Description of Class
All of our stories happen somewhere.
Whether it’s the story of your childhood in 1970s suburbia, a novel set in present-day Chicago, a memoir of WWII Germany, or the futuristic landscape on another planet—the effect of our writing depends on how well we can capture the look and feel of a real or fictional world.
Place is more than just the name of a town. It’s what’s in the headlines, fashion, music, speech and common expressions. It means getting in the mindset of how characters think and what shapes their attitudes.
Memoir writers can use place as a tool to understand a moment or experience in the past. Fiction writers can use it to help direct plot, deepen their characters, or create a completely new world. And both must decide: How much detail is too much?
With the help of published examples, class discussion, and writing exercises, we’ll practice the skills needed to create a convincing world, and explore the ways that place can impact our stories. Students will sharpen their skills and write or revise scenes with an eye toward fleshing out their worlds.
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In this 4-session class, students will learn…
- Strategies for making time periods and places feel convincing to readers
- How setting can influence character development and the plot of a story
- How backstory can help or hinder your plot
- How to create (and follow) a “rule book” for your world
- The role of research and how much detail to include
…and students will write:
- Weekly exercises designed to practice the craft topics discussed in class
- Scenes to be used for your own stories or essays, and shared for informal feedback
Whatever your project, you’ll leave the class with stronger scenes and a better sense of how to immerse readers into a fully-realized world. Writers who have completed Creative Writing Essentials or Creative Writing II, or who have previous writing experience, will benefit most from the course.Top