Whether you’re in the middle of an extended writing project, suffering from writer’s block, or gearing up for a week at the Festival, this course will offer you exercises to get your brain and your pen moving in new and creative ways. Participants will complete a series of writing exercises that explore the essential elements of fiction and nonfiction writing: description, structure, characterization, plotting/pacing, and so on. We will look at short writing samples from published authors to explore the ways in which expert writers use these tools, and participants will have an opportunity to share what they have written during class time. The exercises given can be applied to starting a new project, continuing an existing one, or simply doing some literary brainstorming, and participants will receive a list of additional exercises to try after the class is over. We’ll also have some discussion of ways to use exercises to shake up your thought process and overcome frustration with your writing, and of how to integrate writing into your daily life after you’ve left the warm embrace of the Iowa summer.
Anjali Sachdeva’s fiction has been published in The Iowa Review, Creative Nonfiction, Yale Review, Gulf Coast, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Literary Review. Her short story “Pleiades” was included in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. She is a former editor at Unstuck, a journal of the futuristic, the fantastic, the surreal, and the strange. For six years she worked at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, where she served as Director of Educational Programs. She has taught at the University of Iowa, Augustana College, and Carnegie Mellon University, and currently teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.