We all know that feeling of encountering a strong narrative voice on the page. We are infected by its singularity, by its seduction, by its ruts and inconsistencies. But what, exactly, are the mechanics of a voice’s authority? As writers, how do we sweep up our readers inside the inexplicable, honeycombed mind of a character? What do we put in and what do we leave out? In this workshop we will examine a number of different narrators, delivered in both first and third person—ranging from the deranged to the conniving to the heartbroken—from such authors as Deborah Eisenberg, Joy Williams, Kelly Link, and Denis Johnson. We will also work on mining and polishing the narrative voices in our own stories through writing exercises and revision. Have a notebook ready! We will get our hands dirty…
Please be ready to submit a story you’re working on (12 pages, double space max) when class begins. Novel excerpts are also acceptable but as much as possible they should be able to stand on their own.
LIVE ELEMENTS: This class features an optional welcome session held on the first day of class, an optional closing session during the last week of class, and possibly other optional live elements TBD. Live contact will take place via Zoom.
Reif Larsen is the author of the novels I Am Radar and The Selected Works Of T.S. Spivet, which was a New York Times Bestseller and adapted for the screen by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie). He has a children’s book, Uma Wimple Charts Her House, coming out in May. Larsen’s essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, GQ, Tin House, McSweeney’s, Travel & Leisure, one story, The Millions, and The Believer. He recently founded The Future of Small Cities Institute.