Description of Class
You have a story you want to tell, but what exactly makes a compelling story? In this five-week workshop with acclaimed short story writer Sarah Kokernot, you’ll learn the building blocks of writing fiction: character, conflict and plot, dialogue, and point of view. We’ll examine stories that teach us the rules, and stories that teach us how to bend them. By the end of class, students will have one or more stories in development.
Each class session will involve writing exercises and outside readings. Some writing assignments will be peer-reviewed and all assignments will receive instructor feedback. Out-of-class readings will include works by Alice Munro, Jorge Luis Borges, ZZ Packer, Katherine Anne Porter, Clarice Lispector, Anton Checkhov, and Jhumpa Lahiri.
Week 1: Who’s This? Get to know your characters and their world through empathetic and playful writing exercises.
Week 2: What Happens Next? Build conflict and find your story’s beginning, middle, and end.
Week 3: Tell Me About It. Write dialogue that reveals character and energizes your narrative.
Week 4: Out Here, In There. Find a point of view that allows for just the right amount of distance.
Week 5: Everyone Has An Opinion. Receive positive, constructive peer feedback on your work and learn strategies on how to integrate feedback into revision.
This class is open to all genres but readings will focus on literary fiction.
What to Expect with this Online Class
Students can expect to spend two to three hours per week writing and interacting with classmates and the instructor. New lessons become available each Tuesday, but can be completed anytime during the week.
This work will be supported by:
- a weekly video from the instructor introducing the topic
- an interactive lesson, moderated by the instructor
- new exercises and materials available every week
- full participation from every student to give and get feedback
- email for one-to-one interaction with the instructor
Students will begin the week with a lesson containing reading and discussion materials, along with specific exercises to reinforce craft elements. No long lectures or text. Just the important points and fun, imaginative exercises.
During the week, students will post their work and comment on the work of the other participants. The instructor will also provide feedback on the exercises.
The only requirement is a reliable internet connection!