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"Strengthen Your Narrative Punch" Class Package

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St. Edward's University
3001 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704


$147 for members (sign in for member pricing)

One of the most important parts of revision is taking the rough materials of your first draft and honing them into an effective narrative machine. Very often, this means zeroing in on the conflict, cutting and expanding as dictated by the pacing, and to make the big moments really hit hard.

That's why we're offering this package of three classes focusing on the craft of ratcheting up your narrative's tension, at a price that gives you a $27 discount from the price of purchasing all three classes separately! This discounted price will be available through January 30. After that date, the package will be available for the regular price, so if you're interested, register soon!

The classes will be held in Austin. The deadline to register is February 20, 2020. Before purchasing, be sure to check the dates. As always, there are no refunds on classes.

Each class can be purchased individually by clicking on the class title.

"Finding the Shift: Crafting Your Story's Turning Point" with Sindya Bhanoo

     Saturday, February 22, 2020, 10 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

     St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

What is it that makes a story a story? Short stories come in all shapes and forms, but in order for a piece to land, there must be a shift, or the explicit lack of a shift. More often than not, identifying what the shift is, or where the story turns, is something that emerges in the revision process.

This class will look at portions of stories written by Z.Z. Packer, Tania James, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, YiYun Li and others and discuss how authors writes the shift. Is it a dramatic event? An emotional change? A long pending realization? And at what point in the story does the shift occur? Participants will also spend time with their own work. Students should either bring a short story to class that needs work and/or be prepared to generate material based on class discussion. You will leave this class with a better version of your story along with tools you can apply to your other work.

Sindya Bhanoo is a recent graduate of the Michener Center for Writers. She is a 2019 Rona Jaffe-Bread Loaf Scholar and was twice a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature. Her creative writing appears in or is forthcoming in Glimmer Train and American Literary Review. She has worked as a reporter for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Industry Standard. She was the weekly Observatory columnist for The New York Times science section from 2010 to 2016. She has won awards and fellowships for her reporting from numerous organizations, including The New York Press Club, the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, the Asian American Journalists Association and the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT.


"Stir Things Up: Creating Conflict in Fiction" with Brian Yansky

     Saturday, March 14, 2020, 10 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

     St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

As writers we can use conflict not just to cause tension but to create and develop characters and create and develop story and complicate setting—in a good way. If we drill down into sentences, conflict can even be used to enliven language.  If your fiction seems to lose momentum in places or just seems to lack something that you can’t quite put your finger on, the problem might just be that you don’t have enough conflict or the right conflict. We’ll tackle this essential aspect of writing fiction in this class.

Brian Yansky is the author of five published YA novels and over a dozen short stories for adults. His last three novels were published by Candlewick Press  (Utopia, Iowa, 2015; Homicidal Aliens and Other Disappointments, 2013; Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences, 2010.) His stories have been published in Literal Latte, The Crescent Review and other literary magazines. He teaches writing at Austin Community College.


"Pacing the Plot of Your Novel or Short Story" with John Pipkin

     Saturday, April 25, 2020, 10 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

     St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

Writers often make the mistake of assuming that the only way to improve the pace of a story is to make as much stuff happen as quickly as possible. But a well-paced story is one in which the narrative unfolds at the speed and rhythm that the characters, scenes, and themes require. And pacing is determined not just by what happens but by the mechanics of how the story is being told, sentence by sentence. Sometimes, decisions as simple as word choice can have a profound effect on the pace of a story.

In this class, participants will examine the characteristics of successful pacing and study some basic strategies for helping their story develop at the rhythm that feels well-suited to the plot.The class will also identify some of the sign-posts that can indicate pacing problems in a story and how to handle these issues in the revision stage.

John Pipkin’s first novel, Woodsburner, was published to national acclaim by Doubleday in 2009. Woodsburner won the New York Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Massachusetts Center for the Book Novel Prize, and the Texas Institute of Letters Stephen Turner Prize for First Novel. His novel The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter was published by Bloomsbury in 2016.  John has been a Dobie Paisano Fellow at UT-Austin and a fellow at the MacDowell Artist's Colony in New Hampshire. John teaches at UT-Austin and in the Low-residency MFA Program at Spalding University in Louisville, KY.



St. Edward's University, 3001 S. Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704. You can find a St. Edward's University campus map here.



$147 members only (sign in for member pricing)

Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Registration will close at the end of Thursday, February 20, 2019. After that you can register for the classes individually at the regular rate - $49 for members and $109 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster.



Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven't taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to give us a call at 512-499-8914 if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at


Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit