University of Iowa

In Convincing Style: Prose Textures, Poetic Effects

Weeklong June 24 to June 29 2018

Contemporary fiction and creative non-fiction often leave the reader to decide what a story means. Think: complex characters, morally ambiguous situations, judgment-free (or unreliable, or multiple) narrators. Themes are suggested, never imposed; moral emotions are awoken, but not necessarily resolved. The modern reader wants to be moved without being preached at. Such literary effects demand a delicate coherence. In this generative workshop, open to writers already comfortable with the fundamentals, we’ll go beyond plot, character, and setting, to look at how style and structure can focus a story, steer sympathy, and subtly reinforce the ideas at play. We’ll experiment with different styles of narrative persuasion, including the effects created by blending fact and fiction; and we’ll draft passages and scenes that open interesting gaps for a reader to navigate. You’ll come away with new pages, the start, I hope, of future projects, and a greater sense of your own work’s potential profundity.

Short Story