“You know that feeling when a story you’re writing finally clicks into place,” says instructor Karen Bjorneby. “For many of us, that moment arrives once we discover how character, plot, and meaning interlock, supporting and enriching one another. Until that time, we may feel like our story has no direction or purpose, that our characters are voiceless, even hollow.”
This class is designed to help you make your own short story, memoir, or novel click into place. If you have strong characters but no plot, we’ll dig deeply into characters’ secret hearts to discover a story nestled inside. If you have a plot idea but no characters, we’ll explore characters who could drive the story. Then we’ll develop a plot from beginning to end. In a free-flowing exchange, we’ll discuss your thoughts about your story’s meaning, then connect those to character and plot.
By the end of the class, in addition to the writing you will have done on your story, you will have created a set of character studies, a rough plot outline and synopsis, and a draft premise statement or elevator pitch. Plan to complete 3-5 pages of homework every week, with the chance to submit 10 pages to the group as a whole for brief discussion, with written feedback provided by the instructor. Short story writers, memoirists, and novelists are all welcome!
Karen Bjorneby is the author of Hurricane Season, which received Foreword’s Honorable Mention as best independent/university press short fiction collection of the year. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in over two dozen publications including The Threepenny Review, The Sun, North American Review, StoryQuarterly, Poetry Daily, and Able Muse. She’s received a Pushcart Special Mention citation, two other Pushcart nominations, a National Magazine Award nomination, and she was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference. She recently secured representation for her novel Naked, Shining, and Alive.
- Monday, September 25, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, October 2, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, October 9, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, October 16, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, October 23, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, October 30, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, November 6, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, November 13, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, November 20, 7:00pm-9:30pm
Karen’s course exceeded my expectations. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I got out of it. I loved her lectures; very informative, filled with valuable nuggets. I expect I will refer to her handouts and my notes for a long time to come. Her in-class exercises were thought-provoking, and her feedback on everyone’s writing was thoughtful, encouraging and full of generosity and compassion.
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