StoryStudio is thrilled to present the fifth annual StoryBoard workshop, hosted in hybrid form: in-person or online. In 2024, this week-long program will run in-person from August 11 – 16, followed by an online week August 18 – 23.

Applications EXTENDED to April 5

Dates:

August 11 – 16 in person
August 18 – 23 online

Deadlines:

Application window 
closes Friday, March 29

Cost:

$7 application fee
$815 tuition in-person
$715 tuition online

Applications:

Use Submittable to upload
your application materials and
make your faculty preference selections.

Materials include: 10-page writing sample, and a brief questionnaire

FAQs are below.

The StoryBoard program is a weeklong intensive workshop. Workshops will take place in our Chicago-based Studio, or on our online platform Zoom. For more about StoryStudio as a creative writing center under our parent nonprofit organization Stories Matter Foundation, click here.

StoryBoard will offer workshop time, community building with your cohort and instructor, and special discussions with all six authors. Throughout the week there will also be one craft talk from each instructor in the afternoons.

HERE’S HOW IT WILL WORK:

  • Sunday evening of your week, August 11 or 18, there will be a welcome meeting at the Studio or via Zoom. Have a drink and meet your fellow writers. (Optional, but highly encouraged as this is where you will meet your peers.)
  • Monday, August 12 or 19 will kick off the workshops at 10am Central.
    • Each day will include 3 hours of craft lecture and workshops, until 1pm. From there, you’ll have free time to do as you wish (continue the conversation with classmates over lunch, flop on your bed, or log off to put your inspiration to use on the page) until 3:30pm.
    • At 3:30pm, a craft talk will be given by one of the instructors on a topic of their choosing. This is optional, but we highly encourage you to attend. (All craft talks, even those in-person, will be streamed on Zoom and recorded.)
    • The days without a craft talk are free to you to explore Chicago. If you’re in-person, we encourage you to set up some lunches and dinners with your fellow cohort members, and check out some literary events around the city. If you’re virtual, we’ll have some online cocktail hours for you to all mingle and get to know one another more.
  • Special Offering: Artistic Director Rebecca Makkai will be in conversation with all faculty members in a webinar fashion on Zoom, a conversation that will be free and open to the public. Date TBD, but likely before the first week begins. This will be recorded for those unable to attend live.
  • Things will wrap up on Friday, August 16 or 23 with a goodbye reception or Zoom party following the final workshop.

Take a Break: Exploring the Poetic Line – Ananda Lima

IN-PERSON POETRY • As well as carefully engaging with each other’s work, we will explore the possibilities of the line break and the poetic line. We will discuss examples of great lines, investigate how the line interacts with other elements of poetic craft, and work using the line break in a generative way and in revision.

Breakdown:
1 hour craft talk/exercises, followed by two hours of workshop.

Ananda Lima is a poet, translator, and fiction writer, author of Craft: Stories I Wrote for the Devil (forthcoming with Tor in 2024) and the poetry collection Mother/land, winner of the 2020 Hudson Prize. Her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Poets.org, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Poets & Writers, Witness, and elsewhere. She was awarded the inaugural WIP Fellowship by Latinx-in-Publishing, sponsored by Macmillan Publishers, was a finalist for the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing and the Chicago Review of Books Chirby Awards. She has an MA in Linguistics from UCLA and an MFA from Rutgers University, Newark. Her voice was praised as “singular and wise” (Cathy Park Hong), and Craft was described as “an absolutely thrilling reminder that short stories can be the best kind of magic” (Kelly Link). She was born in Brasília, Brazil, and now lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Figuring Out Creative Nonfiction – Beth Nguyen

IN-PERSON NONFICTION • Whether you’re writing a memoir, personal essays, or something in between, this class will help you navigate the process and figure out what you really want (and need) to write. We will talk about structure, perspective, ethical concerns, and more, aiming to find a sense of understanding within an environment geared toward discussion, openness, and inspiration..

Breakdown:
1 hour of craft talk each day, 2 hours for workshops (2 students per day).

Beth Nguyen is the author of the recent memoir Owner of a Lonely Heart, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice Pick, as well as the memoir Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, and two novels. She has received an American Book Award and a PEN/Jerard Award and her work has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Time, and Best American Essays. She is a professor of creative writing and director of the MFA Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Revise and Rewrite Your Fiction – Matt Bell

IN-PERSON FICTION • This revision and rewriting-focused workshop will provide an abundance of strategies to help motivate you and shake up your revision practice. We will discuss practical steps you can take to successfully analyze your drafts, plan revisions, incorporate feedback, and polish your work toward publication. While workshop will focus thes tactics on the work at hand, the overaching goal will be to provide you with frameworks for revision that you can apply to everything you write in the future.

Breakdown:
1 hour of craft talk each day, 2 hours for workshops (2 students per day).

Matt Bell is the author most recently of the novel Appleseed (a New York Times Notable Book) and the craft book Refuse to Be Done, a guide to novel writing, rewriting, and revision. He is also the author of the novels Scrapper and In the House upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods, as well as the short story collection A Tree or a Person or a Wall, a non-fiction book about the classic video game Baldur’s Gate II, and several other titles. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Tin House, Fairy Tale Review, American Short Fiction, Orion, and many other publications. A native of Michigan, he teaches creative writing at Arizona State University.

Embracing and Exploring Confusion – Jac Jemc

ONLINE SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY/SPECULATIVE FICTION • Scholar Rosemary Jackson said, “The fantastic traces the unsaid and the unseen of culture: that which has been silenced, made invisible, covered over and made ‘absent’[…] The fantastic introduces confusion and alternatives” to counter the dominant status quo. In this class, we’ll investigate the ways in which Speculative Fiction can blend a realist or postmodern aesthetic with nonrealist interruptions such as alternative technologies, ontologies, social structures, and biological forms in an attempt to represent, explore and reconcile the concerns and contradictions of the contemporary moment.

Breakdown:
1 hour of craft talk/writing activities, 2 hours of workshop (2 writers per day).

Jac Jemc is also the author of five books of fiction, most recently, Empty Theatre. She is a Guggenheim fellow and teaches creative writing at the University of California San Diego. She also serves as Faculty Director of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop.

Characters in Fiction – Dolen Perkins-Valdez

ONLINE FICTION • How do we create three-dimensional, fully realized characters? Do we sketch them out beforehand? Do they emerge from the story as we write it? Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “In fiction, two and two is always more than four.” Our approach to character will go from the simplest questions about character motivation to more complicated techniques of counterpointed characterizations and “third rail” desires. Whether your characters are mystically inspired or rationally crafted or both, this workshop will leave you with practical tools for whispering breath into the people on your page. 

Breakdown:
1 hour of craft talk;  2 hours for workshops (2 students per day.)  

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the New York Times bestselling author of Wench (2010), Balm (2015), and most recently Take My Hand (2022). Take My Hand was named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Newsweek, San Francisco Chronicle, Essence, NBC News, and elsewhere. The novel was a finalist for a Goodreads Choice Award and named a Top 20 Book of the Year by the Editors at Amazon.  It was awarded the 2023 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Fiction and the 2023 BCALA Award for Fiction. The audiobook version of Take My Hand was named a Best of 2022 by Audible.

Nonfiction Characters – Wayétu Moore

ONLINE NONFICTION • Heroes sin and villains are occasionally good. Struggles of good vs. evil are happening within, so why not write nonfiction characters with the complexity of fiction characters? We’ll be exploring technical approaches to vetting the authenticity of nonfiction characters.

Breakdown:
1 hour of craft talk each day, 2 hours for workshops (2 students per day).

Wayétu Moore is the author of She Would Be King, released by Graywolf Press in September 2018. Her memoir, The Dragons, The Giant, The Women was also released with Graywolf on June 2, 2020. She is the recipient of the 2019 Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction and the 2022 William Saroyan Prize for Nonfiction.

She Would Be King was named a best book of 2018 by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Entertainment Weekly. The novel was a Sarah Jessica Parker Book Club selection, a BEA BuzzPanel Book, a #1 Indie Next Pick and a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Award. The Dragons, The Giant, The Women was a 2020 New York Times Notable Book, Time Magazine 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2020, Publishers Weekly Top 5 Nonfiction Books of 2020, was longlisted for the ALA Andrew Carnegie medal for excellence in nonfiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Moore is a graduate of Howard University, University of Southern California and Columbia University.


FAQs

What level are these workshops?

Acceptance is selective and based on the quality and promise of the writing sample. The writers and instructors participating will all be serious about their craft and the feedback provided. Prior workshop experience is not necessary.

How many people will be in my group?

Workshops are limited to 10 participants maximum.

Will we be workshopping new pieces, or ones we apply with?

You are welcome to submit any piece for the workshop component of the program. If you apply with one piece, but want to submit something else for the group to workshop, that’s acceptable. All workshop pieces will need to be submitted one month prior to the program’s start date.

Will I get to pick who I work with?

On our submission manager, Submittable, you’ll find options to list your preferences of faculty members. We’ll do our best to match you with your first choice.

What will the virtual participation look like?

Zoom invite links and information for joining your peers online will be provided in advance of the workshop. Additionally, you will have access to a private online chat forum for continual conversation outside of the live Zoom component. We will also provide some optional, general hang-out sessions throughout the week to get to know your peers more.

If I’m in a virtual workshop, but live locally, can I come to the Studio?

For some things, yes! The afternoon craft talks and end-of-week goodbye party will be open to all attendees if you are local.


Testimonials From 2023 Attendees

2023 Faculty

Testimonials From 2022 Attendees

2022 Faculty

Testimonials From 2021 Attendees

2021 Hybrid-Format Faculty

Testimonials From 2020 Attendees

StoryBoard Workshop Welcome Reception over Zoom
Lidia Yuknavitch’s Workshop Group
2020 Inaugural Faculty