Yearlong in Fiction
This yearlong class is open to fiction writers, regardless of genre, and is designed to help writers meet creative goals/deadlines, and provide feedback on their work (whether you're working on short stories, a novel, starting a book, or in your third revision). The aim is for students to be producing work that is ready for publication—many former students have published. The class uses an array of workshop and peer-review techniques to build fluency with craft—controlling narrative time, narrative structure, characterization, tone, voice, and point of view—which empowers writers to make intentional creative decisions (instead of feeling like you're being held hostage by the whims of inspiration). Students will gain control over the craft elements in their work so that they can more easily write and revise with intention.
Payment plans are available for this class. Please email email@example.com to get a payment plan started.
Guest speaker: Karen Russell, novelist and short story writer, MacArthur "genius" fellow, and Pulitzer finalist
Syllabus: View sample syllabus here
No class dates: 10/31/23, 11/21/23, 12/19/23, 12/26/23, 1/2/24, 2/20/24
August 7: Scholarship Donation Day
August 8: Member registration opens at 10:30 am
August 15: General registration opens at 10:30 am
August 21: Last day of Early Bird pricing
CLASS FAQS WITH INSTRUCTOR PETER MOUNTFORD
Who is this class best suited for? How much writing experience do I need to take this class?
This class is really open to anyone who is eager to commit to their fiction writing. It specializes in building accountability through regular deadlines, community (often small groups keep meeting after the class ends), and a strong foundation in literary craft.
What will I learn over the course of this yearlong?
A lot of craft tricks for making your work do what you're wanting it to do. Why does the end of this short story not work? Why does the dialogue in this novel feel a bit boring? There are answers to these questions and tricks for resolving them. You'll know the answers and the tricks when you're done.
What's the balance of in-class generative writing, lecture, and workshop?
75% workshop or peer review (though often these conversations are used to spotlight a craft question that is relevant to everyone). 5% generative writing, and 20% craft classes based around assigned reading.
How much time outside of class will I need for this class each week?
About two hours.
How much feedback will I receive on my work, peer, or instructor?
A lot. Because there are small groups and big groups, people who have a lot of finished work can end up having a hundred or more pages of work reviewed. Because of the way the small group rotation works, you end up getting most feedback from your group, a bit less from the instructor, and still less from the other 2/3 of the students.
Who will we be reading?
ZZ Packer, Lorrie Moore, Hana Choi, Karen Russell, Danielle Evans, David Means, Kazuo Ishiguro, etc.
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.