Wednesdays, Jan. 30-March 27 (9 weeks), 7-9:30 pm
$365 members/$395 others Berkeley
Fiction writing engages our hearts, challenges our minds, and helps us connect with our own inner lives and those of our readers. 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 and as human beings, to mentor each other, to occasionally laugh like hyenas, and to improve at this most ineffable of crafts.
We’ll begin with exercises and homework assignments designed to free the imagination and encourage exploration. We’re after that feeling of a giddy kid alone in bright woods, freed from parental supervision for the first time. We’ll discuss each other’s assignments, then segue gently into more structured work incorporating foundational aspects of fiction that include character, motivation, conflict, and dialogue.
Because few things are more humbling, or enlightening, than sampling masters of the trade, we’ll also read a few published stories and discuss them in the context of these craft considerations. By the end of the course, participants will have written one story (short or long), then revised it based on responses from the group.
“Good writing is about empathy—how writers understand their characters and how the reader comes to share that understanding,” says instructor Cary Groner. “This course will develop that empathy through exercises and assignments, then strengthen the writer’s craft through drafting and revision of a story.”
Cary Groner’s debut novel, Exiles (Spiegel & Grau/Random House), placed fourth on the Chicago Tribune’s list of the best books of 2011. His short stories have won numerous awards and appeared in venues that include Glimmer Train, American Fiction, Mississippi Review, Southern California Review, Tampa Review, and Sycamore Review. Cary earned his MFA in 2009 from the University of Arizona, where he also taught undergraduate fiction writing.