Writing the Critical Scene
Location: Open Book-Loft Classroom
Day of the Week: Saturday
Time: 10:00 - 3:00 pm
Class Level: Advanced
• Regular: $87.50
• Member: $78.75
• Low-Income: $61.25
Story middles are hard to write. We often feel lost in an ocean of words. How can we get anchored? One way to do it is to aim at particular, important scenes that create big change for our characters. Aristotle called these scenes reversals. Others call them turns or a threshold passages. George Saunders calls them Matchbox Gas Stations. They give energy. They add accelerant. They make our work vivid.
The first hour of class is dedicated to understanding how these scenes function. We'll look at intrinsic goals and expected outcomes. We'll look at disruption. In the second hour, we'll deal with our own work (the class is best suited for writers in the middle of a project—bring what you're working on). We'll locate a critical scene, write it or re-write it. In the third hour, we'll workshop the scenes in small groups. During the fourth, we'll revise based on our workshops. And, finally, we'll do readings of our new work to the full group.
By the end of this class, we should have a great understanding of how to craft these critical scenes and, hopefully, a new approach for succeeding in the difficult middles of our stories. Bring a bag lunch; we'll break as needed mid-day.