WEDNESDAYS, APRIL 19 —JUNE 7 | A first draft is a goofy-looking thing, a lean-to of hopes and fears and observations you want to build into something that connects with an audience. But how? Stephen King says a short story is like leading your reader to a room in a house to show them something; a novel is like building a house and showing off every room. Paul Bowles said he wrote fiction because he wanted to destroy the world. They’re both right. Each method involves planning, structure and focus, and times for SMASHING THINGS TO PIECES.
Regardless of whether you’re just starting to write, or if you’ve already published work, there’s a point where you need more than just your own judgment. You have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. One of them is telling you the work is great; the other is telling you it’s terrible — but which is which? There is no place better for work to go from good to great than in a classroom of concerned, interested, contrary, helpful people who all agree that for the hours a week we meet fiction writing is the most important thing you can do.
This eight-week workshop is open to all fiction writing, be it short story, novella, or novel-length. It runs on the traditional M.F.A. model: you will turn in a submission of up to 5,000 words for your fellow students to critique constructively, based on the understanding that we are all trying to make the work the best version of itself it can be.
Be prepared to write a brief (less than one page) critique of each manuscript and to speak up in class discussion. Our method will figure out what makes each story tick, and open up possibilities you hadn’t discovered on your own of how to improve, continue, and finish your work.
The workshop goal is to become a better writer, but inevitably, you’ll also become a better reader, critic, and just maybe possibly human being, but what we’re aiming for is a much better pathway to getting your reader to follow you in your world-building and world-destroying.
Before class starts, I’ll ask two volunteers to turn in work to be discussed during the first workshop, and I will disseminate the Rules of Engagement for how to approach the manuscripts. During the first workshop, we’ll make up a schedule so that people can turn in work earlier in the semester – or later. In your heart, you already know if you’re an “earlier” or “later” person. Depending on enrollment and schedule, it’s possible you’ll have a chance to turn in a second submission.
Glen David Gold is the author of the bestselling novels Sunnyside and Carter Beats the Devil, which was translated into 14 languages. His fiction, essays, journalism, and memoir have appeared in the Independent UK, McSweeney’s, Playboy, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Tin House, Wired, and Zyzzyva. He’s written comic books for DC and Dark Horse, and podcasts for The Thrilling Adventure Hour and Welcome to Night Vale. His three-volume memoir, I Will Be Complete, is forthcoming from Knopf.
Number of sessions: 8
Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Dates: Wednesdays, April 19, 26; May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; June 7
Course fee: $695