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"Fundamentals of Fiction" Class Series

4/4/2015 to 4/25/2015 From 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

 (except for April 18 class, which is 10 am to 4 pm)

Three half-day classes and one full-day class 

$486 for nonmembers

$246 for members (sign in for member pricing)


Drafting a novel involves so many key ingredients and instructions, it can be overwhelming. Should you write it in first person or third person? Through one character or many? How should I pace the narrative? How can I make sure my readers identify with and cheer for my characters? And what do people mean by "show, don't tell"?

For this reason, we're offering a month-long series that looks at four of the most basic fiction necessities, all taught by acclaimed writers who are also experienced teachers.

Below are the class details. Click on the titles for more information:

"Plot in Character-Driven Fiction"

with Brian Yansky
Saturday, April 4, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon
at ACC Highland Campus

Characters are the heart of fiction. We remember and feel passionate about novels because of the characters. But one problem for writers who write character driven fiction is that they often don't really understand how to find a plot for those characters to struggle through. So they have interesting characters but a dull or static plot. This short course will focus on strategies for developing plots that will not only help bring the story to life but also help deepen character.


"Whose Story Is It? Playing with Point of View"

with Stephanie Noll
Saturday, April 11, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon
at St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall 303

Often writers will have an idea for a story, its plots, and its characters, but before their fingers hit the keyboard or their pen races across the page, they should determine how to best tell the story. Choosing a point of view shapes how you--and your reader--experience any narrative. Imagine how different The Great Gatsby would be if told as a 1st person account by Gatsby. Or what if Gone Girl had been told through a 3rd person omniscient point of view?

In this class, you will consider how point of view impacts the narrative experience of these pieces, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various points of view, and complete writing exercises that will give you the opportunity to "try on" all different perspectives.


"Creating Sympathetic Characters"

with Nan Cuba
Saturday, April 18, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
at St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall 303

When a character is in trouble, as all protagonists should be, she can seem unsympathetic if she's focused only on her own problems. Her unhappiness, worry, and frustration may result in a character who appears judgmental, short-tempered, rude, and who wants to read about someone like that? The answer is that we all do, but only if she's complex enough to make us identify with and root for her, and the story ultimately shows her transcending those tendencies. This class will furnish examples of such characters, along with specific techniques for evoking reader sympathy and depicting character growth.


"Show, Don't Tell"

with Carol Dawson
Saturday, April 25, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon
St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall 303

This class will show how to implement the Show, Don't Tell rule, and why it's one of those rules you should only break if you're a master of telepathy or a minister delivering a sermon. We'll take the mystery out of Showing, and the tackle the temptation to Tell. We will also set your imaginative gifts ticking strongly enough to carry out the most challenging of challenges. Once you leave the classroom, you should have enough tools in your toolbox to 'show' everything you need to in order to enliven your reader and spice up your narrative, from a romantic Regency ballroom romp to a high stakes poker game to a stealthy murder. Most of all, we'll have fun and laughs doing it.Bring a pen and notebook to class. Laptops if you prefer. Be ready to inscribe 'life' straight into the manuscript!