Upcoming classes: Fiction
WEDNESDAYS, APRIL 3 —MAY 8 | How do they do it? In just a few pages, short story writers capture the essence of character, the physical experience of setting, the rhythm of authentic dialogue, and the forward motion of plot. They mix the insight of a novelist with the distilling power of a poet. In this class, there will be a combination of in-class exercises, lecture and discussion. We will practice the craft skills needed to create character, plot, setting and dialogue, and talk about transmuting ideas and feelings into story. We will read stories by the greats for inspiration and will workshop stories of our own.→ READ MORE
TUESDAY, APRIL 9 | Do you start with character or do you start with plot? This common question rests on a false dichotomy. In this generative writing class, we’ll explore how getting to know your characters fuels your plot and how plotting produces character. Through inspiring examples, discussion, and–most of all–writing and sharing in a supportive environment among engaged readers, we’ll find our way to the heart of stories at the intersection of plot and people.
Elizabeth Stark is the host of Story Makers Podcast (StoryMakersShow.com) and author of the novel Shy Girl (FSG, Seal Press), finalist for the Ferro-Grumely and Lambda Literary Awards.→ READ MORE
SATURDAY, APRIL 13 | For some writers, first drafts are the fun part. Anything is possible! After that, revision is often overwhelming. It can be challenging to know how to improve a piece of writing. But it is also fun and rewarding, especially when broken down into manageable components.
Come to this one-day revision bootcamp with your manuscript (up to 10 pages of either fiction or creative nonfiction) and you’ll go through a series of timed stations, examining and working on your pages from a wide angle and up close. Learn how to focus on just one element at a time: dialogue, character emotions, sensory details, plotting, time elements, a title brainstorm and more.→ READ MORE
SUNDAY, APRIL 14 | Is dialogue meant to reveal or conceal? In this one-day hands-on workshop, you will learn how dialogue actually accomplishes both, revealing your characters by what is said and what is not said in fiction and memoir. We’ll read work by masters of dialogue, examining how artfully crafted speech, gesture, and silence helps you not only develop character, but generate tension, subtext, and move the plot forward. You’ll learn how to take full advantage of your characters’ expressive tics, favorite phrases, and utter withdrawal to build an immersive world for the reader.→ READ MORE
THURSDAYS, APRIL 18 —MAY 23 | Why is so much of contemporary literature playing with the boundaries of what is real and fantasy? Maybe because our own world often borders on the surreal. Speculative fiction, magical realism, slipstream, fabulist—there are many names for the forms of writing that blend the imaginary and real world. In this class we will read from this genre (authors such as George Saunders, Aimee Bender, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carmen Maria Machado, Helen Oyemi) and write our own stories with elements of the surreal. Daily writing prompts and weekly writing assignments will help you blend the imaginary and the real to uncover deeper truths.→ READ MORE
SATURDAYS, APRIL 20 & 27 | How many of us have had an exciting idea that fails to generate a story? This course explores techniques of narrative arc, and the dynamic elements of imagination that allow writers to create a story that is greater than the sum of its parts. We’ll explore narrative arc in relation to character, image, idea, and plot-driven fiction and read examples from flash, short stories and novels. Each class will be divided between lecture, discussion, and exercises. One 45-minute private conference is also included.
Thaisa Frank‘s fifth book of fiction (Enchantment, Counterpoint, 2012) was selected for Best Books by the San Francisco Chronicle.→ READ MORE
MONDAYS, APRIL 29 —JUNE 3 | All levels welcome! Need some structure and community to keep writing? If you’re looking to generate pages and gain insight into your project – whether fiction, memoir, personal essay, narrative nonfiction, or some combination thereof – set aside five Monday evenings this winter. You’ll find a supportive community designed to foster productivity and good writing habits. We’ll address specific craft issues as they come up, and I will be available for meeting one-on-one. You’ll have the opportunity to meet in small groups for feedback (with specific guidance), if you choose.→ READ MORE
TUESDAYS, APRIL 30 —MAY 28 | We all deal with the big issues in life–birth, love, sex, money, death–in different ways. Fiction and essays are about exploring our own unique perspective on these universal experiences. In this generative class we will read essays, short stories and poems on these themes. Then I will give you prompts to respond to and we will discuss your writing. The inspiration to write comes from grappling with life and exploring our own path through our words.
Jenny Bitner’s short stories, poetry and flash fiction have been published in anthologies and literary magazines including Best American Nonrequired Reading, Writing That Risks, The Fabulist, PANK, The Sun, Mississippi Review and Fence magazines.→ READ MORE
SATURDAY, MAY 4 | All writers use writers who influence them as a path to their own originality. This is essential learning but often traps writers into imitation. Working with examples that students bring to class, we will have in-depth discussions of voice, character, plot, language, style, imagination and the mysterious element that is greater than the sum of its parts. We will illuminate the uses, misuses and limits of imitation through in-class exercises. By the end of the class you will understand the difference between clumsy borrowing, where all road signs lead directly to the source and brilliant theft where every sentence and plot twist reveals your original vision.→ READ MORE
SUNDAY, MAY 5 | Have you written five or more short stories or personal essays and are interested in creating a collection? This workshop is designed for you! In our one-day, hands-on class, we’ll explore ways to unify your collection by setting, theme, and style, as well as character. We’ll look at renowned collections and examine a variety of approaches taken by different authors. We’ll also talk about the pros and cons of publishing individual pieces before your book is out, identify variables to help you best order your stories or essays, and do some fun in-class writing exercises, which you’ll have the opportunity to share in a supportive atmosphere.→ READ MORE