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Cary Groner: Fiction Workshop – Build & Refine Your Storytelling Skills

9 Wednesdays, July 12 – September 6, 7-9:30pm  Berkeley 
$445 members/$475 non-members
Testimonials for Cary

When we read good stories they tend to endure in our hearts as touchstones that enrich our understanding of the world. We’ve all had the experience of reading something we like and wondering how the author developed such a breathtaking idea, with such compelling characters, and brought it to fruition. Those of us who admire good writing, and aspire to it ourselves, naturally wish to develop those skills. But without feedback from others it’s hard to escape the echo chamber and get a fresh perspective on our work.

A fiction workshop is an excellent way to broaden and enrich that perspective. Whether you’re planning to apply to MFA programs, preparing submissions for agents or publications, or just writing for your own pleasure, a workshop gives you a chance to focus on short stories or novels-in-progress while receiving insightful responses from other participants and from the instructor.

In this course, each student will have two to three stories workshopped with an eye toward constructive critique, including an evaluation of each story’s strengths and weaknesses. Students will also revise their work, with the understanding that first drafts are only a starting point in the process. Instructor Cary Groner will more generally address aspects of craft as prompted by each week’s submissions, and will also suggest occasional readings of essays or short stories to individual students based on his assessment of their needs.

“Fiction writing engages our hearts, challenges our minds, and helps us connect with our own inner lives and those of our readers,” says Cary. “It’s also an excellent way to have fun. The workshop will create a common ground for participants to discover more about their interests as writers, to mentor each other, to laugh a lot, and to improve at this most ineffable of crafts.”

Cary Groner’s debut novel, Exiles (Spiegel & Grau / Random House), was a Chicago Tribune best book of 2011. His short stories have won numerous awards, including the Glimmer Train fiction open, and appeared there and in other venues that include American Fiction, Mississippi Review, Southern California Review, Sycamore Review, Tampa Review, Zymbol, and Salamander.  Cary earned his MFA in 2009 from the University of Arizona, where he also taught undergraduate fiction writing. His students have been accepted at several prestigious MFA programs, including the University of Texas’s Michener Center, Johns Hopkins, the University of Tampa, and Antioch.


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