Writing the Smart Page-Turner

10 Thursdays from 10:30am-1:30pm, starting January 23rd
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
See Map
Level: Intermediate
Adult (18+)
12 seats max
Only 3 spots left!

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.

Scholarship Information

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.

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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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