Writing "Truthful" Fiction
Dates: 6 Thursdays, Jan. 24 - Mar. 14, (No classes Feb. 7 and 14)
Time: 7 pm - 9 pm
Instructor: Lauren Markham
As readers and writers of fiction, we want characters and stories to come alive on the page. Fictional stories should feel immersive and true to life or, if we are writing more surrealist fiction, true to the human condition.
How do we make this happen? How do we build the worlds and characters of our stories, and how do we create circumstances and plots that are resonant and meaningful?
We will read master writers of the short form (Lauren Groff, Edwidge Danticat, Lucia Berlin, Clarice Lispector, Ernest Hemingway, and Paul Yoon) and study how they combine scene and exposition to breathe life into their stories. We will also look at how they employ structure to keep us reading along through what John Gardner calls the "vivid and continuous dream" of a story. Through a combination of readings, discussions, in-class and out of class writing assignments, this class will explore how we infuse our fiction with "truth" and bring it to life on the page.
Lauren Markham is writer and educator based in Berkeley who writes fiction, essays, and literary journalism. Her book, The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life, was published by Crown in 2017, and was the winner of the Ridenhour Prize, the Northern California Book Award, silver medal winner of the California Book Award, shortlisted for a Lukas Award and the L.A. Times Book Prize, and longlisted for a Pen America Award.
Lauren's essays and reportage have appeared in outlets such as Harper’s, Guernica, the New York Times, The Guardian, The New Republic, Orion, and Virginia Quarterly Review, where she is a contributing editor. She has published fiction in Narrative, The American Literary Review, and Drunken Boat. In addition teaching at Left Margin LIT, she also teaches in the MFA in writing programs at Ashland University and the University of San Francisco.
More about Lauren: www.laurenmarkham.info/about/