MONDAYS, NOV. 1st — NOV. 29th | To be human is to want. And the more the characters we create want things and struggle to achieve those goals, the more emotionally satisfying our stories will be for our readers and audiences. In this class, we will start by considering the following questions:
- What is it that makes a book so compelling you can’t put it down?
- Why are characters like Michael Corleone, Lady Macbeth, and Katniss Everdeen (to name just a few) seared into our memories?
- How can we apply that same narrative urgency to our own novels, memoirs, and scripts?
We will answer these questions by looking at the craft of story structure. Using examples from literature, film, and television—as well as a case study in story construction—we will explore how a richly drawn character collides with competing wants, obstacles, and his or her own flaws to make for an irresistible, emotionally resonant narrative.
You will then use various story and character discovery exercises to learn as much as you can about your characters and their world, presenting what you know of your story to the class. In a workshop setting, the class will then discuss your story from the standpoint of narrative craft, helping you create a more complete story arc.
The goals of this class are:
1. To give you enough knowledge of your story, characters, setting, and themes so that you can write your book, story, or script with direction and confidence.
2. To give you the tools to develop your own characters and stories in the future.
This class is appropriate for all creative storytellers—fiction writers, memoirists, playwrights, and screenwriters—especially those who are trying to find their stories.
This class will meet on Zoom. Registered students, please contact the instructor directly for Zoom details.
Maury Zeff’s plays have been produced around the country and received two Emerging Playwright Awards and four People’s Choice Awards from PlayGround, his home theatre company. His writing has been published in American Fiction, Southern California Review, Embark, bosque, Best of PlayGround (2014 & 2017), Crab Orchard Review (upcoming), and elsewhere. He is a former San Francisco Writers Grotto Fellow, has received playwriting commissions from PlayGround and the SF Olympians Festival, has an MFA in Fiction from the University of San Francisco, and was a nominee for a 2020 Pushcart Prize in fiction. Maury’s play Merchant of Stratford will be performed (live and streamed) by Theatre 33 in Oregon August 5-8.
Number of sessions: 5
Date: Mondays, November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Time: 5:30pm – 8:00pm Pacific Time
Course fee: $350