Mixed Levels Fiction Workshop
Whether you’re new to writing or have been at it a while, this eight-week class is designed to sharpen the tools of your fiction-writing craft. In the first four weeks, we’ll focus on elements of fiction writing, including characterization, pacing, point of view, structure, voice, and scene. Students can expect in-class prompts and take-home assignments as well as discussions of published literature. The final four weeks of the course will follow a more traditional workshop model, switching the focus to participant manuscripts, be they short stories or novel excerpts. Ultimately, workshop participants will come away with a heightened understanding of craft, feedback on their own work, and experience in discussing and critiquing others’ work in an encouraging and constructive setting.
For the poet interested in working on fiction, the novelist or short story writer wanting to shore up his or her craft in terms of language, style, and pacing, or the nonfiction writer considering trying anything from vignettes to prose poems, this six-week course will discuss and experiment with the short-short story. Each week we’ll read published works of flash fiction, which generally come in at under 1,000 words, and workshop student stories, which will range from 200 to 1500 words. We’ll study arc and pacing, how form informs the content, how limitations so often yield a more crystalline version of your prose, and just how crucial language is to moving a narrative. Aside from the pleasure of writing short-short fiction, we’ll identify takeaways with regard to urgency and compression that can translate into your longer work as well. Depending on demand, we’ll also cover venues and methods for publishing your flash fiction.
Creative Writing Professionalism
The time has come for you to publish your writing. Whether it’s a short story or poem, an essay, blog post or book review, this class will help you pitch and submit your work to literary journals, magazines, and online publications. We’ll sort through the business of pitching stories and negotiating the editorial process, managing deadlines, preparing for and conducting interviews, and discuss the many ways you can parlay your love and command of language into paid work. Beyond publication, we’ll cover what it means to be a good literary citizen, including how many books a year you should try to review, when and what to Tweet after a story is published, how to deal with rejection, and even what not to publish on your author website. We’ll talk about the writing life in general and help you broaden your forum (including social media and even podcasting) and hone your voice so that others can read your writing.
With guest artists, including journalists, established and up-and-coming creative writers, as well as editors, visiting throughout the semester, you’ll have direct access to professionals in the field.
Studies in Character
Good characters stay with us. More than perhaps any other element of a writer’s craft, strong characters make for strong story. It’s a sort of magic when a reader is taken hold by a fictitious character whom he or she can never actually meet but nevertheless knows intimately. How do authors create that magic? In this session, we’ll explore some ways to breathe life into your characters through details, point of view, and knowledge of the latent or not so latent forces that motivate these imaginary beings.
Short Story Module
Hemingway, Munro, Bradbury, Poe–They are masters of the Short Story. What are the elements of short fiction, and how does it differ from novels? Whether you have written short stories or not, this module will go over the nitty-gritty of the craft as well as the publishing market.
Writing in the 21st Century
In this practical, hands-on workshop we’ll participate in the the daily life of a modern writer. We’ll discuss what goes on from that first draft of your story, poem, or novel, to polishing and pitching your work, all the way to publishing and promoting your writing. As a class, we’ll produce some of the digital media that often constitutes a writer’s platform, including an author website, podcast, and even conduct a mock-up Twitter campaign to emulate what happens after your work is published. (these “products” or artifacts could totally change.) Looking to real world examples of writers at various stages in their careers, we’ll sort through the business of carrying yourself in the writing world, of being a good literary citizen. Students can hope to leave the class with a better sense of what to expect as they pursue the creative and professional writing life. Plus, as we’ll discuss, this can be a crucial start to building your own writing community.