“If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.”
Laura Numeroff’s classic children’s tale provides a fundamental blueprint for how plot works in fiction — one event leading to another as the stakes increase incrementally. In this workshop, we’ll use this blueprint as a basis for exploring narrative possibilities. We’ll create writing generated from exercises that focus on sensory detail. We’ll harness a collaborative spirit to brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another, interrogate the psychic matter of new characters to discover how they might confront their deepest fears and desires, and examine the themes nascent in our early descriptions. Along the way, we’ll discuss what makes a narrative “work,” integrating the conscious with the unconscious as we connect the small picture of sentence construction to the bigger picture of overarching structure. All experience levels are welcome. Participants will leave with the arc of at least one story mapped out.
Sara C. Rolater is a graduate of Rice University and received her MFA in fiction at the University of Houston, where she served as an assistant editor in fiction for Gulf Coast and where she has taught composition and creative writing for the past seven years. She has also taught for Inprint and Writespace, and has been a fellow at the Writing Immersion Retreat in Bali and at the Byrdcliffe Artist in Residence program in Woodstock, New York. Her work has appeared in Ghost Town and Gulf Coast. This is her fifth year as a creative-writing consultant at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where she’s taught introductory and advanced fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, and textual collage. She also runs The PVA Creative Writing Reviewblog, where she and her students dissect different pieces of writing.