Description of Class
Do you have a work-in-progress that’s stymied you? Perhaps you haven’t yet found its shape.
Without a purposeful arrangement, key elements such as character, voice, and conflict often won’t cohere into a fully satisfying piece. Discovering the right structure for your novel or short story can help the rest of it click into place.
In this eight-week class led by Zoe Zolbrod (Currency, The Telling), we’ll analyze how structure functions in fiction; explore strategies for excavating underlying form that may already exist; and discuss ways to shape material.
Drawing on both stories and novels as well as craft writings, we’ll spend the first part of each class discussing various approaches to structure. Then we’ll roll up our sleeves and apply different modalities to finding and strengthening the structure in one or more pieces of our own.
Topics will include:
- Various types of structures, from the traditional to the unusual
- The relationship of structure to other elements of fiction
- The best way to use outlines, image boards, and other tools to see and organize structure
- Differences and similarities in the way structure functions in short stories and novels, as well as in fiction in general, and the screenplays from which many of us have absorbed our notions of story
Two novels, announced before class starts, will be suggested readings. Shorter craft essays and stories will be emailed out before each class.
Each student will also have the chance to workshop one piece, up to twenty pages long, over the course of the class.Top