Liftoff: Finishing that Story Draft
This four-week workshop is geared toward helping you make something happen in your story—through helping you grow your draft in ways you hadn’t anticipated. Discussions will revolve around clarifying story ideas, sustaining scenes, deepening characters, expanding the story’s world, and making connections. This class is designed for advanced beginners and up who want to bring anything from a draft in progress to a vague idea.
Good stories start from vague ideas, character sketches, images, seemingly random thoughts, odd bits of language and rhythm. That inspiration gets you started—but to keep the story going, that initial creative spark requires a whole lot of manipulation to avoid stalling out. Ready to get out of your comfort zone? This 4-week intensive writing workshop is geared toward helping you make something happen.
Each week will bring a series of writing prompts designed to help you “grow” your draft—perhaps in ways you hadn’t anticipated. We’ll discuss ways of clarifying story ideas, sustaining scenes, deepening characters, expanding the story’s world, and making connections. We will look at examples from successful stories as models, but the focus is on you: there will be a constant conversation about your work and continual feedback throughout. While we won’t be discussing the elements of fiction (character, setting, etc.) in a traditional manner, you’ll learn some new ways of thinking about them and putting them to work. Mostly this workshop is aboutprocess and the willingness to try new things—the draft you end up with may not be perfectly polished, but it will be a complete, new, and exciting version of the story you had in mind.
Advanced beginners and up: students should understand the basic elements of fiction and have some familiarity with writing story drafts, but no prior workshop experience is necessary. Come with a draft in progress, a vague idea, a story that’s started and stalled, or start a new draft from scratch.
Anne Sanow is the author of the story collection Triple Time, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize and the PEN New England Award for Fiction. Twice a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center, her awards include the Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction from the Chicago Tribune and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She currently lives and writes in New Orleans.