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. Fall classes include:
- Novel Revision Series: Descriptive Writing and Image Systems
- Novel Revision Series: Interiority, Backstory, and Flashback
- Novel Revision Series: Point of View and Psychic Distance
- Novel Revision Series: Minor and Supporting Characters
- Novel Revision Series: Dialogue and the Scene
- 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