Out of stock
Once a week Mondays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT April 17 to May 22, 2023
Online via Zoom
This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Randy Winston at [email protected].
This course is designed for writers just starting out as well as intermediate writers looking to gain new insight into their process. Each week we will read one well-regarded story, from modern masters to a Joyce classic. Our discussion of these stories will lead us into brief talks on the fundamentals of craft at work in each. From these discussions we will take inspiration and have two opportunities to write, responding to craft-relevant writing exercises. If time and interest exist, we may share and discuss some of our in-progress work, but the main goal of this course is to get (re)acquainted with the fundamentals of great storytelling and to make new work. Each writer can expect to leave this course with a new awareness of the essential craft elements of story form (concrete detail, characterization, point of view, conflict, dialogue, setting), as well as a nearly complete, if not finished, a story. As an instructor, I strive to facilitate supportive and inspiring spaces for both generative and more critical workshop courses. I want my writers to leave our time together feeling confident in their strengths, aware of where they should keep challenging themselves, and completely capable of reaching their writing goals.
- Session I: Whose story is it? The very first choice we make, often unconsciously, when starting to write a story is the point of view from which it is told. So, our first week together we will discuss and play around with the various points of view available to us and the effect each can have on our reader.
- Session II: What do they want? To have a story, we must have a central protagonist and that protagonist must want something even if, as Vonnegut said, it is only a glass of water. Our in-class exercises this week will focus on characterization and character desire.
- Session III: How will they get it? For a story to have an arc we must have a conflict. Most often conflict stems from an obstacle standing in the way of our characters desires. In our third week we will seek inspiration from the various forms a story’s antagonist might take.
- Session IV: Who said what? If we have a protagonist and an antagonist at this point in our story work, chances are we need to get them talking. This week we will look at the structure of a scene, get our people talking, and look at the various forms dialogue can take.
- Session V: Wait, where are we? This week we will slow down and look around, considering place as secondary character in our story work. How does place generate new information for the character and reader? What kind of details deepen the emotional meaning or subtext of the scene we’re working in.
- Session VI: Is it over? In this last week, we will look at story endings. What makes them satisfactory? Unsatisfying? What kind of an ending do you want for your characters? In this final week, we will also look at the endless possibilities presented to us when we go to revise—and how we can know when to do what. In our exercises, we will play with revision and language, seeing what happens when we elevate diction, shorten sentences, let them run on, or cut whole paragraphs, etc. If we have not already had time to share our work, for those that wish to do so, this week will also dedicate some time to sharing as well as addressing any questions about next steps in the writing process.
Kate Milliken is the author of If I’d Known You Were Coming, winner of the 2013 Iowa Award for Short Fiction, as well as the novel Kept Animals, which was longlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize in 2020. Kate’s work has been supported by Ragdale, the Tin House Writers Workshop, Vermont Studio Center, and the Sewanee Writers Conference.
By Kate Milliken
By Kate Milliken
Published by Scribner
It’s 1993, and Rory Ramos works as a ranch hand at the stable her stepfather manages in Topanga Canyon, California, a dry, dusty place reliant on horses and hierarchies. There she rides for the rich clientele, including twins June and Wade Fisk. While Rory draws the interest of out-and-proud June, she’s more intrigued by Vivian Price, the beautiful girl with the movie-star father who lives down the hill. Rory keeps largely separate from the likes of the Prices—but, perched on her bedroom windowsill, Rory steals glimpses of Vivian swimming in her pool nearly every night.
After Rory’s stepfather is involved in a tragic car accident, the lives of Rory, June, and Vivian become inextricably bound together. Rory discovers photography, begins riding more competitively, and grows closer to seductive, mercurial Vivian, but despite her newfound sense of self, disaster lurks all around her in this “exquisite exploration of hurt and desire” (Jeannette Walls): in the parched landscape, in her unruly longings, in her stepfather’s wrecked body and guilty conscience. One night, as the relationships among these teenagers come to a head, a forest fire tears through the canyon, and Rory’s life is changed forever.
Narrated by Rory’s daughter, Charlie, in 2015, more than twenty years after that fateful fire, Kept Animals is “gorgeous, sensual…an event-packed novel of class, desire, [and] coming-of-age” (New York Times Book Review).
About this series
We strive to make our classes the most inviting and rewarding available, offering an intimate environment to study with award-winning, world-class writers. Each class is specially designed by the instructor, so whether you’re a fledgling writer or an MFA graduate polishing your novel, you’ll find a perfect fit here.
Unputdownable: How to Grab the Reader's Attention and Keep It with Stefan Merrill Block$150
Friday—Sunday March 31 to April 2, 2023
Crafting Unforgettable Characters with Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry$150
Friday—Sunday March 31 to April 2, 2023
Who Is You: Writing Second-Person Stories with Nat Mesnard$150
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT April 1 to April 2, 2023
Speedboat and Sleepless Nights and 1970s New York with Mike Levine
Four Sessions Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT April 4 to April 25, 2023
Crossing the Lines: Applying Writing Strategies Across Genres with Dawn Raffel$395
Once a week Mondays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT April 10 to May 15, 2023
Your Problems Are Your Solutions: Generative Revision Through Plot with Christopher M. Hood$495
Once a week Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT April 11 to May 30, 2023
How to Structure the Strange with Rebekah Bergman (Sold Out)$125
Saturday, 11:30 am EDT - 4:00 pm EDT April 15, 2023
Members Only: The LiterariansFree
Wednesday, 12:30 pm EDT - 1:30 pm EDT April 19, 2023
World and Languages: Writing About Languages, Travels, and Immigration with Jenna Tang$295
Once a week Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT April 19 to May 10, 2023
On Writing Grief: A Two-Day Bootcamp with Diane Zinna$150
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT April 22 to April 23, 2023
Everything Authentic Is Simultaneous: Time and Memory in Crime Fiction with William Boyle$395
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT April 26 to May 31, 2023
The Art of Teleportation: How to Write with a Strong Sense of Place with Laia Jufresa$150
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am EDT - 2:00 pm EDT April 29 to April 30, 2023
Henry James's The Golden Bowl with Sheridan Hay
Four Sessions Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT May 3 to May 24, 2023
Mastering the Art of the Short Story with Madeline Stevens$495
Once a week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT May 4 to June 22, 2023
The Utopian Imagination: Creative Worldbuilding with Nat Mesnard$150
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT May 6 to May 7, 2023
Writing Masquerade: The Supernatural and Folklore as Fantasy in Fiction with P. Djèlí Clark (Sold Out)$125
Saturday, 12:00 pm EDT - 4:30 pm EDT May 13, 2023