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Fiction gives you the freedom to make up stories, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at your own life for inspiration. The writer Tim O’Brien says, “Story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.” You won’t just be writing “what you know,” but writing what you might discover—by blurring real-life experiences with whatever you dream up. Through writing prompts, we’ll mine memories and generate ideas from daily life, and, in the process, learn more about the craft of fiction.
Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour, a Finalist for the 2013 Oregon Book Award, the Lambda Literary Debut Fiction Award, and the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Debut Fiction Award. He currently teaches for West Virginia Wesleyan University’s Low-Residency MFA Program.