Full course description
This 2-week online course is part of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio Online Camp, Session 2, July 11-24, 2021. There is a separate application process for this course. If you have not been accepted into Session 2 of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio Online Camp you are not eligible to enroll.
A girl is walking through the woods to her grandmother’s house. Her mother has told her to not—under any circumstances!!!—speak to any strangers along the way. So she doesn’t . The end.
A girl is walking through the woods to her grandmother’s house. Her mother has told her to not—under any circumstances!!!—speak to any strangers along the way. But she meets a super-hot wolf. He’s pretty big and pretty bad, but he seems to really see her in a way that guys at school don’t, you know? So when he asks her where she’s going, she tells him. When he asks her about her grandmother’s home security, she tells him all about that, too, because it’s so cute that he cares…
Which of these is a better story? The writer George Saunders says that a tale as simple as Little Red Riding Hood shows why writers must “steer towards the rapids.” According to Saunders, “a story is a thing that is full of dozens of crossroads moments, and if we make a habit of first, noticing these, and, second, steering toward the choice that gives off incrementally more power (or light, or heat, or throws open other interesting doors, etc.), this will, over the long haul, make the story more unique, more like itself, more incendiary.”
In this course, we learn how to identify these crossroads moments and strengthen them in our own work—we will learn how to make our stories more unique, more like themselves, more incendiary, all by steering towards moments of conflict and tension. We’ll read stories by writers such as Edwidge Danticat, Alice Munro, Shirley Jackson, Wells Tower, and Mohsin Hamid and discuss point of view, style, setting, time, dialogue, plot, and the structure of all things. We’ll also write, write, write! We’ll do generative exercises, submit our own pieces for workshop, and work on developing characters who are complex and real—characters who will feel compelled to steer themselves to the rapids, and over them.
Gwyneth Kelly is a writer from Silver Spring, Maryland. Before getting her MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop she studied at Northwestern University and University College London. In 2020 she was a University of Iowa Writers’ Room Fellow. Her work has appeared in the Barcelona Review, The Washington Post, The American Scholar, and The New Republic, where she was a Reporter-Researcher. Her stories, scripts, and novel-in-progress tend to feature a lot of sisters, ghosts, outlaws, myths, weird history, and questions of class and the patriarchy. She is still chasing the high of placing 52nd in the National School Scrabble Championships when she was in 6th grade.
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.