Back to Calendar

"Craft Essentials: Fiction" 3-Class Package

Add to my calendar

St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall 303
3001 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704


$147 Members Only

(Members: Sign out to receive member pricing. To become a member, click here.)

There are certain elements of craft that every writer must learn--but no writer ever truly masters them. Practicing writers are continually honing their skills by reading great books and, often, by revisiting craft lessons they've encountered in the past. Whether you're kicking off the new year focused on a new writing project or tackling a revision, writing your first or your fifteenth book, there's always value in revisiting craft essentials.

That's why we're offering this package of three classes focusing on the craft of fiction. They'll be held in Austin at St. Edward's University.

Everyone who registers for the package will also receive one complimentary online class of your choice (to be taken between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018). The deadline to register is January 25, 2018. Before purchasing, be sure to check the dates. As always, there are no refunds on classes.

Here are the three classes:



"Crafting Story Openings That Will Capture Readers" with Lindsey Lane 

     Saturday, January 27, 2018, 9 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

     St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

Story and novel openings must introduce setting, character, and plot and prepare readers for everything that will happen in a novel--oh, and be so gripping and compelling that readers won't want to set the book down. It's heavy lifting for only a couple of pages.

In this half-day class, you will examine openings to published short stories and novels with an eye toward how they hook readers and accomplish the practical work that every opening must do. This class will also help participants begin to answer this all-important question (often tackled by first pages): Why is this story happening right now?

Lindsey Lane is an award-winning playwright and children’s and young adult author. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut novel Evidence Of Things Not Seen was called a “a gripping and genre-bending mosaic” by Publishers Weekly.


"Give Your Manuscript a Voice with Dialogue" with Natalia Sylvester

     Saturday, February 24, 2018, 9 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

     St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

Conversation is at the heart of how we communicate, and yet writing dialogue can be a tricky undertaking. In this half-day class, participants wil study examples of great dialogue and work on writing exercises that will get their characters talking. This class will also address common dialogue-related concerns: How do you make your characters’ conversations sound natural? How do you craft vibrant, distinguishable voices? How do you avoid dialogue that slips too far into exposition?

Great dialogue brings characters to life as it creates conflict and drives a story forward. This class is for writers of all levels and genres who are interested in writing dialogue that drives story forward and that says so much more than the words do.

Natalia Sylvester is the author of the novels Chasing the Sun and the forthcoming Everyone Knows You Go Home. She is a faculty member of the low-res MFA program at Regis University. Her work has appeared in Latina magazine, Writer's Digest, and


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

     Saturday, May 5, 2018, 9 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

     ACC Highland, 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 half-day 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. This 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, winning 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 called one of the best books of 2016 by the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Christian Science Monitor.




St. Edward's University, 3001 S. Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, Trustee Hall 303. 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, January 25, 2015. 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


The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank St. Edward's University for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit