Kristen Iskandrian

Building Memorable Characters with Kristen Iskandrian

August 7, 2021
11:00 am – 2:00 pm PST

Application deadline: July 24, 2021

About this workshop

When it comes to fiction, what makes a character memorable? How do we, as writers, access a character's essence, footprint, interiority, and translate it into language, so that they stay with us well past the page? How do we write the characters that we want to read, want to spend time with? In this workshop, acclaimed author Kristen Iskandrian will help writers explore a cache of techniques--object lessons, flashback, dialog--to develop or enhance their character-building praxis. They'll discuss emotional complexity and texture, the elusive concept of "voice," and the sometimes-trap of likability, and work to unearth a character's dynamism.

Kristen Iskandrian's short fiction has been published in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, McSweeney's Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, ZYZZYVA, and many other places. Her novel Motherest was named a Best Book of 2017 by Publishers Weekly, a "defining book of 2017" by the WSJ, and was long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She received her BA from the College of the Holy Cross, and her MA and PhD in English literature and creative writing from University of Georgia. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her family, and is the co-owner of the new independent bookstore, Thank You Books.

Application Guidelines

Please submit a fiction manuscript (short story, flash fiction, or novel excerpt) of no more than 1,250 words (roughly 5 pages double-spaced). Manuscript will not be discussed as this workshop is focused on craft discussion and generative writing prompts.

The non-refundable application fee is $15. Accepted applicants will be informed by July 31, 2021. If accepted, the fee to attend is $150.

Lydia Kiesling

Writing About Place with Lydia Kiesling

October 9, 2021
11:00 am – 2:00 pm PST

Application deadline: September 24, 2021

About this workshop

No plot? No problem! Approaching fiction can feel daunting if you know you want to write but don't naturally think in terms of inciting action or character development. As it happens, you don't need an elaborate story in mind to embark on a fiction project—a place (or a feeling! or an experience!) is more than enough foundation upon which to build character and conflict. This class led by Lydia Kiesling will focus on how to anchor a novel or story in place, feeling, or experience—guiding writers in the practice of building fiction around everything except story, and encouraging writers to trust their instincts and let their sources of inspiration drive the story.

Lydia Kiesling is the author of The Golden State, a 2018 National Book Foundation “5 under 35” honoree, and a finalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. She is a contributing editor at The Millions and ZYZZYVA and her writing has appeared at outlets including The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker online, The Cut, and The Guardian.

Application Guidelines

Please submit a fiction manuscript (short story, flash fiction, or novel excerpt) of no more than 1,250 words (roughly 5 pages double-spaced). Manuscript will not be discussed as this workshop is focused on craft discussion and generative writing prompts.

The non-refundable application fee is $15. Accepted applicants will be informed by September 28, 2021. If accepted, the fee to attend is $150.