Description of Class
We all have stories, but how do we tell them? This class will focus on learning to identify and understand the craft elements that comprise the building blocks of compelling, engaging narratives. We’ll learn how to identify and articulate the things we love in our favorite stories and apply them to our own writing.
We’ll look at examples from the masters of modern fiction and explore our own work in constructive workshop sessions where we’ll discuss how we’re applying these concepts. We’ll have craft discussions and weekly writing prompts to help transform those ideas floating around in our heads into words on the page.
Week 1: The Elements of Fiction – In the first week, we’ll use a short story to identify and define the various craft constructs that make up a narrative. We’ll discuss the multitude of choices that authors make and how they arrive at them.
Week 2: Narrative Arc – What is a plot? We’ll discuss causality, intention and obstacle, conflict, and incident as we determine how plots are built up and resolved in ways that leave the reader fulfilled.
Week 3: Characters – Modern fiction is character-driven, so how do we ensure that our readers want to spend time with these people? We’ll explore techniques for creating compelling, conflicted, imperfect characters who burrow themselves into the hearts of our readers.
Week 4: Point of View – First person? Third person? Let’s dive into why we decide on these points of view, then go deeper and explore questions of interiority and narrative distance.
Week 5: Time and Place – Richard Russo once said, “Nothing happens nowhere.” We’ll unpack that tautology and learn how setting is essential to our stories. We’ll also discuss how we use time in our stories, reconciling past and present (and even future!) in our narratives.
Week 6: Voice – Who are the indelible voices of literature? We’ll talk about how we use diction, syntax, dialogue and our own unique styles to tell our stories.
Week 7: Structure – We’ve thought long and hard about all these disparate elements, so how do we organize these messy stories into coherent narratives? We’ll dive into ideas of pacing and talk about when we’re allowed to break the rules and experiment.
Week 8: Finding our Endings – How do we know when a story is finished? In the final session, we’ll discuss what makes a satisfying ending, then address revision techniques and the next steps for our work.
Join Steve Trumpeter for this 8-week class, geared for beginning fiction writers as well as intermediate-level ones who want to brush up on their craft skills.Top