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"It's the Little Things: Settings That Come Alive" with Katherine Catmull

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

2/7/2015 From 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM



$49 for members (please log in for member pricing)

$109 for nonmembers

Have you been told that your writing “feels generic” rather than original? Is your draft so larded with description that it waddles — or so underwritten that it feels ungrounded? Do descriptive passages sit on the page like indigestible lumps?

Whether your book is fiction or non-fiction, whether it’s set in downtown Austin or on Planet Zagbar, your book will only come alive for the reader if you’ve constructed a living world. And life is all in the detail.

In this half-day, hands-on class, we’ll talk about...

  • How point-of-view and dialogue can shape setting and world;
  • Working with details from all the senses, not just the eyes (sometimes how things smell can pull the reader in fastest);
  • Writing description that makes your story fly rather than stopping it cold;
  • The role of research;
  • A useful trick stolen from filmmaking;
  • Scene-setting traps to avoid.

    We’ll be doing hands-on exercises, so bring paper and pen or laptop.

About the instructor:

Katherine Catmull is the author of Summer and Bird (Dutton Juvenile/Penguin), one of Booklist's 2012 Top Ten First Novels for Youth and a TLA Spirit of Texas Reading pick for 2014-2015. She is also a co-author of The Cabinet of Curiosities (Greenwillow/HarperCollins) which came out in May 2014. Her next book with Dutton is due out in Winter 2016. Catmull is also a produced and published playwright and an arts journalist whose work has appeared on sites like Salon and Culturebot and in cover stories for the Austin Chronicle.


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 funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. 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