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

Time Signature: Handling Layers of Time in Narrative

No Longer Enrolling

  • $150.00 Non-Member
  • $130.00 Member

Class Description

Have you ever come to the page with a story in mind only to find yourself uncertain about where in the sequence of events to begin the narrative? Have you struggled with what pieces from the story’s timeline to include? Have you ended up overly focused on backstory? Have you started a narrative in chronological order only to lose steam? The way we handle time in narrative touches our storytelling at both macro and micro levels—from the architecture of our tales down to our sentences and our narrative voice. In this seminar, we will look at a range of literary examples, including writing by Benedict Kiely, Alice Munro, Vladimir Nabokov, and Ha Jin, and consider how these authors treat time in storytelling. We will do in-class writing exercises and discuss them. You should also bring to class a loose outline of a story-in-progress or of a story you would like to write (you may also bring in a partial or full draft of a piece), and we’ll discuss ideas regarding how your narrative might be told with respect to “time signature.” You will come away from the class with a greater sense of what is possible and a wider set of options and/or solutions regarding the crafting of your work in relation to time. Some readings will need to be done in advance; these will be emailed by the instructor the week before the class. While we will focus on models from literary fiction, the principles discussed will also be useful for writers of narrative nonfiction. 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.

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!