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“You write something down and it’s awkward, trivial, artificial, approximate. But with effort . . . you can get it to open up, and expose what’s lurking there beyond the clumsy thing you first put down.”—Deborah Eisenberg
“What makes a story compelling?” asks instructor Andy Touhy. “More importantly, what are the ways to make it compelling? In this workshop, we’ll begin to really think about how to tell a good tale (short story or novel).
"Opening lines matter, as does point of view, as does the difference between what a character wants and what a character gets (the conflict that creates plot), as does engaging dialogue, and artful prose style, and images that fire the imagination. We’ll explore all the basic elements of craft—with an eye toward creating narratives that stick with readers long after the reading.”
Though the class may mix in readings for discussion and exercises, workshopping (sharing and critiquing of two drafts per writer) will be the primary focus. “We’ll grow as readers and listeners,” says Andy, “by approaching one another’s work as if it were our own, testing choices and material, and identifying strengths and weaknesses, so that the best of our hearts and minds make the page.” Andy will also give generous written feedback to each participant.
Andy Touhy, a recipient of the San Francisco Browning Society’s Dramatic Monologue Award and Fourteen Hills’ Bambi Holmes Fiction Prize, is also a nominee for inclusion in Best New American Voices. In 2016 his story manuscript, The Secret of Mayo, was named the finalist for BOA Editions’ Short Fiction Prize. Work from the collection has appeared in journals such as Conjunctions, New England Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, New American Writing, New Orleans Review, Colorado Review, Eleven Eleven, and The Collagist. He holds graduate degrees in literature and creative writing and has taught at SFSU, Academy of Art, and Ohio University. He lives in Oakland with his wife and child.
- Wednesday, February 20, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Wednesday, February 27, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Wednesday, March 6, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Wednesday, March 13, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Wednesday, March 20, 7:00pm-9:30pm
Andy Touhy is clever and bright and kind. The "Honing Your Fiction" class offered everything a fiction writing workshop should: instruction in fine points of rising action, sentence variety, point of view, both from Andy himself and with advice from articles by the experts: George Saunders, Richard Bausch, and Janet Burroway. And then there was a lot of workshopping of stories ... one short, one long or more if you had them. Andy was available, generous and even-handed in his feedback and his help.
I felt Andy was one of the most approachable writing teachers I've ever had, not pretentious at all, and that helped set the tone for the class. I felt like all the participants were inspired and treated each person with respect when doing workshopping. Andy gave each person's writing equal attention and interest.