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In class we will explore the fundamentals of craft. A basic rule of thumb is that one should know the rules of writing before one tries to break them. Topics will include Dramatic Arc (Freitag’s Pyramid), setting, scene, dialogue, description, point-of-view (first and third-person narratives), voice and revision. A group of up to ten students will read, critique, and discuss each other’s stories. Each week students will be given prompts (examples from famous authors) and are then tasked with creating 1 to 1 ½ pages of prose. These exercises are designed to spark the imagination while teaching the ins-and-outs, and the do’s-and-don’ts of creative writing. These tools, once practiced and learned, can be applied to all genres of writing, including literary fiction, thrillers, romance, fantasy, memoir, and creative non-fiction.Each prompt contains a brief passage and a description of the goals for the piece. The instructor will explain why the techniques used by the selected author make this particular piece effective. The following week, students bring in their written response to the prompt and it is read aloud in class. Classmates offer their feedback while the author quietly sits and considers each comment. While taking notes is not required, it is a good suggestion. After the discussion is finished, the instructor will offer a brief summary and their own comments, only then, will the author of the piece be allowed to ask for clarification or provided answers to any questions that arose from the discussion.
Instructor(s): Stephen Harnish
I earned my MFA in Creative Writing from the Solstice Program at Pine Manor College. My short story “Brodie and Nico” was published in Quintessence: Solstice MFA Anthology 2018. I am currently working on my next novel and additional short stories for publication. I’ve also started teaching my own writers workshop in Tucson, Arizona. To me, writers are like a big box of Crayola Crayons, there’s one of every color. My workshops are run with this in mind. Members use thoughtful, intelligent criticism with the goal of helping you become the best writer you can be.
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