Three-Day Workshop with Anne Elliott: Movement, Momentum & Keeping An Agent Reading


Every writer wants to make something that their reader cannot put down. We might even want readers to go through an emotional change, as if experiencing the shifting world of the story themselves. But what makes us keep turning those pages? What makes us feel the impact of time along with fictional characters? What is the force pulling us from the beginning to the end of a story? This course will explore several theories and approaches to creating time and momentum on the page, with concrete and unpacked examples and exercises.

Session One: Off-Kiltering and Crossing Lines 
This session will explore the possibility that narrative movement originates in the shifting balance and friction of opposing forces. What is the border between two opposites? When borders are breached, we cannot move backwards—the essence of the causal plot. How does the writer create or discover borders between ideas, places, people, or states of being? How do we harness those borders to shape a narrative, allowing power to shift or balance to topple?

Session Two: The Perception of Time
One of the gifts of the page is that we can slow down or speed up the perception of time, jump into the past and future, or nest moments within other moments. This session will explore three components of time in fiction: chronology, pacing, and urgency. We’ll unpack story excerpts that manipulate time, slowing it down, speeding it up, mixing up the past and the present, or creating a sense of imminence, and consider where and why these techniques might be desirable.

Session Three: The Torque of Prose Itself
Some writers manage to pull readers through a text with urgency, even though nothing might be “happening” in scene. How exactly do they invoke that sorcery? We’ll look at examples of how sentences themselves—and their sequencing—can be manipulated to create forward movement and a feeling of change in the prose itself.

Anne Elliott is the author of The Artstars: Stories (Blue Light Books / Indiana University Press, 2019) and The Beginning of the End of the Beginning (Ploughshares Solos, 2014). Her short stories can be found in StoryA Public SpaceCrab Orchard ReviewWitnessHobartBellevue Literary ReviewFifth Wednesday Journal, Fugue, and elsewhere. Elliott is a veteran of the New York spoken word circuit, with stage credits including The Whitney Museum, Lincoln Center, and PS122.

Her fiction has received support from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Story Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Table 4 Writer’s Foundation, Tomales Bay Writer’s Workshop, The Normal School, Longleaf Writer’s Conference, and The Bridport Prize. She holds an MFA in visual art from UC San Diego, and an MFA in fiction writing from Warren Wilson College. She lives in Maine with her husband and many pets.

Full event schedule here:

The event is November 15-17. All materials will be available for 30 days for replay.

Please note that this is an event ticket only, and does not include access to our full library of classes. However, this product is included with Basic Membership, which is the same price. Scroll down to see options.

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