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ONLINE CLASS "Effective Research Methods for Fiction: How Much Is Enough" with John Pipkin

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Online Class

9/28/2017 From 06:30 PM CST to 09:30 PM CST


$49 for members (sign in for member pricing)

Everyone who registers will have access to the class recording for one week.


Are you writing a novel that depends on factual accuracy?

Want to learn strategies for research that leads to authentic, believable fictional worlds?

Even a contemporary short story set in a familiar location might still require some research to get everything just right. But where do you find the answers you need? How much research is enough? How much is too much? And how do you know when to stop researching and start writing? This class will cover the basics of conducting research for novels and short stories in any genre. Particular focus will be given to strategies for effective researching, how to locate useful source materials, and most importantly we’ll discuss techniques for incorporating facts and details seamlessly into your fiction, so that your story doesn’t sound like an encyclopedia entry. The instructor will also cover about such different approaches as character-based research, plot-based research, and subject-based research.

In this class, participants will identify what kind and how much research their story needs, determine where to go for information and how to take effective notes, and learn strategies for incorporating information in your story without overwhelming the story itself. The class will also discuss how successful research can also provide the inspiration and ideas for generating new stories.



  • You're not sure how to weave research into the fabric of your novel.
  • You want to learn strategies for researching without getting getting sucked into the endless void of historical and other documents.



John Pipkin’s first novel, 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. John was the Dobie Paisano Fellow at UT-Austin for the spring of 2011. His latest novel is The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter. He received his Ph.D. in British Literature from Rice University in 1997. He teaches at the University of Texas and in the Low-residency MFA Program at Spalding University, in Louisville, Kentucky. He recently completed a bike ride from Warsaw to Paris in research for a new novel.






$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers

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

Registration will close on Thursday, September 28, at 5 p.m. 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