Program Details

Prose Writing for all Genres

When prose writing is at its best, a kind of alchemy occurs, a fusion of clarity, grace and style. This combustion creates the optimum reading experience: the narrative has energy to pull readers through the pages, but the writing is so powerful, evocative that readers also want to linger.

Clarity, grace and style are elusive qualities. More easily addressed, discussed are allied elements, literary/artistic/editorial tactics and choices on the part of the writer. This class moves beyond the confines of genre to help all prose writers recognize, develop and use those tactics effectively.

Class time

Each week there will be new prompt that writers will take home and work from; they’ll return to class with material to read aloud and stimulate discussion. Writers will not be critiquing one another’s work on paper, but responding to others’ in class, and having their ideas and material discussed as well. We will all grow increasingly aware of and attuned to one another’s projects as the weeks and terms progress. At the end of each term, all writers will refine and expand one piece of work they’ve done. Our goals are not consecutive chapters in a whole, polished manuscript, but enhancing the skills and insights each writer brings to the work itself. Hence, it is ideal to take all three courses in the series offered in the 9-month program. A certificate is awarded to those participants that successfully progress through all three courses.

Fall 2014: Character Developoment

Characters—including the people in the pages of nonfiction—grow by virtue of their choices. These choices arise out of values, context, immediate circumstances, distant goals. Memorable characters are shaped as much by their failures as by their successes. Fall term offers writers tools to discover and bring both broad context and intimate depth and detail to the people in their pages.

  • Wednesdays, 6-9pm
  • 7 weeks; October 1 – November 12, 2014
  • WWU South Campus (free parking)

Cost: $475

Winter 2015: Dialogue & Scenic Depiction

The narrator of any given work and the characters in it both require voice. Winter term offers writers ways in which to get the voices right, so they are genuine, and so that the dialogue on the page functions to further story and create tension. Scenic depiction is not set decoration. Vivid scenic depiction, is essential for drama, for the tone and mood, for narrative vivacity.

  • Wednesdays, 6-9pm
  • 7 weeks; January 14 – February 25, 2015
  • WWU South Campus (free parking)

Cost: $475

Spring 2015: Structure & Revision

Structure—that is to say the order in which information is presented to the reader—is a fundamental element of compelling narrative. The piece, whether book or essay, must begin somewhere, end somewhere. But in the writing itself, this can be a fluid proposition. Decisions on structure are best made when other narrative elements are at least in hand (and in mind). At that point the writer can make informed choices as the revision process proceeds. Revision is a multi-faceted undertaking with far-reaching ripples.

  • Wednesdays, 6-9pm
  • 7 weeks; April 8 – May 20, 2015
  • WWU South Campus (free parking)

Cost: $475


Textbooks

All three terms of Prose Writing for all Genres will use The Great Gatsby for the fundamental text. This classic novel lends itself to discussions since it is cast as a memoir, with a first person Narrator, its scenic depiction is exemplary and the structure, particularly as the book goes on, becomes increasingly sophisticated.

In addition to The Great Gatsby writers will be asked to bring in, and share verbally, their own favorite books with regard to Character Development, Dialogue and Scenic Depiction and Structure. We will also be using multi-media materials for some of our discussions.

 

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Page Updated 06.12.2014