Strange Alchemy: How People, Place, and Conflict Intertwine in Fiction and Memoir

Open Seats


Regular $87.50
Member $78.75
Noon-5 p.m.
Open to All Levels
Online—Live Meeting
Number of Sessions
Day of the Week
Single Session
Multigenre Graphic

Story engages readers most when its place, people, and conflict create a certain alchemy. Via twists and turns, anticipated but not expected, the right combination of these three crucial elements allow us to enter the dream that John Gardner wrote about. But how do you create this magic in your own writing?

We’ll use a variety of innovative writing exercises, lively discussion, readings from well-known fiction and memoir writers, and breakout discussion groups to explore the balance of tension and action; how the narrative arc (the growth or change in your character or narrator) interacts with this conflict; and how "container," the primary atmosphere in your story, can drive emotion in your story. You’ll create new writing, revise blah scenes, and gain a deeper understanding of the intricate twist of place, people, and the conflicts they generate. This class is open to fiction and memoir writers of all levels.

Instructions for Accessing This Online Class

In order to access live class meetings, you must have the Zoom application downloaded to your computer. You will also need a WiFi/Internet connection throughout the duration of your scheduled meeting and a computer with audio and video capability. The information to join your Zoom classroom will be provided in your confirmation email upon registration. Please check spam folders if you do not see this email upon registration. For more information on how to use Zoom, please see our training manual here.

Some classes use a supplemental Google Classroom page. Should your teaching artist use Google Classroom, you will be invited to join the classroom via email at least 24 hours in advance of your class (check spam folders if you are not seeing this invitation). Please note that Google Classroom requires a Gmail address to access the Classroom. If you do not have a Gmail account, the email invitation will be sent to the email address we have on file and will prompt you to create a free account or enter an existing account to join the classroom. If we are unable to send an email invitation to your non-gmail account, you will be contacted by a staff member to provide a Gmail address. If you do not have a Gmail account, you can create a free account here. Should you have concerns about this, please contact a Loft staff member at or 612-379-8999. For more information on how to use Google Classroom, please see our training manual here.