University of Iowa

Clock and Camera: Immersing the Reader

Instructor: 
Weekend June 22 to June 23 2019

Plot and character may drive the action in most fiction, but time-management and “camerawork” are crucial for enriching the story and drawing a reader in. This weekend session is open to all levels, but will be particularly useful for writers who feel comfortable with the basics and are looking for techniques to make their storytelling more dynamic, dynamic because time-management and camerawork thrive on variation, as much as on consistency. At any point in a story, the normal forward tempo of time—maybe for a sentence, or maybe for a passage—stops (for a description of the mud room beside the kitchen) or rewinds itself in a blur (for a flashback of how the windowpane got cracked) or speeds up (for a sweeping summary of how that crack spread in subtle ways throughout the house). Likewise, a single short paragraph that begins with a bird’s-eye view of a city might zoom in and finish inside one character’s inner monologue. Over the course of the weekend, we’ll look at dozens of examples of both techniques and do guided writing exercises so that you can feel from the inside the textures these techniques create. Most importantly, we’ll examine how the two techniques influence each other—how time-management affects the camerawork, and vice versa. You’ll go home with the tools to make your narrator nimbler and your storytelling more penetrating.

 

In this workshop we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts.                 

Fiction
Novel
Short Story