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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Discovering Meaning Within Story Structure

No Longer Enrolling

  • $65.00 Non-Member
  • $55.00 Member

Class Description

One of the purposes of storytellers within society is to explore ideas through a narrative and ask significant questions about what it means to be human. When the storytelling is strong, the audience never sees the truth coming, and the message slides by their defenses with ease.

The true storyteller is not a propagandist making messages to wash the brains of an audience. The true storyteller is a shaman entering a narrative to uncover the unconscious ideas which shape our perceptions of the world. In other words, while the propagandist puts the message in first, the shaman tells the story and is changed by it, then reports back to the rest of us.

But if the theme is so hard to see, how can we find it in our own work?

This seminar is designed to uncover the central idea behind your own story and to give you concrete ways to make it more complex and powerful. We will analyze the story structures and meanings of several films and novels. We will show how characters' arcs influence the themes and how to build a spine that flows through the entire work. And we'll discuss how to find your theme and how to hide it so even the most jaded reader will not see it coming.

This seminar is perfect for novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights.

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.

Scholarships Format/Location

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 detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!