Back to Calendar

2018 Summer Writing Retreat - "The Fiction Hatchery: Moving Ideas to the Page Through Characterization, Plot, Setting, and Theme" with Stacey Swann

Add to my calendar

Stephen F. Austin State University
1936 North St
Nacogdoches, TX 75962

7/29/2018 to 8/3/2018


Please read both the credit card handling fee information and the refund policy at the bottom of this page before purchasing a ticket.

NOTE: We are offering two fiction classes, one for writers looking to kickstart a new project ("The Fiction Hatchery") and one for writers who are already far along with a project and looking to revise or deepen the work ("The Defined Draft"). Please read the full descriptions and choose the class that matches what you're looking for. And, as always, reach out to us if you'd like some help deciding.

This class, "The Fiction Hatchery," is for writers who are at the early stages of a novel or short story project, who are not looking to workshop existing material but would instead like to focus on generating new words on the page, and who would like more insight into the foundations of craft: characterization, outlining, setting, plot, and theme.

This class is also appropriate for writers who are further along with a draft (or even finished with a manuscript) but want to be reminded of (or be taught formally for the first time) about the basic essentials of great fiction writing.


"The Fiction Hatchery" Class Meeting Times:

Sunday, July 29: Orientation, 6pm
Monday through Friday, July 30-August 3: 9:30am to 3:30pm (one hour break for lunch)


Do you have a great idea for a novel or short story but aren’t sure how to dive in? Or have you already begun but hit an early wall?

No matter what type (genre or category) of fiction you’re writing, this course will give you the skills and confidence to jump in head first. In this class, we will cover foundational pre-writing, in which we get to know our characters and their problems. We’ll learn different ways to roadmap our novels and stories, from detailed outlines to methods with more flexibility. We'll deepen our understanding of what makes a plot compelling. In addition, we’ll take a close look at the expectations for opening scenes and how to engage readers from the very first page.

In the morning sessions, the class will include short lectures and class discussions on craft topics including characterization and character motives, outlining, setting, plot, and theme. We’ll explore these essential elements of fiction further using examples from published work (stories and novel excerpts) and then apply them to our own writing using in-class writing exercises.

In the afternoon sessions, there will be opportunities for one-on-one conferences with the instructor, group writing sessions, and informal and encouraging discussions of the opening pages of your works in progress. (Those pages will be generated/honed within the class itself rather than submitted ahead of time.)

All class participants will be sent a set of worksheets about their project to be submitted prior to the start of class as well as a packet of required reading for the retreat.

This class is appropriate for both short story and novel writers. There will be a particular emphasis on: building the breadth and depth of your fictional world, its characters, and its plot/structure.


About the Instructor

"[Stacey Swann was] knowledgeable...encouraging...(and) entertaining."
-- 2016 Writers' League of Texas Class Attendee

Stacey Swann’s fiction has appeared in The Bridport Prize Anthology 2017, Epoch, Memorious, Versal, Covered W/ Fur, and other journals. A past Stegner Fellow, she teaches with Stanford University’s Online Writer’s Studio and in their Novel Certificate Program. She was formerly Editor of American Short Fiction literary journal and continues on their as a Contributing Editor.


(Please read this refund policy closely before registering for the 2018 Summer Writing Retreat; no exceptions will be made):

Through May 15, 2018: 100% refund available.
May 16 - June 21, 2018: 50% refund available.

All cancellations will incur a $50 cancellation fee.

After June 21, 2018: No refunds will be made, but registrants can transfer their registration to another person as long as advance notice is given to the Writers' League of Texas. If you wish to transfer your registration, please call the WLT at 512-499-8914.