Giving Your Work “A Certain Shape” (Afternoon)

with Jess Walter


“I used to think when I was younger and writing that each idea had a certain shape …” — Anne Carson 

From short stories to films to epic novels, we’ll discuss and explore ways to give your fictional stories an elegant and satisfying structure, and to think beyond plot and “what happens” in your work. What are the most pleasing shapes for stories? How does the beginning foretell the end? What can we use from different genres to enliven our own? And how can we animate a story that feels dead in the water?

We will also create a new story, using a very short fiction-writing assignment that can help you when you find yourself stuck on longer pieces. And you’ll get to ask questions of the Structural Mechanic, who can help figure out that awful scraping sound in your novel’s plot, or why your story is so slow to accelerate.

4 Afternoons:  Monday 11/11–Thursday 11/14 | 1:30-4:30pm


In stock

Jess Walter is the author of ten books, most recently the story collection The Angel of Rome and the best-selling novels The Cold Millions and Beautiful RuinsThe Zero, finalist for the National Book Award; and Citizen Vince, winner of the Edgar Award. His work has been published in 34 languages and his short fiction has appeared three times in Best American Short Stories.