“We all have our favorite writing rules—never have characters talking on the phone; don’t set your story at a funeral; no vomiting—rules that have come about sometimes as simple pet peeves but more often for valid reasons that have to do with maintaining tension or not getting lazy on the page,” says instructor Lori Ostlund. In fact, parameters can be good, even helpful.
In this class, however, the parameters will be defined by breaking the rule. Each week we will look at a popular writing prohibition, talk about the logic behind it, and then embrace it. Along these lines, we will read scenes or stories that successfully break common fiction rules; weekly exercises will be aimed at writing directly into them. “Characters will vomit,” says Lori.
We will discuss these exercises in weekly workshops. This class is meant to be both generative and fun.
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.
- Sunday, August 11, 10:30am-1:00pm
- Sunday, August 18, 10:30am-1:00pm
- Sunday, August 25, 10:30am-1:00pm
- Sunday, September 08, 10:30am-1:00pm
- Sunday, September 15, 10:30am-1:00pm
Lori is a great teacher, and came with a plan. She was kind and patient, and steered/started conversations in a tactful way. She skillfully led discussions of the samples we read. When it came to critiquing our own work, any comments were couched in constructive language, and she set the tone for critiques.
She was much more accessible than other teachers I have had in the past. She even went so far as to think further about questions she had already answered in class, and e-mail her thoughts to us later.
Lori Ostlund has an incredibly deep understanding of how fiction works. The lecture portion gives me useful tools, the prompts get me writing, and the workshop feedback gives me actionable next steps for my writing. It was the ideal mix of lecture, exercises, and feedback.
I've loved every class I've taken from Lori Ostlund. I would enroll in any new class that she offered in the future.