June 19, 2019–August 21, 2019
The Story You Have to Tell
We all have a story we have to tell. We might not know its length or its shape, but deep down, we know its heart. This class will teach you how to pull that story out of you and start to shape it. If you've already begun, the class will help you polish it.
We'll discuss the essential elements of storytelling as they relate to nonfiction: how to bring real people to life on the page; how to craft effective dialogue and a strong narrative arc; how to heighten tension and release it; how to create engaging scenes; how to move forward, flash back, or collapse time; and so on.
We will read a series of short personal essays and some memoir excerpts to get a better idea of how master nonfiction writers handle such moves. You'll have a little reading most weeks, and we'll engage in a series of emulations to jumpstart and generate your own work. You'll leave the class with solid starts to either four long essays or six brief ones.
No class the week of July 4.