million by O. Henry
Works by O. Henry
The Complete Works of George Bernard Shaw by George Bernard Shaw
Best Russian Short Stories by Thomas Seltzer
The Adjustment Team by Philip Dick
11 Science Fiction Stories by Philip Dick
The Best American Humorous Short Stories by Alexander Jessup
The Complete Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The World’s Greatest Short Stories by James Daley
Kensington Gore’s Twisted Tales by Kensington Gore
The Man with Two Left Feet and other stories by P.G. Wodehouse
The Short Stories of P.G. Wodehouse by P.G. Wodehouse

Fiction Magazines

Writing Magazines
The Writer - https://www.writermag.com/
Writer’s Digest - http://subscriptions.writersdigest.com/Writers-Digest/Magazine

Writing Books
How to Make a Living as a Writer by James Scott Bell
How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell
How to Write Short Stories by James Scott Bell
Super Structure by James Scott Bell
Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
Write Great Fiction -  Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell
A Novel Idea by Eddie Jones
​The Seven Moments in Storytelling by Christian Blake
Story Trumps Structure by Steven James
The Negative Trait Thesaurus by Ackerman
The Positive Trait Thesaurus by Ackerman
The Emotion Thesaurus by Ackerman
Short Story Writing: A Practical Treatise on the Art of the Short Story by Barrett
Let’s Write a Short Story by Joe Bunting
Creative Writing From Think to Ink by Simeon Lindstrom
Writing Subtext: How to craft subtext that develops character, boosts suspense.. by Elizabeth Lyon
The Writing of the Short Story by Lewis Smith

Author blogs (most authors have a website and blog page)
The Write Practice – http://thewritepractice.com/
with Nancy Jill James (the queen of afternoon tea)
​with Magda Olchawska (of Mayan Films)
with Amy Manemann (author of the Taci Andrews Mysteries)
with Amber Easton (author of Dancing Barefoot)
​with Victoria Watson (author of Letting Go)







Social networking and resources for professional writers
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5321383.Jerry_Guarino
Amazon author pages - https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006C4TO9Q
GoodReads.com - bringing readers and writers together
Stage32.com - social networking website for professionals in the movie industry
Zoetrope.com - another social networking website for the arts, especially film making
IMDB.com - the best industry database of professionals with biographies, film credits and affiliated links
Independent Author Network - an association of independent authors


Note: homework is optional but helpful to improve your writing. 

Week 1

Read “How to create a believable world for your characters” at https://thewritelife.com/worldbuilding/

Write more details about your story world. Describe the setting and time period.

Read a story by Edgar Allan Poe at: https://americanliterature.com/author/edgar-allan-poe

Get a kindle account and the free kindle reading app for your tablet or computer.

Week 2

Read a story by Anton Chekhov at: http://bit.ly/2zoI2k9

Read a story by Mark Twain at: https://americanliterature.com/twenty-great-american-short-stories

Write more detail about your story world. Begin thinking about your characters.

Week 3

Read a short story by J.D. Salinger at: https://bit.ly/2GN1bhu

Read The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry at http://bit.ly/2h0LB6d and also the analysis at http://bit.ly/2h0LB6d

Begin building your plot for your story world. Sketch out events in a plot map (by hand or you might use Scapple).

Week 4

Read another short story by O. Henry at: https://americanliterature.com/short-short-stories

Read two stories at: 75 Short Short Stories at: https://americanliterature.com/short-short-stories

Read a short story by Alice Munro at: https://www.newyorker.com/contributors/alice-munro

Write the second draft of your flash fiction story (around 500 words). Improve the dialogue, showing, not telling.

Week 5

Read a short story by Phillip K. Dick at: https://bit.ly/2PMybKS

Read a short story by Katherine Mansfield at: https://bit.ly/2wuUGLi

Review your story elements. 

Begin writing your long story (1000-7500 words). 

Week 6

Read a short story by P.G. Wodehouse at: https://bit.ly/2NrNua3  

Read The Case of the Perfect Maid Agatha Christie at: https://bit.ly/2t6n1a5

Read my story The Sonoma Murder Mystery at: https://cafestories.net/stories-you-can-read  Were you able to solve the mystery before the end?

Week 7

Read a short story by one of these authors at: https://americanliterature.com/short-short-stories

Read my story The Old Man and the Sea at: https://cafestories.net/stories-you-can-read

What themes are in this story?

Week 8

Read Before the Law by Franz Kafka at: https://bit.ly/1INI82o

Read a short story by one of these American writers at: https://americanliterature.com/twenty-great-american-short-stories

Read my story The Devil’s Orchestra (in your eBook). How did choices change the main character?

Work on your longer short story. Add a difficult choice or two that your character has to make.

Week 9

Read Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves by Arabian Nights at: https://bit.ly/2NrqVlP

Read my story The Tightrope at: https://cafestories.net/stories-you-can-read or in the eBook.

Keep working on your long story.

Week 10

Read a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle at: https://bit.ly/2BTMeeI

Read a story by Flannery O’Connor at: https://bit.ly/2uCbHlJ

Continue working on your long story.

Week 11

Use Duotrope to find a market(s) for your story. Make sure your story meets the submission requirements.

Make 15 copies of your flash fiction (shorter) story. Be prepared to share with the group next week.


Some reference files and a special book offer for YMCA members.

Creative Writing vocabulary list (docx)


Creating a great plot from Scribendi at (docx)


Writing organically by Melissa McPhail (pdf)


Book offers to YMCA (pdf)


10+Steps+to+Become+a+Writer (pdf)


Creative Writing Outline and Lesson Plans (pdf)