Short Story Incubator

“It was an experience that definitely took my writing to the next level. I would recommend it to all serious writers!”

In a Nutshell

A competitive, accessible – and repeatable – MFA-level course, spanning 6 months, for ten short story writers who want to move their stories from “workshop good” to publishable quality. The class focuses on deep revision, a comprehensive, craft-based study of the story form, and offers a thoughtful introduction to the publishing market.

Applications for the 2019-2020 cycle will open in early May.

Find more information about our submission guidelines, instructor, and curriculum.

Date of Course: September 2019 - April 2020

Free Open House and Info Session

Thinking of applying? GrubStreet offers informal Q&A sessions in May with instructor Ron MacLean to answer any questions you have about the Incubator, including the workload, the application process, what the program does and doesn’t entail, the schedule, the philosophy behind our approach, and anything else on your mind. The next Open House takes place May 29, 2019.

Overview and Goals

The term is divided into two 12-week phases. In the first, writers will learn to develop a framework for revision, work through a series of advanced craft lessons, and receive an intensive workshop of three story drafts each. Writers will define, in collaboration with the instructor, an individual program goal, along with an area of craft they will focus on in service of that aim. In the second phase, writers will focus on one story they’ve selected to move toward publishable quality. Working from class and instructor feedback and self-analysis, writers will revise toward specific aims. The class will celebrate the completion of each six-month term with a reading party, and the cohort will reconvene at the Muse and the Marketplace conference in April, where each writer will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a magazine editor.

The goal of the program is for each student to emerge with at least one story at or near publishable quality; to make substantial progress on additional stories; and to gain a significantly deeper understanding of both the short story form and the marketplace for short fiction.

There is no multi-term commitment. Students apply for each six-month program term and can take as many terms as they wish, with a new goal each time.

Want to learn more? Check out instructor Ron MacLean's explanation of the program in this podcast. 


“I had a wonderful experience in the Short Story Incubator. The ability to develop a longstanding rapport with a group of writers of such a high caliber afforded me a level of workshop criticism that I had not previously encountered.” 

“A fantastic experience.”

“It's a stunningly well-conceived and executed program. Working with Ron and a small group of talented students over a 7-month period, really gives one the chance to gel and come together as a community. I know some of the folks I met in class will be my writing buddies for years to come.”

“It was an experience that definitely took my writing to the next level. I would recommend it to all serious writers!”

“Planning to apply again. That’s how great it was.”


The entire cost of the program is $3,995. Tuition is payable in two installments.

Partial or full tuition scholarships are available and based on a combination of merit and financial need. The scholarship application is available on our submission guidelines page. 

See more information about our submission guidelines, instructors, and curriculum


If you have specific questions about the Short Story Incubator program, please email, or call the office anytime at 617.695.0075.