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Writing Workshops

Closer to the Truth: Translating Memory Into Fiction with Debra Jo Immergut (Sold Out)

$395

6 sessions

Out of stock

Once a week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST January 12 to February 16, 2023

Online via Zoom

This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Randy Winston at [email protected].


Fiction is an extraordinary machine for distilling deeply personal experience into art. In this generative workshop, participants will examine how writers of stories and novels can most effectively harness that machine’s power.

Keeping in mind Joan Didion’s observations about the differences between truth and fact—“How it felt to me: that is getting closer to the truth”—we will explore ways to mine our lives for powerful raw material while avoiding overexposure. We’ll consider when it’s best to hew close to “real life” and when it’s better to recast, reshape, or simply lie about everything for greater narrative drive and resonance.

Each meeting will focus on a different element of story construction, providing a theme for readings from current and classic fiction and for in-class writing sessions. Participants will generate new pieces and have multiple opportunities for sharing their work. They will read each other’s drafts and respond with insight and compassion. The course’s underlying lesson is this: every life can yield ample and gorgeous material for fiction.

Course Outline:
  • Session 1: The Senses
  • Session 2: Summoning Characters
  • Session 3: What Makes a Story
  • Session 4: Building a Narrative
  • Session 5: Moving Toward Resolution
  • Session 6: The Words & The Well

Capacity: 12

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Led By

  • DJIpic1 - Debra J. Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut is the author of the novels You Again, named a New York Times Best of the Year and shortlisted for the 2021 Gotham Book Prize, and The Captives, a 2019 Edgar Award finalist for Best Debut Novel by an American Author and published in over a dozen countries. She has also published a collection of short fiction, Private Property. Her essays and stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Narrative, the New York Times, PANK, and elsewhere. A recipient of Michener and MacDowell fellowships, she has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.