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"How to Make the Most of a Moment: Narrative Deceleration" with Marian Szczepanski

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

2/27/2016 From 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM



$99 for members (log in for member pricing)

$159 for nonmembers

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

Note: Online registration will close at the end of Thursday, February 25. After that you can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $109 for members and $169 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. Thank you!

SPECIAL OFFER FOR WLT MEMBERS:  Register for this class and get a complimentary 1/2-day class credit!* Our Happy 25th Anniversary gifts to you!  See details at the bottom of the page.


Everyone loves a car chase. Or an avalanche. Or any rapid-fire action that causes readers to turn pages at warp speed. But sometimes a narrative needs to get out of the express lane and allow readers to dwell in—and savor—the moment.

Pace matters when it comes to fully engaging a reader. As the driver of the car that is your story, memoir, or novel, you decide when it’s time to take a deep breath and slow down. Decelerating from the speed of light to a leisurely stroll, however, shouldn’t cause your narrative to stall. Quite the opposite. If handled correctly, moments of reflection, remembrance, decision-making, and flat-out awe can fuel your plot with greater complexity and your characters with greater depth.

The class will include examples of powerful moments from such writers as Emily St. John Mandel, Kevin Powers, Antonya Nelson, Tobias Wolff, Anne Enright, Joyce Carol Oates, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, plus writing exercises.

Before class, participants are encouraged to read the following two stories:

Making Love” by Antonya Nelson

The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

About the instructor:

Marian Szczepanski, author of the debut novel Playing St. Barbara (High Hill Press, 2013), holds an MFA in fiction from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and a BA in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Her short fiction has garnered the deMaine Award for an Emerging Writer from Clackamas Literary Review. She has received fellowships, grants, and awards from Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, and the Houston Press Club. Named to the Houston Press roster of “100 Houston Creatives” for 2014, Marian teaches creative writing workshops in Houston at Writespace and beyond.

*Details on special offer: Credit can be applied to a half-day class only and each half-day class will have a limited number of slots for credited tickets - available on a first come, first served basis -- so please reach out to us to redeem as soon as you know which class you'd like to attend. All credits are non transferable and must be used by December 31, 2016. Questions? Email or call 512-499-8914.

REGISTRATION BY MAIL: 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.

NOTE: Tickets are not refundable, but they are transferable. 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. For policies, please visit our Classes page.


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

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