3 Sessions via Zoom
Out of stock
Once a week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST February 18 to March 4, 2021
This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Thierry Kehou at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you struggle with plot? Do you know what your characters look like, and how they behave, but can’t seem to get them to do anything? One way of resolving this issue is by thinking about your characters in terms of what they want. This is the approach we’ll be taking in this class.
We’ll analyze how, precisely, a given protagonist’s desires dictate the plot of a story. To do this we’ll be reading work by writers such as S.A. Cosby, John Fram, and Steph Cha. Students often express the concern that overemphasizing plot will rob their work of literary merit and focusing too much on character will make their story boring—but in this class you’ll find there are many ways to balance plot and characterization.
This workshop is open to students of all experience levels and to stories with any amount of action. You’ll be free to work on a quiet family drama, or a story chock-full of explosions and car wrecks, so long as you are receptive to creating emotional stakes that are as high as is appropriate for the nature of your story. To accomplish this, you’ll be asked to clearly articulate your protagonist’s desires and who or what is getting in the way of what they want. This information will serve as a guide while you’re writing.
Please keep in mind that participation is mandatory. Everyone (including myself) will be expected to meaningfully comment on each story presented to the class. The end goal of the workshop is for participants to develop a more nuanced understanding of character motivation and more confidence in their ability to plot a story.
This workshop will take place online via Zoom. Participants will receive instructions for access prior to the first session.
Lauren Wilkinson’s debut novel, American Spy, was a Washington Post bestseller, an NAACP Image Award nominee, an Anthony award nominee, and an Edgar Award nominee. It was shortlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, was a Barnes & Noble Book of the Month, a PBS book club pick, and was included on Barack Obama’s 2019 Recommended Reading List. Lauren earned an MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was a Center for Fiction Emerging Writer Fellow, and has received support from both the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Her writing has appeared in Granta, the Believer, New York magazine and the New York Times, among other publications. Lauren splits her time between New York and Los Angeles where she works as a writer for television.
By Lauren Wilkinson
By Lauren Wilkinson
Published by Random House
It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, she’s overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Sankara is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent.
In the year that follows, Marie will observe Sankara, seduce him, and ultimately have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American.
Inspired by true events—Thomas Sankara is known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”—American Spy knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. This is a face of the Cold War you’ve never seen before, and it introduces a powerful new literary voice.
About this series
Crime Fiction Academy
The Crime Fiction Academy at the Center for Fiction is back! CFA originated eight years ago in our Manhattan location with author Jonathan Santlofer serving as program director. This relaunch of CFA gives aspiring crime writers at any level the opportunity to learn about the history of the genre as they work on their stories under the guidance of bestselling authors.
Plotting the Perfect Crime (Story) with Jonathan Santlofer (Sold Out)$150
Wednesday - Friday 2:00 pm EST - 4:00 pm EST January 27 to January 29, 2021
Inside Criminal Minds: Crafting Psychological Suspense with Alison Gaylin$150
Friday - Sunday 2:00 pm EST - 4:00 pm EST January 29 to January 31, 2021
Writing Sex in Fiction with Regina M. Porter$395
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST February 3 to March 10, 2021
Building Page-Turning Thrill Rides for Readers with Duane Swierczynski$150
Thursday - Saturday 3:00 pm EST - 5:00 pm EST February 4 to February 6, 2021
From Family Lore to Narrative Fiction with Maisy Card (Sold Out)$395
Once a week Tuesdays, 6:30 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST February 9 to March 16, 2021
Dialogue: Letting Your Characters Do More of the Work with De’Shawn Charles Winslow$495
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:30 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST February 10 to March 31, 2021
Users and Suckers and Steady Bad Luckers: Writing Complex Characters with William Boyle (Sold Out)$150
Friday - Sunday 2:00 pm EST - 4:00 pm EST February 12 to February 14, 2021
Members Only: The LiterariansFree
Wednesday, 12:30 pm EST - 2:00 pm EST February 17, 2021
New Ways to Jumpstart Stalled Stories with Sahar Mustafah$150
Saturday & Sunday 2:00 pm EST - 4:15 pm EST February 20 to February 21, 2021
What’s Italian? A Journey through 20th Century Italy with Antonio Romani
6 Sessions via Zoom Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST February 23 to May 4, 2021
Reading the Other Americas with Kaiama L. Glover
4 Sessions via Zoom Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST February 24 to May 26, 2021
The Art of Fiction Writing with Diane Zinna$495
Once a week Saturdays, 10:00 am EST - 12:00 pm EST February 27 to April 17, 2021
Criminal Justice in Fiction with Jennifer Baker
5 Sessions via Zoom Sundays, 1:00 pm EST - 2:30 pm EST February 28 to June 27, 2021
Elena Ferrante: The Early Works with Rebecca Falkoff
4 Sessions via Zoom Mondays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST March 1 to May 24, 2021
The Savage Detectives: Roberto Bolaño’s Rambunctious Road Trip with Samuel Rutter
6 Sessions via Zoom Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST March 3 to June 9, 2021