English CCDS. Scene Work, Dream Work: Fiction Workshop on Design and Structure of Narrative Scenes

Instructor: Nick White
Wednesday, 3:00-5:45 pm | Location: TBA
Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

In The Scene Book: A Primer for Fiction Writers, Sandra Scofield asserts that “[t]he scene is the most vivid and immediate part of story, the place where the reader is the most emotionally involved, the part that leaves the reader with images and a memory of the action.” This workshop will explore the elements of dynamic scenes: from lively narrative action to memorable dialogue. We will also study how to organize and structure our scenes within the short story and the novel. We will consult other craft texts on scenes and structure, including Jane Alison’s MeanderSpiralExplode: Design and Pattern in Narrative and Charles Baxter’s Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction. Additionally, we will closely read several contemporary short stories, novellas, and novel excerpts that will serve as model texts for how to use scenes effectively in our fiction.
You will write one flash piece and one short story or novel chapter (around 5,000 words), and both will be workshopped in class. Your final project will be a substantial revision of your short story / chapter.