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Elements of Craft

Writing That Moves: Give Your Narrative Energy

Friday, October 2nd, 10:00am-5:00pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

What makes a story move? Certainly, the progression of drama moves a narrative forward. But in great writing, energy, freshness, and life are also found down in the roots of the sentences—in all those things that contribute to narrative voice: language, syntax, imagery, humor, detail, etc. In this seminar, we’ll look at work by Aleksandar Hemon, Mavis Gallant, and others, considering how these writers, at both macro and micro levels, propel us as readers and keep us interested and invested. Some readings will be emailed in advance. In addition to discussing them, we’ll do writing exercises based on these models. You should bring to class a story-in-progress (or an outline or fragment of a story). We’ll read aloud excerpts from our work and consider ways to infuse our writing with energy so that our narratives pulse with life. You will come away with a greater awareness of the tools at your disposal for finding a way back into your work, invigorating your prose, engaging your readers on various levels, and creating momentum in your stories. While our examples will come from literary fiction, the principles discussed will also be useful to writers of narrative non-fiction. Writers of all levels are welcome.

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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Stacy Mattingly
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  • Craft Lessons
  • In-Class Writing
  • Workshop
  • Lecture
  • Class Discussion
  • Reading Homework
  • Writing Homework


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction
  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Personal Essay
  • Literary Journalism
  • Nonfiction

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