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What does it mean to have a voice? Why does a certain word or sentence make us laugh? How can a sentence increase tension? Is it fair to hate adverbs? What do people mean when they call a story quiet or refer to writing as lyrical? We will discuss these questions and many more as we discuss the craft and magic of the sentence,” say co-instructors Lori Ostlund and Anne Raeff.

In this six-hour class, we will examine style and voice via their building blocks: word choice, punctuation, and syntax. We will study excerpts from various writers to demystify what it is that makes their style distinct and will practice imitating in order to understand. Along the way, we will bring in connotation vs denotation; rhythm and repetition; adjectives and adverbs; figurative language; and tone. We will also offer practical advice on such topics as building tension at the sentence level and controlling narrative distance, and will introduce a variety of sentence structures for those who are feeling stuck in the same old sentence structures.

We will look at lots of prose examples, talk about sentences at the granular level, and write lots of them during in-class exercises. Participants will leave with a clearer understanding of how to write sentences that don’t just cater to content but that create rhythm and emotion, tension and beauty as well as with specific ideas about how to freshen and sharpen their own sentences.


About The Writing Salon's Remote Classes

You will be able to participate in live class meetings via Zoom videoconference. To attend classes, you'll need a phone, tablet or computer and access to the internet. You can participate in the class from wherever you'd like, whether on your living room couch or in your office. Before your class meets, you'll receive an email from The Writing Salon with more information about Zoom and your remote class. If you have any questions about remote learning, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at hello@writingsalons.com.



    Anne Raeff‘s second novel, Winter Kept Us Warm, was published in February 2018 by Counterpoint Press. Her short story collection, The Jungle Around Us, won the 2015 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and her stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, ZYZZYVA, and Guernica among other places. Because her parents were both refugees from the Holocaust and war and because of her penchant for travel, her work is often set far away, both in time and space, from the New Jersey suburbs where she grew up. She is proud to be a high school teacher and works primarily with recent immigrants.

    Lori Ostlund’s novel After the Parade (Scribner, 2015) was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, was a finalist for the 2016 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction and the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Her first book, a story collection entitled The Bigness of the World, won the 2008 Flannery O’Connor Award, the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award, and the 2009 California Book Award for First Fiction. Stories from it appeared in the Best American Short Stories and the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. Scribner reissued the collection in early 2016. Lori received the 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Award and a fellowship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Most recently, her work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, The Southern Review, and the Kenyon Review.

  1. Live Zoom Meeting: Sunday, August 28, 10:00am-1:00pm
  2. Live Zoom Meeting: Sunday, September 11, 10:00am-1:00pm
  • Lori and Anne were both wonderful and absolute pros. They made sure to give everyone the option of having input into what we wanted to focus on in the curriculum. They also did a great job of making sure every single student felt heard and could receive helpful feedback if they wanted it.

    Kristine M.
  • It was powerful to have the input of two experts, each with their own slant. They led us yet left room for our questions and ideas. They also incorporated writing prompts into the class so we had the opportunity to put into practice what we just learned.

    Ana María C.


Sunday, August 28, 2022 @ 5:00 pm PDT
Sunday, September 11, 2022 @ 8:00 pm PDT
Event Categories:


Online (SF Zoom)
Live Remote Meetings, ZOOM
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Cancellation Policy

10 days or more before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 10% fee OR a refund minus a 20% fee.

3-9 days before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 20% fee OR a refund minus a 30% fee.

2 days or less before the start date for a class, the registrant will not receive a credit or a refund.

The Writing Salon cannot offer refunds, credits, or makeup sessions for classes a student might miss.

In the event of an emergency, we may consider a refund or credit, whether partial or full. We review these requests on a case-by-case basis, and we ask that you notify us as near as possible to the start date for the class.

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