Course Catalog

Time as a Tool for Tension

All Levels | 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: where to compress time for best effect, where to expand it, where to jump ahead or back. 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.

Beginning Fall 2021, we will be adding select in-person classes back to our course catalog. The majority of our classes will still be offered via Zoom.

If a class says IN-PERSON in its title, it will take place in person at our permanent home in Seattle.

If a class says ASYNCHRONOUS in its title, it will take place on Wet Ink, our asynchronous learning platform.

If a class does not have a marker after its title, it will take place via Zoom.

Instructor: Robin Mclean

Class Type: 1 Session

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Term: Spring 2021

Start Date: 06/13/2021

Days of the Week: Sunday

Time: 1:10 pm – 4:10 pm PDT

Minimum Class Size: 5

Maximum Class Size: 15

$81.00 Member Price:
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$90.00 General Price:

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Robin Mclean

Robin McLean was a lawyer and then a potter for 15 years in the woods of Alaska before receiving her MFA at UMass Amherst in Massachusetts. Her first short story collection Reptile House won the 2013 BOA Editions Fiction Prize and was published in May 2015. The collection was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Short Story Prize in 2011 and 2012. McLean’s stories have appeared widely in such places as The Cincinnati Review, Carve, The Common, Copper Nickel, and many others.

Her debut novel and second story collection are forthcoming from And Other Stories.

A figure skater first—having learned to skate and walk at the same time—McLean believes that crashing on ice prepared her for writing fiction. Besides writing, her careers and interests have been diverse: pushcart hotdog sales, lawyer and mediator, potter and tile maker, political activist, union organizer, sculptor, haunted corn maze manager as well as zombie trainer.

She taught writing for 7 years at Clark University. She now lives and teaches in the high plains desert of central Nevada at Ike's Canyon Ranch Writer's Retreat, which she co-founded.

She also teaches on Zoom at The Loft in Minneapolis, Love Street Writers of Melbourne, Australia.

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