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"More Than Meets the Eye: Writing the Four Other Senses" with Marian Szczepanski

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St. Edward's University, Moody Hall 204
3001 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704

9/10/2016 From 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

49 for members (log in for member pricing)

$109 for nonmembers

Online registration is now closed for this event.

If you wish to attend, there are still a few seats available for purchase at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early and pay with exact cash or check (made out to Writers' League of Texas). The walk-up rate is $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Location Note: This class is held in Moody Hall, Room 204. This is a different building from past years' classes at St. Edward's University. You can find a campus map here.

A sure-fire way to captivate readers is with concrete details. However, describing the appearance of a person, place or thing is just the beginning. Characters, like readers, have four other senses—hearing, taste, smell, and touch—and each one offers the writer countless opportunities to render those characters’ experiences more vividly. By extension, the reader’s experience of fiction, memoir, and/or creative nonfiction embedded with sensory details will be deeper, more compelling, and, yes, visceral.

Allowing characters to hear, taste, smell, and touch enables a writer to create, not just a story, but a palpable world readers are eager to enter and reluctant to leave.

In this class, students will read and discuss examples of sensory detail in narrative excerpts by such contemporary writers as Lily King, Michael Ondaatje, Anthony Doerr, Chitra Divakaruni and Lauren Groff, among others. The class also will include writing prompts for using sensory details in new or in-progress work.

Please bring a laptop or paper and pen to class. (Optional: bring a scene or a few pages of a piece you’re working on that you’d like to enrich with more detail.) Each student will receive a handout containing excerpts, writing exercises, and bibliography of works cited.


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.


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