TUESDAYS, OCTOBER 15-29; NOVEMBER 5-19 | Feature stories are nonfiction pieces that focus more on human stories than factual exposition – but they still are deeply reported. They are meant to engage readers emotionally and create empathy for their subjects, and they’re an excellent way to draw readers into complicated topics. They are also some of the best stories to pitch as a freelancer, having a place in everything from travel magazines to general interest publications.
In this six-week workshop, we’ll study different types of feature stories and analyze what makes them work. Our central concerns will be story focus and story structure – we’ll use published models to explore various ways to create a compelling narrative. We’ll also talk about how reporting and interviewing for features is different from news reporting, and we’ll examine feature story elements such as setting, character, detail, dialogue, and action.
The course will include outside reading, weekly brainstorms, and exercises that take you through the process of finding a story, focusing it, reporting it, and producing a draft. By the end of the class you should have completed one story which I will critique. (The length and ambition of your story will depend upon the experience you had prior to taking this course.)
This workshop should be useful for new and mid-career writers.
Sarah Pollock has written and edited thousands of features in her decades as journalist. She has been a newspaper staff writer, written regular magazine features, managed several publications, and was a senior editor at Mother Jones, developing and editing stories for a national audience. She’s also a veteran teacher, having spent a couple of decades running the journalism program at Mills College..
Number of sessions: 6
Dates: Tuesdays, October 15, 22, 29; November 5, 12, 19
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Course fee: $420