Fiction Fluency Curriculum Part III

fiction fluency
Write deeper, write faster, write better. Discover how readers internalize story in heart and mind with Eric Witchey’s Fiction Fluency Seminars.

Fiction Fluency III: Building Stories from Character and Building Character from Stories

Controlling short fiction is a powerful building block to have as a foundation to building novels. Everything you do in a short story, you must also do in a novel. However, novels require a bit more. Short stories let writers learn faster, test technique more quickly, and build reputation. The previous seminars established creative habits, developed an understanding of how readers create stories in their hearts and minds from little black squiggles, built up a repertoire of story elements that can be combined in an infinite number of ways limited only by our own creativity, and built scenes that will allow the creation of larger works. The Fiction Fluency III group of seminars stacks up those building blocks in different configurations to create stories, short and long.

Seminar Eight: Controlling Story and Theme in Very Short Character-driven Fiction

October 10-11

We scratch our chins and ask ourselves if it really is a story or not. This seminar provides answers to that question. A dramatic story is different from an essay, a poem, or an article in important ways.

This seminar introduces control statements as tools for designing, testing, and revising stories. Initially, the control statements will be demonstrated in the creation of flash fiction of between 500 and 1000 words. The first four layers of vertical story elements will be reviewed and demonstrated. Discovery of character from text and application of character to text will be explored. Stories developed during the seminar will consist of dialectic pairs that create tactic groups, which then create conflict sets, which in turn combine with setting to create a dramatic scene. The revised story that results from demonstration of the application of the control statements will create a satisfying feeling in the reader by creating resolution that has thematic meaning.

Exercises will include exploration of character relative to theme and translation of the character/theme relationship into agendas executed and resolved on stage. Premise, Theme, Irreconcilable Self, EPST, and ED ACE will be applied. Seminar participants will walk away able to apply these tools and techniques to their own work. Participants will know if they have a story or not. They always know what to do when the answer is “not.”

Seminar Nine: Character Impact on Top-down or Bottom-up Short Story Development

November 7-8

Where to start? How to start? Having started, what comes next? This seminar answers these and other questions by beginning with a review of vertical and horizontal story elements.

We’ll discuss and demonstrate intuitive discovery of character and story. We’ll look at and practice the design process for character and story. A technique combining both and prototyping story for experimentation with scenes before full production will be demonstrated and used. Control statements, EPST, ED ACE, and character discovery tools will be used to create stories of 3-7 scenes. Several meta-descriptions of stories will be introduced, including act structure and the hero’s journey. If time allows, several full scenes from the newly created stories will be produced and, perhaps, revised.

This seminar will continue exploration of character depth and the interaction of cognitive and intuitive creative work.

Seminar Ten: Manifesting Character in Text: Voice, Tone, Distance, Subjectivity, Choice of Person

December 5-6

We’re sure it’s a story, but we aren’t sure if it’s good enough. Do we really want to spend hundreds of hours revising? How do we know?

This seminar examines existing, in-process stories and demonstrates techniques for revision based on intended or discovered themes, characters, and conflicts. The seminar demonstrates how to make choices regarding voice, tone, distance, subjectivity, and person both prior to composition and during revisions. The ripple-effect of changes and techniques for managing ripple effects will be demonstrated.

These techniques will be presented in the tenth session so that people who have followed along this far can revise existing stories and so that as we move into larger works problems can be anticipated and solved prior to committing hundreds of hours to a work in progress.


Eric Witchey – Instructor

Monthly Weekend Seminars Beginning March 14, 2020

Wordcrafters in Eugene Workshop
425 Lincoln St. | Eugene OR, 97401

Members $249 | Nonmember $279 per seminar

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