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Writing Workshops

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

$495

8 Sessions via Zoom

Out of stock

Once a week Mondays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT October 26 to December 14, 2020

This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist please email Thierry Kehou at thierry@centerforfiction.org.


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

In creating our fictional pieces, we’ll keep 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’ll explore various 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” in our imagined worlds and when it’s better to recast, reshape, or simply lie about everything for greater narrative drive and resonance.

Each session will focus on a different element of story construction, providing a theme for readings, in-class writing, and workshopping each other’s pieces. We’ll discuss the blurred lines between fiction and autofiction, and we’ll try to locate the best place for our own work along that continuum. By the course’s end, I hope students will share my belief that every life can yield ample and gorgeous material for stories, novels, and more.


Course Outline

  • Week 1: Sense Work
  • Week 2: Summoning Characters
  • Week 3: Excavating Stories
  • Week 4: Following Mystery
  • Week 5: Finding Center and Edge
  • Week 6: Reaching for Resolution
  • Week 7: The Words
  • Week 8: The Well

Capacity: 12 students

This workshop will take place online via Zoom. Participants will receive instructions for access prior to the first session.

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Led by

  • authorpichires 2 - Debra J. Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut is the author of You Again, published by Ecco/HarperCollins in July 2020, and The Captives, a 2019 Edgar Award finalist for Best Debut Novel by an American Author, published in the US by Ecco and in over a dozen other countries. She has also published a collection of short fiction, Private Property (Random House). Her essays and stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Narrative, and the New York Times, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of Michener and MacDowell fellowships, and has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.