The ticking clock, the switchback, the speeding bullet… Writers are peddlers of fake time.
In this fun, exercise-based workshop, we’ll cover the full craft menu of narrative hydraulics as described by Jane Alison: gap, summary, scene, dilation, and pause. We’ll go over the meat and potatoes of triggering flashbacks and returning readers safely to the present. We’ll practice an Alice Munro-style flashforward ending, and we’ll attempt extreme slo-mo like in Tobias Wolff’s famous “Bullet in the Brain.” Readers don’t get invested unless they believe the clock is ticking—whether there is a bomb under the table, or a character simply wants to graduate from Clown College, or find God, or is otherwise enmeshed in the ordinary/extraordinary horrors and pleasures of life as a sack of organs and bones with an expiration date.
Each week, every workshop member will turn in scenes or fragments that take on the techniques of the reading which will be micro-shared as time allows. You may choose to work into your novel/project or treat the exercise as a kernel for a longer piece. The instructor will also meet with everyone for a private conference about their writing.
Trigger warning: Some readings may be visceral, disturbing, or violate the social contract.
NOTE: No class on November 21.
Clemintine Guirado has published short stories in Masters Review, Best New American Voices, Rainbow Curve, Comet Magazine, and 580 Split. Her short story "Above Asmara" won a Robie McCauley Award from StoryQuarterly and was subsequently included as a Special Mention in the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She is a former Wallace Stegner Fiction Fellow, a University of Wisconsin Fiction Fellow, and has taught creative writing for over twenty years in universities, haunted beach motels, a trailer with a multi-dimensional portal.