Elements of Craft

Discovering Meaning Within Story Structure

Tuesday, March 24th, 6:00-9:00pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

One of the purposes of storytellers within society is to explore ideas through a narrative and ask significant questions about what it means to be human. When the storytelling is strong, the audience never sees the truth coming, and the message slides by their defenses with ease.

The true storyteller is not a propagandist making messages to wash the brains of an audience. The true storyteller is a shaman entering a narrative to uncover the unconscious ideas which shape our perceptions of the world. In other words, while the propagandist puts the message in first, the shaman tells the story and is changed by it, then reports back to the rest of us.

But if the theme is so hard to see, how can we find it in our own work?

This seminar is designed to uncover the central idea behind your own story and to give you concrete ways to make it more complex and powerful. We will analyze the story structures and meanings of several films and novels. We will show how characters' arcs influence the themes and how to build a spine that flows through the entire work. And we'll discuss how to find your theme and how to hide it so even the most jaded reader will not see it coming.

This seminar is perfect for novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights.

Part of GrubStreet's Elements of Craft series, dedicated to exploring craft issues on a deeper level. For more on this series' offerings, click here.

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Mark Fogarty
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Previous Students Say

  • "High-Energy Class"
  • "Very Well-Organized"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • Craft Lessons


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction
  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Young Adult & Children's Literature
  • Screenwriting
  • Playwriting
  • Professional Development & Skills

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