Lists are powerful tools for storytellers. They constrain and shape. They provide structure and opportunity. They help us generate new ideas and narrow our focus. In this workshop, we will explore the ways that lists can help writers at every stage of the writing process, from generating ideas, to solving plot and character problems, to finding a story’s structure. Each attendee will be asked to prepare for our workshop by reading two list stories from a curated selection. During the workshop, we will examine techniques for using lists at various stages in the creative process, and then we will look at how the stories we have read make use of lists, and how we can apply those skills to our own writing.

Attendees are asked to read at least two of the following stories of their choice before attending the workshop:

  • Alex Acks, “List of Items in Leather Valise Found on Welby Crescent” (content note: implied violence and captivity)
  • Brooke Bolander, “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” (content notes: violence, death, substance use)
  • Tina Connolly, “So You Want to Write Human-Galthgearian Interstellar Romance: a Brief How-to by Eethoo Inthogearian” (content notes: humorous discussion of war, implication of sex between a human and an alien)
  • Kij Johnson, “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” (content notes: animal death, illness)
  • Rachael K. Jones, “Five Functions of Your Bionosaur” (content notes: loss and aging)
  • Gwendolyn Kiste, “The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary)” (content notes: Vampirism, death, suggestions of abuse)
  • Carmen Maria Machado, “Inventory” (content notes: sexual content, pandemic, death, brief attempted sexual assault)
  • Sofia Samatar, “Ogres of East Africa” (content notes: colonialism, violence)
  • Erica L. Satifka, “Bucket List Found in the Locker of Maddie Price, Age 14, Written Two Weeks Before the Great Uplifting of All Mankind” (content notes: mention of drug use)
  • Mary South, “Frequently Asked Questions About Your Craniotomy” (content notes: surgery, illness, death, suicide, PTSD, mental illness)
  • LaShawn M. Wanak, “21 Steps to Enlightenment, Minus One” (content notes: mentions of abuse, death, drug use)

This workshop is available to anyone aged 18 or older for a $55 fee.

Unless otherwise stated, all times listed are US Pacific Time.

We offer a limited number of scholarships for each class to Black and Indigenous writers and writers from other marginalized backgrounds on a first come, first served basis. Please email us at with a one-paragraph statement about your scholarship interest and/or need. Please include the name of the class you would like to apply the scholarship to.

By participating in any Clarion West activity, you are agreeing to our Code of Conduct, the Clarion West Harassment Policy, and our Zoom Guidelines.

Clarion West will refund all class fees if the request is made 30 days prior to the class date. Refund requests made within 30 days of the class will be honored if we can fill the seat. Any exceptions are subject to approval by our workshop staff.