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What's the Story? (Session 2, Fiction Writing with Carl Napolitano) is a Course

What's the Story? (Session 2, Fiction Writing with Carl Napolitano)

Time limit: 84 days

$575 Enroll

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.


Wtf is a story anyways? Good question. Iowan potter Clary Illian says in A Potter’s Workbook: “It would be nice to believe that pottery shapes just well up from within. Perhaps they would if we lived in cultural isolation…But we do not live in isolation, and once we have seen pots we lose innocence and begin to learn their morphology much as we begin to learn a language.” The same could be said for stories. Stories have shapes both physical (the words on the page) and narrative (the arc of the story being told) and writers do not pull these things out of thin air. Throughout our lives, we are inundated with stories from books, movies, television, news outlets, magazines, etc. and whether we are conscious of it, we learn the morphology of stories, the shapes they can take. Stories and storytelling are comprised of language, yes, but they are also a language unto themselves.


Great, but what is a story??? How do I write one???? You’re right, I avoided answering the initial question. Stories can be many things, can be told many ways, and we learn what they are by reading them—that’s all I was trying to say. In this class, we will be focusing on the art of writing the short story, reading stories by contemporary authors, focusing on various elements of fiction such as character, setting, dialogue, time, and voice. We will be analyzing and discussing these stories on a craft and style level and learning what makes them work and how they work differently. From these discussions, I will give you writing exercises and prompts for you to generate new story material. In workshop, you will read and respond to stories written by your peers. You will give thoughtful and generous feedback and criticism to help each other grow as writers. Together we will, hopefully, to some compacity, come to better understand what stories are and how we can tell them.


Carl Napolitano is a writer, ceramicist, and drag performer from Little Rock, Arkansas. He holds a BA in English-Creative Writing and Studio Art from Hendrix College and is a recent graduate Iowa Writers' Workshop in fiction. His work has appeared in Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, CRAFT Literary, and The Rumpus, among other places. He has served as an associate editor for Sibling Rivalry Press and an artist-in-residence at the Iowa Ceramics Center. He is currently working on his first novel, a literary fantasy queer coming-of-age horror/romance, and lives in Iowa City with his cat Sir.




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. 



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