Advanced Prose Workshop
In this workshop-focused class we will bring our critical and compassionate eyes to up to 5,000 words of prose (either fiction or nonfiction) from each student with the goal of making each story, essay or chapter the strongest it can be. We will discuss whatever elements can be improved to make a good story great: form, structure, character, dialogue, image, beginnings and endings, cadence, rhythm, emotional risk. We will discuss how to sink the story’s emotion down into the landscape of the story and into the bodies of the characters, how to let metaphors dance between meanings like drops of water on a too hot grill.
The extra hour each day that FAWC provides, does allow ample time for general discussions about craft as well as workshop. One of the things we will talk about is the ever expanding gray area that exists between fiction and nonfiction: the fictionalized memoir, the autobiographical novel, the lyric personal narrative, and how we might go about deciding what genre best suits a particular body of work.
We will also do some reading in advance of the class: Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and Paul Lisicky’s The Narrow Door, and discuss those books when we are together. I am delighted to say that once again, (after missing out on it last year) we will have a unique opportunity to do a joint storytelling exercise with David Hilliard’s narrative poetry class, which in the past has produced some astonishing cross genre art.
This class requires a writing sample for admittance. Please submit five pages of prose to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to registering for the class. Your submission will hold a space in the workshop. You will then be notified of a decision within a week. If accepted, you will need to then register and pay in full to secure your spot in the workshop. Also, if admitted please bring to the first class ten copies of a manuscript up to 5,000 words, double-spaced, 12 point font to be critiqued in class.
Pam Houston is the author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction, all published by W.W. Norton, including Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, Cowboys Are My Weakness, and Airmail: Letters of Politics, Pandemics and Place, coauthored with Amy Irvine. She teaches in the low residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts and at UC Davis, and is the co-founder and artistic director of the literary nonprofit, Writing By Writers. She lives in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.