In this ten-week workshop, we’ll commit to going deeper with our prose. We’ll experiment with a variety of writing prompts and exercises to push us past our typical approach to writing fiction or nonfiction. We’ll read a diverse selection of prose writers, identify the techniques they use to build such compelling worlds, and discuss how to apply those same tools to our own work.
The majority of our time will be spent in conversation, discussing one another’s work with an eye toward writing vivid scenes, crafting compelling characters, strengthening the narrative arc, and focusing on the rich details that make prose come alive. We’ll trade tips about how to establish a strong writing practice and find a community of fellow writers, and we’ll talk through a helpful revision protocol that will open up numerous possibilities for strengthening a raw, messy first draft.
Participants are welcome to workshop short pieces of fiction or nonfiction or excerpts from longer works. This class usually boasts a small core of committed writers who have been taking the workshop for multiple years, which means that you’ll walk away from the course with a strong community of peers working on similar projects, as well as thoughtful feedback from both the instructor and rest of the group.
Jessica Wilbanks is the author of When I Spoke in Tongues, a memoir forthcoming from Beacon Press in 2018. An accomplished nonfiction writer and essayist, Jessica has received a Pushcart Prize as well as awards from national literary journals such as Ninth Letter, Sycamore Review, Redivider, and Ruminate. Her essay “On the Far Side of the Fire,” which drew from a reporting trip to the Niger Delta, received a Notable Mention in The Best American Essays 2014 and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014, was selected as a Longreads Member Pick, and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA’s prestigious Literary Award in Journalism.