Time as a Tool for Tension
There are always at least two ticking clocks in fiction. One is the timeline of the story. The other is the clock on the reader’s patience. To get the reader to the end of the tale, the two clocks must interact successfully through a series of decisions to keep the tension taut. In this one-day session you will practice—looking to Joy Williams, Colson Whitehead, and Chekhov for guidance—the careful management of time to increase the tension and, therefore, power in your fiction.
Robin McLean was a lawyer and then a potter in the woods of Alaska before turning to writing. Her first short fiction collection Reptile House won the BOA Fiction Prize, was twice a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Prize, and was named a best book of 2015 in Paris Review. Her debut novel Pity the Beast, published in November of 2022, was noted as "a work of crazy brilliance" and a best book of fiction in 2021 in The Guardian, "stunning debut novel" in New York Review of Books, as well as a best book of the year in the Wall Street Journal. Her second collection of short fiction Get' em Young, Treat' em Tough, Tell 'em Nothing is forthcoming from And Other Stories on October 18, 2022. She lives in the high plains desert of central Nevada.