This class is for writers exploring how to tell true stories and writers looking to shape fictional stories. Is there an experience you keep returning to? A family member you’re fascinated by but you’re not sure why? Or a subject, like food or music, that you’d like to focus on in your personal narrative? Is there an imagined scene you’d like to convey, or a character you want to explore on the page? There are many avenues to storytelling, and part of the fun of this fiction/nonfiction workshop will be finding new doorways to familiar and unfamiliar rooms.
We’ll use writing prompts and exercises designed to help you find your subject and discover the tensions and complications that lurk beneath its surface so that you can make the written experience as new and compelling to a reader as it was for you. We’ll look at published work with an eye to technique: characterization, point of view, plot and structure, dialogue, and description and detail. We’ll discuss why some strategies work and some don’t, how to avoid cliches and pitfalls, and how to hone our strengths and identify our weaknesses. Expect to generate new material in class and in assignments.
This workshop is meant for writers with some experience in writing and revising material. Previous university-level workshop experience is useful but not required. Please expect to read at least 30 pages of material per week, and to prepare a page of written feedback for each two-hour class session.