Full course description
In this course we will dissect and dismantle stories to examine the mechanisms at work in the drama. We will cover story writing fundamentals like voice and point of view and setting and character, but our focus will be on how these elements combine to create and forward drama in the story. We will be talking about conflict, about initiating it, about propelling it towards crisis, and of course about resolving it. We will talk a lot about actions and reactions, one thing leading to another and how and why it works. We will talk a lot about choices, about making them and then living with them on the page. We will talk about suspense and intrigue and keeping the reader’s attention. We will talk about all of these things in terms of how to improve and fine tune the mechanisms of drama within our own writing. How to handle that final scene with the loaded gun in the kitchen, etc. How to manage suspense without resorting to old clichés and over the top antics. How to write drama that engages the reader both viscerally and cerebrally.
We will read stories where things happen in the messy context of the real world. There will be arguments and altercations and accidents. There will also be love and tenderness and moments of profound solace. We will be reading a variety of stories as our models, all of them by living, breathing writers, participating in the literary conversation today. We will take them apart and put them back together to see how they work. We will also engage with each other’s work and learn from each other’s ideas and opinions. We will wrestle with the questions and difficulties inherent in the act of writing itself. And I promise that we will have fun doing all of this in a friendly and respectful classroom environment.
Scott Ditzler is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Capote Fellow and a Teaching Writing Fellow. His fiction has appeared in Crazyhorse, December, and Puerto del Sol. His articles and reviews have appeared in The Kansas City Star. Scott currently lives and teaches in Iowa City, where he is working on a novel about working on a novel. When he isn’t busy worrying about writing, he enjoys distance running and organic gardening.
REGISTRATION & FEES
The fee for this course is $575. Payment in full is required to enroll in the course.
Note: Your credit card payment will be processed by an external provider and will appear on your credit card statement as “UI Writing—Magid Center."
Cancellation Policy: A $100 cancellation fee will be applied to refunds for cancellations received by Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Thereafter, no refunds will be available.
Contact the Iowa Young Writers' Studio: firstname.lastname@example.org.