The University of Iowa

Advanced Tools of Craft for Writers of Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Memoir

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020

The genres of fiction and memoir (including creative nonfiction) share a number of attributes, and the techniques and insights provided by one genre can be enormously helpful while working in another; exploring these advanced tools of craft will be the purpose and focus of this class. We’ll examine the idea of plot—a memoir, in addition to fiction, must have one, and you may be surprised to find out how much this has to do with structure, something we’ll also discuss. We’ll also take a hard look at point of view—who’s telling your story (even in memoir, this is an essential question). We’ll also focus on scene, discussing how and why this building block is so essential to all genres: the literary novel, the memoir, the essay, creative nonfiction, sci-fi, historical, popular, Y.A., romance, thriller, short stories and long. Building character is another area of craft we’ll examine; whether you’re writing about an historical character, an invented one, or about yourself, you need to know how to get that character across to a reader. Daily assignments, specific to your genre, allow you to apply these and other pieces of craft to your own writing; these will be discussed in workshop forum. This cross-genre workshop is a thrilling way to pollinate your writing; you’ll end the week confident about your writer’s craft and how to apply it to your manuscript.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; provide feedback on writing you produce in our week.



All Genres
Short Story