Writing the Smart Page-Turner

10 Thursdays from 10:30am-1:30pm, starting January 14th
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
See Map
Level: Intermediate
Adult (18+)
13 seats max

The GrubStreet favorite is back! Exciting plots and larger-than-life characters are the cornerstones of so-called "popular" or "genre" fiction, but in an era when Michael Chabon wins science fiction's Nebula Award and Cormac McCarthy wins the Pulitzer for his apocalyptic novel The Road, the lines between genre and literary fiction are blurrier than ever. Whether you're writing mystery, science fiction, erotica, love stories, fantasy, supernatural, or suspense, the principles of writing popular fiction are key, and in this course you'll learn how to craft clear prose, characters we can empathize with, and a story that moves, while developing a distinct literary "voice."

In class, we'll workshop your stories and/or novel chapters, explore the terrain, mechanics, and techniques of different genres, work on idea-generating exercises, and discuss the current markets for your work. We'll look at a variety of texts, including but not limited to works by Nobel Prize winners, classic graphic novels, screenplays, stage plays, bestsellers from other countries, and PIXAR's rules of good storytelling. The goal is to gain a solid grounding in the demands of popular fiction, as well as a better understanding of the literary potential of your favorite genres. We'll be looking at works from literary and genre authors such as Junot Díaz, Judith Guest, Ray Bradbury, Sarah Kane, Brad Meltzer, Rosellen Brown, Raymond Chandler, and Annie Proulx.

Did you know that we have scholarships available for all GrubStreet classes? To apply or find out more, check out our scholarships page.

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Michael Marano

Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Lots of Practical Tips"
  • "Diverse Reading Assignments"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


  • Generate New Work
  • Get Feedback
  • Study Published Writing
  • Craft Lessons
  • In-Class Writing
  • Instructor Feedback
  • Lecture
  • In-Class Reading
  • Class Discussion


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction

Commitment Level



Need a scholarship?

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