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   Cross-Genre Novel and Fiction Workshops
   For Beginners and Established Writers


Students will study specific craft techniques and structure learned from a wide variety of accomplished short fiction writers. The goal is to learn to write work that will get published. Together with editor, students discuss concepts and strategize a personal approach to writing short fiction. Additional reading assignments.

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.

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

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

4. Character, Craft, and Complication
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

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


  • Cowboys Are My Weakness (Pam Houston)
  • The Foxed Mirror (Rikki Ducornet)
  • An Incident (Anton Chekhov)
  • A Comedy in Rubber O. Henry
  • Journalism in Tennessee (Mark Twain)
  • Fairy Tale (Robert Olen Butler)
  • Listening Hours (Nan Leslie)
  • 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 (William Saroyan)
  • Peace of Mind (T. C. Boyle)
  • The Proper Levels of Vacuum (Michael Martone)
  • Balthazar's Marvelous Afternoon (Gabriel Márquez)
  • Air Show (Pamela Painter)
  • Fat (Raymond Carver)
  • Louise (Somerset Maughm)
  • The Moving Finger (Edith Wharton)
  • Toon Red Nav Ardnaxela (Lisa Thompson)
  • The Angry Man (Peter Johnson)
  • Tumblehome (Paul West)
  • Ventilating Shiva (Mathew Davies)
  • A Country Doctor (Franz Kafka)

Web del Sol/Algonkian Workshops
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Suite 443
Washington, D.C. 20006

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