Setting as Character
Whether you're writing space opera or a young adult memoir, a crime novel or a short story set in Albany, every story has setting. Truly great settings live in our minds. Mary Karr's Texas, bursting with a million human comedies and tragedies. Frank McCourt's economically depressed Ireland. The imaginative far-future worlds of N.K. Jemisin. All of these have one thing in common: the setting isn't just where the story happens, it is an integral part of the story. In fact, the settings act much like characters.
In this short workshop, we will review different theories and pieces of craft advice to help us build well-rendered settings in any genre. We will look at how contemporary authors have created active, "living" settings that "work" like characters on the page. Finally, we will take some time to practice these techniques, with the goal of creating settings that feel both real and alive—not matter how fantastical they may seem. This workshop is great for fiction and narrative non-fiction writers. However, writers revising a book-length project will probably get the most out of the course.
This class will take place in-person at our Center for Creative Writing in Boston's Seaport neighborhood. Please note that proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is required to attend this class. Please submit your proof of vaccination here at least 48 hours before your class begins. Read on to learn more about GrubStreet's vaccine protocol and find information about where to get vaccinated below.
GrubStreet Vaccine Protocol
Please submit your most recent proof of vaccination, which requires a booster shot for those eligible, here at least 48 hours before your class begins. If you have previously submitted a proof of vaccination that did not include your booster shot, you will need to resubmit your updated vaccine card. If you are not able to fill out our vaccination form 48 hours before your class begins, please bring your vaccine card (or a photo of it) with you to the building. Please note that if you arrive for class and you have not filled out the form and do not have proof of vaccination with you, you will not be allowed to participate in the class. And don’t forget your mask! In accordance with the City of Boston, masks will be required at all times while inside the building. Click here to read GrubStreet's full Vaccination and Masking Policy.
Vaccination status: For in-person classes and events, your vaccination status is considered up-to-date until the time you are eligible for a booster – which is 5 months after the second dose in a two-shot series. Boosters are required for all visitors on our second floor if your second shot was more than 5 months ago.
Need help getting vaccinated? It’s free and easy to receive a COVID-19 vaccine! Please visit Massachusetts’ VaxFinder page to find a vaccination site near you. If you'd like to learn more, you can read the answers to some commonly asked questions about COVID vaccination here.
Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.
For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.
- Study Published Writing
- In-Class Writing
- In-Class Reading
- Class Discussion
- The Novel
- Short Fiction
- Book-Length Memoir