The Sentence as a Gift
SPRING DISCOUNT: Use code SPRING16 at registration checkout to get 10% off tuition for this course.
Do you see your sentences simply as a way to get from here to there or as an opportunity to try something never done before? In this one-week intensive workshop, you will revise a short piece of fiction (short story or standalone novel excerpt), focusing on the finer, more micro elements of your writing—word choice, syntax, comma, verb, noun—that are too often ignored.
What happens between the periods? Do we see our sentences simply as a way to get from here to there or as an opportunity to try something never done before? How do we know when to lie low? How do we know when to extend our fingers towards the heavens? In this one-week intensive we will work on revising a short piece of fiction (short story or standalone novel excerpt), paying particular attention to our maneuvers on a micro level: how we might make our prose hum through word choice, syntax, comma, verb, noun—all of the little gears in the engine that are often ignored. We will close-read a few published works (George Saunders, Joy Williams, Kelly Link) as well as our classmate’s writing. Part of this intensive course will be practicing how to read like a writer and to give you lasting strategies for self-diagnosing your own sentences. There will be daily writing prompts and blog posts. At the end of the week, I’ll give a longer response to each student’s work. We will buck against the internet’s tendency to skim shallow and plunge deep into the fierce possibilities of language.
Reif Larsen is the author of the novels I Am Radar and The Selected Works Of T.S. Spivet, which was a New York Times Bestseller and adapted for the screen by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie). He has a children’s book, Uma Wimple Charts Her House, coming out in May. Larsen’s essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, GQ, Tin House, McSweeney’s, Travel & Leisure, one story, The Millions, and The Believer. He recently founded The Future of Small Cities Institute.