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's emphasis is on literary, general, and speculative fiction. He prefers not to workshop genre fiction (e.g., romance, detective, sci-fi), though writers who work in those modes are welcome to take the course if they're willing to experiment with more literary work.
**The first class meeting will go from 7:00pm-8:30pm. All subsequent class meetings are scheduled for 7:00pm-9:30pm.
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 Montana, the University of Tampa, Antioch, and Vanderbilt.
- Thursday, May 13, 7:00pm-8:30pm
- Thursday, May 20, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, May 27, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, June 03, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, June 10, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, June 17, 7:00-9:30pm
Cary did an excellent job of creating a rigorous course that exceeded my expectations and was well worth the money I invested. He did several things that I appreciated: he respected the class members and treated us as peers; he set high standards by providing excellent examples of classic and current literature; he was flexible and responsive to the needs of the group; and he gave thorough, balanced, personalized, and helpful criticism that improved every class members’ writing skills by the end of the course. I would highly recommend Cary. He helped me grow in confidence and skill and renewed my love of writing.
I heartily recommend studying fiction writing with Cary Groner. He combines sensitive, keen perception with rigorous and refreshing, professional high standards, a combination that feels pretty rare among fiction teachers. Workshop writing classes rely on fellow students to be successful, but Cary had a way of quietly raising the bar, encouraging the most thoughtful and considered feedback. In my class, as in another reviewer’s, several of the students had already taken classes with him before, which also said a lot about his teaching talents.
Patience, warmth, knowledge -- these are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of Cary. He is a wonderful teacher, one who is completely committed to helping his students be better writers, readers, and thinkers. When I started working with Cary, I had never before taken a creative writing class or shared my stories with other people. At first, I felt like a rookie. But Cary treated me like a writer. He both supported me and challenged me to push further, and his engaging classes opened me up to new techniques, ideas, and sources of inspiration.
I could not be more satisfied with Cary as a teacher or with my overall experience in his courses. In class, Cary is a calm, kind, intelligent – I’ll go ahead and say wise – presence. He gives excellent feedback, and his praise is meaningful because he is unafraid to tell student writers when a piece of work isn’t there yet (better, he can explain why).
Studying with Cary Groner at The Writing Salon has been a formative experience for me. I've studied fiction in universities and taken other workshops in San Francisco, but Cary stands out as an excellent teacher due to his knowledge of craft, his intuition of what a student story is trying to accomplish, and his dedication to being an encouraging mentor.
Rigorous, intelligently structured, and rich in craft and critique, Cary Groner's fiction workshop is a standout. Cary gave us a solid grounding in the techniques of writing fiction along with writing assignments in which to practice the technique at hand. He also introduced us to a trove of superb stories and essays carefully chosen to illustrate the masterful use of each technique we studied. Cary is an engaging and inspiring teacher, generous with his knowledge and his time. We came away each week energized by the craft we learned and ready to try it out in our fiction.