Finishing Your Book (ASYNCHRONOUS)
This is a class for anyone struggling with a book. Although that first sprint of 50 pages into a book—either novel or nonfiction—can be very exhilarating, it’s hard to sustain until the end. Sooner or later, you’re likely to find yourself in a creative ditch, wheels spinning. We’ll look at when to revise and when not to revise; what questions are productive, and what questions are counterproductive. We’ll seek ways to re-invigorate ourselves for much more writing. This class takes place online through our partners at Wet Ink, and sessions can be done at your own pace throughout the week.
Peter Mountford is the author of the novels A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism (2012 Washington State Book Award in fiction), and The Dismal Science (a NYT editor's choice). His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Southern Review, The Atlantic, The Sun, Granta, and The Missouri Review. He is currently on faculty at Sierra Nevada University's MFA program, teaches at Creative Nonfiction, Hugo House, and is a writing coach and developmental editor.
Peter's former students and clients have gone on to publish numerous books and stories and articles, and include two NYT best-selling novelists (Tara Conklin and Rachel Griffin).
Teaching Style and Philosophy:
I believe the best I can do for students is help free them from the tyranny of talent and the whims of inspiration, which are fair-weather friends. Instead, I want you to hone your personal aesthetic, and to develop an authorial voice, and most importantly develop fluency with the elements of craft. One you can control what's happening on the page with ease, producing publishable work is no longer a mysterious fluke, but a familiar and non-scary process.
Feedback from students:
I took Peter’s yearlong course at Hugo House in 2019-2020, and I found him to be an invaluable instructor. His instincts for how good prose works, from craft elements to the realm of publishing, were instrumental in my writing career. He is an honest critic but an encouraging mentor, and I saw him provide acute feedback to short fiction, novels, essays, and memoirs alike. He helped me figure out how to risk sentimentality in my work, to push toward intensity when possible, and how to think about readership when it comes to where I want to publish. I cannot recommend him enough to anyone looking to get more serious about their writing.”
“Peter has helped me elevate the quality and power of my work through his exceptional craft courses as well as one-on-one coaching. He has an unerring sense of a story’s center of gravity and the structure that best suits the material. He’s the kind of merciless editor that any serious writer would value. Since working with him, I’ve had a story and two essays accepted by prestigious literary magazines and highly regarded essay columns. In a star rating, he’d get a full 5 from me.”