Fiction with Garth Greenwell, Maaza Mengiste, Robert Olmstead, Ru Freeman
These workshops will follow the traditional creative writing workshop model in which students discuss, and critique each other’s work in small groups led by the instructor.
Writing the Intangibles in Fiction with Ru Freeman
Good first drafts tell a story; they capture character and theme, usually have a definable arc, and are told in a voice that is clear. Yet there is a difference between telling a story and immersing a reader in a sustained narrative. The one is closer to anecdote, easily forgotten, the other is transcendental. To make the leap between the details of a story and the lingering impression of an experience, the writer must use their words to evoke the elements of a story that aren’t as easily set down: empathy for the characters, an atmosphere particular to the events that take place, and the sense of inhabiting a specific place/setting. We will address each of these aspects of writing fiction, using both your own work and assigned texts. We will read a variety of work, engage in constructive critique of your novel-openings/short-stories, and do some impromptu writing.
Style in Fiction with Garth Greenwell
“Style” is something we talk about a great deal, but sometimes without a clear sense of what it means. In this class we’ll try to be as concrete as possible, examining the elements that make up style in order to see how they contribute to other aspects of fiction: character, atmosphere, incident, theme. While our primary focus will be workshopping student manuscripts, we’ll also look at a few short examples of published work by writers with strong and interesting styles, and I’ll offer exercises and strategies for further developing your own distinctive and effective style.
Fiction with Maaza Mengiste
If we inhabit more than one world at a time and we’re capable of both good and questionable emotions at once, why should the characters we write be any less complicated? This is a workshop focused on character development. We will consider ways to move beyond the simple paradigm of good vs. bad. We will discuss the differences between “likeable” and “realistic” characters. We will also look at some of the other most pertinent aspects of fiction: pacing, POV, voice, and apply lessons learned to the stories we write. Incorporated into our time together will be strategies for revision, as well as some exercises to help you produce new work. With each draft, we will ask each other what it is about this story that demanded writing? What is at stake? Why this story, now?
Fiction with Robert Olmstead
…a murder of crows…a skulk of foxes…an ostentation of peacocks…a wisdom of wombats…a company of fiction writers…
Our company of writers will gather for reasons of FICTION. With generosity, sympathy, honesty and idea we will thoughtfully discuss the pages you offer, be they short story, chapter, excerpt, fragment or shard. Our best conversations will be serious and funny. We will say smart, wise, helpful and dumb things. We will respect freedom of art and discourse. We will share tips and techniques, tactics and strategies. We will spontaneously recommend to each other great and influential books, film, poetry, art, music. We will devise new terms of venery for our collected selves. We will change each others’ minds in big and small ways. We will come away feeling not so alone.
M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura