Mystery Lights: A Book Class with Lena Valencia

September 5-7, 2024

Class Type: Asynchronous Class

Price: $35

Patron Price: $30

Get an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the making of Mystery Lights, the debut short story collection by One Story managing editor Lena Valencia, in this three-day asynchronous class. Part book club, part craft class, this course is meant for readers and writers alike.

Through short videos and written lectures, Valencia will guide students through the inspiration, organization, and publication process of a short story collection. Each day will include creative writing and/or journaling prompts designed to help students re-envision their own works in progress or start something new. She will also be on hand to answer questions about publishing and the stories themselves on the discussion board. 

The course fee includes a signed copy of Mystery Lights. To guarantee that you’ll receive the book in advance of the class start date, please register no later than August 11. We’ll still mail you a copy if you register after that date, but we can’t guarantee that you’ll receive it before the class starts.

Mystery Lights will be published August 6 by Tin House Books. All books will be shipped from Taylor & Co., an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, and will include a special, limited edition Mystery Lights sticker.

We’re sorry, but we are unable to ship to international addresses. If you are interested in taking the class but live outside of the United States, please see the FAQ for further instructions.

About the Book:

Lena Valencia’s Mystery Lights glows with the promise—and fear—of the world we know and the worlds we don’t, following women and girls as they navigate dangers both supernatural and existential. An influencer attempts to derail a viral TV marketing campaign with her violent cult following. A marriage between two ghost hunters is threatened when one of them loses her ability to see spirits. The lives of a famous painter in the twilight of her career and a teenage UFO enthusiast converge when a mysterious glowing orb appears in their small desert town. And a slasher-flick screenwriter looking for inspiration escapes a pack of wild dogs only to find herself locked in an SUV with a strange man beside her. Set primarily in deserts throughout the American Southwest, Lena Valencia’s Mystery Lights is a debut collection of stories about women and girls at the crossroads of mundane daily life and existential dread.

“These are stories full of menace and delight, drawing from that deep well of human complexity, perversity, sincerity, and hope. Mystery Lights is gorgeous.”—Kelly Link, author of The Book of Love

“Where there is glamour, there is terror in this self-assured debut collection.”—Kirkus Reviews

About Lena Valencia:

Lena Valencia’s fiction has appeared in Ninth Letter, Epiphany, Electric Literature, the anthology Tiny Nightmares, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2019 Elizabeth George Foundation grant and holds an MFA in fiction from The New School. She has taught writing classes at Sackett Street, Catapult, the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, and One Story. Originally from Los Angeles, she lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is the managing editor and director of educational programming at One Story and the co-host of the reading series Ditmas Lit. Mystery Lights, her debut short story collection, is forthcoming from Tin House Books in summer 2024. For more information please visit


Do I need to have read the book to participate in the class?

While we encourage students to read the book in advance of the class, they can still fully participate without having read it.

How does the class work?

Lessons will be posted nightly at 12:00 am ET. The class also includes discussion boards where participants can interact with one another and with the instructor.

Is participation on the discussion board required?

No, it’s optional; participants are welcome to jump into the conversation or sit back and observe.

When can I register for this class?

Registration will open soon and remain open through Wednesday, September 4.

Is there homework?

There will be optional exercises and journaling prompts. Lena will not be evaluating your writing but you are welcome to share your work with your fellow students. Lena will be available to chat with students on the discussion board for the duration of the course (September 5-7).

How much time will the class take?

Plan to spend about forty-five minutes to an hour per day reviewing the lessons and completing the exercises, plus however much time you choose to spend on the discussion boards.

How many students are in the class?

One Story asynchronous classes like this one are large and tend to range from 50–100 students.

What if I want to take the class, but the dates don’t work for me?

All class materials will be accessible for five weeks after the class start date. Please note, however, that Lena will only be present for the duration of the class. Class material will not be available to students after the five weeks are up. We are unable to offer extensions.

Can I take the class on my phone?

Yes, the class can be taken on a phone, but we recommend a computer or tablet to get the most out of the experience.

Can I save the material for later use?

There will be downloadable writing exercises, but otherwise class content will be accessible only through the learning platform. To prevent distribution of the material without our knowledge, students are not permitted to copy/paste the lessons but are of course welcome to take notes.

What if I can’t wait to get started?

The welcome page will open on Tuesday, September 3, two days before the first lesson, so that participants can meet, mingle, and familiarize themselves with the learning platform.

Do you offer financial aid or scholarships for this class?

We can offer a discount to students who have financial hardship. The discounted tuition does not include a copy of the book. Please write to if the cost of the course will be a burden to you.

I have the book/have already pre-ordered the book! Can I enroll in the class without buying Mystery Lights?

Yes. Please email with proof of purchase (a screenshot, photo, or scan of your receipt) to receive a discount code. The price for the course without the book will be $20.

I live outside of the United States. Can I still take the class?

Yes, though we are unable to ship the book to you. Please email to receive a discount code that will enable you to enroll in the course without the book.

Discounts & Policies

Our online classes are designed to be safe spaces for all who participate. One Story will not tolerate hate speech, bullying, or harassment directed toward instructors or fellow students, and reserves the right to remove participants who engage in such behavior from our classes.

Patron Discount: In order to qualify for our patron discount, you must be a member of our patron circle at the time of registration. Patrons commit to annual donations and receive benefits that allow them to participate in our non-profit organization in more meaningful ways. Not all One Story subscribers or supporters are patrons. If you’d like to find out more about becoming a patron, you can do so here.

Refund Policy: This class is nonrefundable. For questions about the refund policy, or if you are unable to take the class after you have registered, please contact

If you have any questions, please contact