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   New and Established Writers WelcomePhone: 1-800-250-8290
   Literary and All Genres

AF I is a model-method and context-based workshop, i.e., students create new works-in-progress in the context of the lesson environment, employing specific craft techniques and structure learned from a wide variety of accomplished writers. The goal of the workshop is to write work that will get published. Lessons, elements, and authors studied; exercises performed:

1. Pragmatism, The Art, and Publication
Satisfying the "art of fiction," obstacles to publishing, importance of subject matter, avoidance of cliché, story prep, story élan, what editors look for, long-term goals.

Exercise: Together with editor, students discuss concepts and strategize a personal approach to writing short fiction. Additional reading assignments.

2. New Beginnings I
How to begin? Story sketching, irony, best non-fiction vs. fiction, seven criteria for choosing compelling subject matter, log lines and synopses, major complication. Davies, Twain, Thompson, Butler

Exercise: Students create two to three story outlines/concepts that meet select criteria. Next, students work with editor to write a prototype synopsis and log line. Additional reading assignments.

3. New Beginnings II
Extreme titles, exploring narrative hooks, types of beginnings, bad prose, style must-knows. Connelly, Painter, Lutz, Saroyan, Gogol, Kafka, Appolonius of Rhodes

Exercise: Students brainstorm alternative story titles and experiment with opening narrative hooks, choosing one for the first story-in-progress. Additional reading assignments.

4. Character, Craft, and Complication I
Tone props, understatement, character evolution, cause of predicament, triggers, empathy and sympathy, foreshadowing, scene construction, incident-based and character-based complication, tragic flaws, epiphany, resolution, types of narrative, story blocks, ripple-effect minor complications. Houston, Thompson, Johnson

Exercise: Students focus on incident-base or character-base complication, match specific character, sketch character, and write one story block with scene using first-person POV. Additional reading assignments.

5. Structure, Craft, and Theme
Analysis of methods available to create varying degrees of meaning and intellectual value when writing fiction. Variable 3rd Peson POV introduced. TC Boyle, Thompson, Twain, Houston, O. Henry, Chekhov, Martone, Marquez

Exercise: Students brainstorm and experiment with thematic applications, continuing to refine their first-person POV story-in-progress. Additional reading assignments.

6. Character, Craft, and Complication II
Creating character relationships, poignancy in fiction, more variable third-person POV, using intra-story anecdotes to characterize, narrative vs. dialogue. Leslie, Gomes, Maughm

Exercise: Students transform their current story-in-progress into a 3rd person variable POV using technique learned in workshop. Additional reading assignments.

7. Character, Craft, and Complication III
Verisimilitude, setting + details, the exotic character sketch, sympathy for rare personalities Ducornet, Butler, Marquez

Exercise: In the context of the second story-in-progress, students explore types of "exotic" characters and further refine 3PPOV. Additional reading assignments.

8. Structure, Craft, and Tension
Incident-based (character neutral) complications and focus-of-tension fiction sans major complications. Davies, Carver, Connelly

Exercise: If not yet accomplished, students create an incident-based complication and/or a proto-synopsis for a focus-of-tension short story. Continued refinement of story-in-progress. Additional reading assignments.

9. Prose Narrative Technique
Prose drills, prose description guide, delayed cognition, associative triggers, time-spatial jumping, variable tense, narrative élan checklist, the "art of fiction" spectrum. Phillips, West, O'Connor, Shatnoff, Plath, Proulx, Johnson

Exercise: students given select exercise in the context of their second story-in-progress designed to enhance narrative as appropriate and necessary. Additional reading assignments.

10. The Final Stories
Publication, revision without tears, the "art of fiction" test, summary discussions re structure and narrative.

Exercise: Students further refine their work-in-progress, receiving editorial comment and line editing assistance as appropriate. Publication explored.


Web del Sol/Algonkian Workshops
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Suite 443
Washington, D.C. 20006
Phone: 1-800-250-8290