Novel Revision Series: Descriptive Writing & Image Systems
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” — Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Good descriptive writing—setting, landscape, imagery, a sense of place—is a critical feature of a gripping novel. It puts the "vivid" in John Gardner’s “vivid, continuous dream” of fiction and has the power to strike a musical chord of emotions, sweeping the reader along in the current of the story. This discussion-based craft workshop will begin with a question: How does one achieve this almost mystical “transportation effect”?
The use of repeated and varied image systems can make a novel or story truly resonate on a subconscious level; it is central to creating narratives that accumulate meaning and emotional impact. In this intensive workshop we’ll use a combination of discussion, close reading, and writing/revision exercises to gain a greater appreciation for the potential of descriptive writing to give your manuscript new power and vibrancy.
Participants are invited to bring in a selection of important scenes from their novels in progress for potential sharing and on-the-spot revision exercises. Novel and chapter openings are particularly recommended.
The instructor will contact students by email 3-5 days in advance of the class to assign a few brief readings.
Part of GrubStreet's Novel Revision Series, led by Tim Weed and designed for those who have either finished or are nearing completion of a novel draft. Take every class in the series or simply choose the craft topics that are relevant to the revision challenges you face with your novel in progress. Classes include:
- Novel Revision Series: Zeroing in on Genre and Theme
- Novel Revision Series: Dramatic Structure & Narrative Drive
- Novel Revision Series: Descriptive Writing & Image Systems
- Novel Revision Series: Interiority, Backstory & Flashback
- Novel Revision Series: Point of View & Psychic Distance (coming soon!)
- Novel Revision Series: Dialogue & the Scene (coming soon!)
- Novel Revision Series: Minor & Supporting Characters (coming soon!)
- Novel Revision Series: Killer Openings & Symphonic Endings (coming soon!)
Previous Students Say
- "Inundated with Great Info"
- "Lots of Practical Tips"
- "Very Well-Organized"
- Class Discussion
- In-Class Reading
- Instructor Feedback
- In-Class Writing
- The Novel