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  • Workshop
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)
  • 6 Weeks

Writing Fiction from Real Life

No Longer Enrolling

  • $380.00 Non-Member
  • $365.00 Member

Class Description

For writers who feel overwhelmed by the notion of starting a story from nothing, the real world can provide a useful gateway into the fictional world. Plus, the art of shaping credible fiction often means that we look to the actual world around us for ideas and cues. This six-week class will use personal experiences and observations to craft compelling fiction and characters. The first two classes will focus on in-class exercises, explorations, and low-key mini workshops of student work. The last four classes will focus on workshopping one longer work (up to 15 pages) by each student, along with in-class exercises and readings, as time allows.

This course offers a model for workshopping your manuscripts in which, instead of remaining silent, you will be an active participant in the conversation about your piece, with a focus on concrete revision options. Classmates will be encouraged to incorporate content-based feedback (e.g. “what are the socio-cultural implications in this piece?”) with craft-based feedback (e.g. “how is the structure working in this draft?”) This approach aims to give the writer a stronger voice in their own critique, for readers to thoughtfully examine and learn from their initial feedback during the workshop, and for everyone to leave class with a clearer revision strategy for their work. By the end of the course, students will have built several scenes and story starters along with one fuller draft ready for revision. They will also have a toolkit of practical approaches for translating real-life elements into fuel for their fiction. We'll look at stories by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, Raymond Carver, James Baldwin, Amy Hempel, Ben Lerner, Ann Beattie, Nancy Hale, Charles Baxter, and Edwidge Danticat.

Please note: Class does meet February 17th.

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.

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!