University of Iowa

Fear and Loathing, and Sometimes Even Joy: Getting Emotion on the Page

Weekend July 14 to July 15 2018

Strong feeling is often what drives us to write. We want our reader to experience the sadness or outrage, the delight or sense of betrayal we feel when thinking about a fictional (or nonfictional) situation. But how do we do that, exactly? How do we tell a story that’s not cold, but that’s not melodramatic either? This workshop will explore a variety of ways to get emotion on the page—through description, in dialogue, via what characters do, and in the way we use language itself. We will look at how a variety of writers have tackled this challenge and do some experimenting of our own. This class will be useful for both beginning and more experienced writers, but please come with a scene or short piece (or a couple) to work from. Then prepare to make your classmates cry, laugh, gasp, and maybe even tremble with fear.