One of the advantages of this digital era is that we can turn on a dime, or more correctly, a pixel. Because Abigail DeWitt’s class at the September Table Rock Writers Workshop is already full, Dawn Shamp has stepped up to accommodate more beginning writers with a different course. It’s called DIVING IN: FINDING YOUR NICHE IN FICTION. She found hers, of course, in her amazing first novel, On Account of Conspicuous Women, published by Thomas Dunne.
Here’s the course description:
We all have to start somewhere. So we’re going to start where YOU are. You love to write. You want to write. But maybe you can’t quite wrap that short story or novel. The “haints” keep taunting: “I’m not worthy.” “I’m not able.”
Let’s take it from the edge. Bring your ideas to the mountain. Let nurture take its course.
Let’s play with possibilities, from defining success to divining your best as a writer. Novels are one thing. Short stories and even flash fiction are others (Hemingway is credited with these six haunting words: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”)
Whatever the genre or conclusion, fiction opens doors. Let’s dig in, share some writing, play with the basics — characterization, point of view, description, dialogue, dramatic scene. The building blocks.
We’ll look for places to tighten, perhaps expand. Places to strengthen both narrative and dialogue.
I strongly recommend that you read or re-read (and own) a copy of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.
I will provide handouts of works from published authors to propel discussion of craft. In-class exercises will help us identify language that weakens prose or gives it more authority.
Please send me up to 10 double-spaced pages of your work (flat, not folded, please) in time for me to have it by August 21 for my critique. I will return your work, along with line edits and comments, on the first day of the workshop.
Dawn Shamp is a fine human being, an accomplished writer, fine storyteller, and a humble teacher. Go for it, ya’ll! Please visit our website to register: http://tablerockwriters.com.