Writing from Character: A Fiction Workshop
Some fiction writers find that their stories germinate from a single visual image, others from a moral imperative, still others from a title or an opening sentence. Many, however, follow the adage “Character is plot.” To put it more precisely, personality has consequence. When different personalities mingle and collide, the consequences blossom into drama and only when they are fully and deeply realized by the writer can the drama become genuinely compelling. We will discuss and revise your work-in-progress with an emphasis on character development as a way to strengthen narrative. Rigorous revision is essential, so bring work with the expectation of a major overhaul. One or two take-home exercises will help stimulate that process. Come prepared for homework from the very first night. You will also be expected to partake fully in discussing fellow students’ work.
Please be ready to submit a single short story or the beginning of a book-length novel (20 pages maximum, double-spaced, 12-point type, good margins) by July 8. Specify on the first page if the work is a stand-alone piece or the beginning of something longer. Submission instructions will be emailed to registered students in early July. Please also bring to workshop a photocopy of an outstanding first page from a favorite work of fiction.
Julia Glass is the author of the novels A House Among the Trees, And the Dark Sacred Night, The Widower’s Tale, The Whole World Over, and the National Book Award–winning Three Junes, as well as the Kindle Single “Chairs in the Rafters.” Her third book, I See You Everywhere, a collection of linked stories, won the SUNY John Gardner Fiction Award. She has also won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her personal essays have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She is a cofounder of the arts festival Twenty Summers, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emerson College.