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On the Psychology & Passions of Characters: Creative Writing with Indya Finch (in person Session 2 22) is a Course

On the Psychology & Passions of Characters: Creative Writing with Indya Finch (in person Session 2 22)


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Full course description

There is a separate application process for this course. If you have not been accepted into the Iowa Young Writers' Studio Summer Residential Program you are not eligible to enroll.

Creative Writing with Indya Finch. On the Psychology & Passions of Characters

“We are walking wounds, but I am not sure any of us knows quite how to talk about it.” – Roxanne Gay

It only takes a glance at popular culture to see how obsessed with aggression we are. From action movies to police procedurals, revenge tales to true crime documentaries, we love to watch and consume violence. But why? What drives us so consistently towards this specific type of trauma? In this class, I hope to examine that question. I want to look at literature that examines specific types of pain in a “good” way. How do these writers share painful experiences, how do they share trauma, but also make bring us into that pain and make us share it without exploiting that feeling? During this class I would like for all of us to write with as much nuance and consideration in mind and have questions in the back of our heads about what we’re doing and why. It should be made clear here that over the two weeks of this course, you do not have to write about your own experiences or your own trauma whatsoever. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, and if you aren’t ready to. Of course if you are and you want to this class will be a safe space for that. This is not a course that is asking you to share your trauma or anything about yourself through writing that you are uncomfortable with. The object is not to mine ourselves for injury. Rather, we want to share our obsessions with the discomfort of the wider world. My main question for this course, and if you are interested then yours too, is how can we write about these dark macabre things that have always interested us, in a way that is not gratuitous, flattening, excessively triggering, and makes us connect and feel what that character is feeling? In other words, I want us to be able to explore the compulsion towards trauma, towards violence, and not writing it for its own sake but seeing it for the multi-faceted complex thing it is. We will be pulling from writers of all genres like Danez Smith, Carmen Maria Machado, Toni, Morrison, and Adam Haslett. So feel free to submit your work in poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. I will be providing content warnings each week about the material as it is needed.

Indya Finch is from rural East Texas. She received her BA in Film from Sam Houston State University and her MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she received the Truman Capote Fellowship. Her work has been published in The Oxford American and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. When she's not being a teacher, she loves to watch movies and refuses to stop talking through them because she believes movie watching is a communal activity. Her favorite thing in the whole world is her beautiful orange cat Pablo who she named after Pablo Picasso. They both live in Iowa City.




The fee for this course, which includes the fee for the 2-week session of the Summer Residential Program, is $2,500. 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: If you cancel or withdraw before June 1, 2022 a $100 cancellation fee will be deducted from your refund. Thereafter no refunds are available. 




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