Want to Improve Your Writing??? Fall is a Gr8 time for Writing Courses

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If you’re looking for some great fiction writing classes here in the Seattle area, below are classes taught by Scott Driscoll, that I can highly recommend. Check them out.

  1. Advanced Fiction Writing: Story Structure


The fall class will be divided into three parts. In part one, we will look at how to bring drama into the real-life events that are the germ for many of the best stories (we’ll look at models from creative nonfiction and memoir). In part two, we will briefly look at non-linear or modular forms of storytelling (for those of you who want to experiment with plotless structure). In part three, (the bulk of the quarter), we will look at Franklin’s idea of the five-focus story structure and how to apply it in the service of organizing a novel. At the same time, we’ll consider Percy’s ideas for packing your stories and novels with more urgency and suspense, for trimming the bloat, and for pushing your characters to their limits while raising the stakes.


1) Writing For Story by Jon Franklin, a Plume Book, 9780452272958; 2) Thrill Me by Benjamin Percy, Graywolf Press, 9781555977597; 3) Narrative Design by Madison Smartt Bell, W.W. Norton, 0393320219; 4) Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr Scribner, 9781416573166; 5) Best American Short Stories 2016, Mariner Books, 9780544582897; 6) Oryx and Crake, a novel by Margaret Atwood, Anchor Books, 9780385721677; and 7) The Tsar of Love and Techno, a novel by Anthony Marra, Hogarth, 9780770436452.   Suggested Reading: Norwegian By Night, a novel by Derek Miller 9780547934877.

Class meets: 10 Thursdays, Phinney Neighborhood Center # 3, 7-9:30 p.m., Sept. 28 through Dec. 7, a week off for Thanksgiving

2)  Pop Fiction Writing: Foundations

UW Continuum, Fall 2017 Wednesday 6-9 PM, 9/27/17-10/25/17, five weeks

WRI FIC CP100 A; Reg #: 167105

Instructor:       Scott Driscoll

Phone:             206   782   8587 or E-mail: sdriscol@uw.edu

Location:         UW Campus, Savery 162


This course is designed to explore the craft of popular fiction writing.  We will cover story arc both as a linear quest for an object of desire as well as in the guise of a hero’s circular journey out from the ordinary world, through the ordeal, and back on the return. We will discuss character arc and how to use archetypes to strengthen character identity. We will also look at how to dramatize high points in your characters’ journeys through scene. For examples, we will pull form a number of texts, but our primary examples will be taken from novels chosen for this purpose. In the final week, all participants will be expected to workshop a chapter or an excerpt.


The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, Michael Wieseman Productions, 3rd Edition, 2007, Paperback: ISBN: 978-1-932907-36-0.

The Witness, by Nora Roberts, Berkeley Books, 2012ISBN: 978-0-399-15912-1.

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly, Grand Central Publishing, 1991: ISBN: 978-1-4555-5061-6.

The texts are available at the University Bookstore.


 Class Meets: Wednesday evenings, on UW campus 6-9 PM 11/1/17-11/29/17, five weeks in November

UW Continuum WRI FIC CP101 A; Reg. # 167107


This course is designed to explore fiction writing as craft.  We will cover points of technique, including: story arc (linear quest vs. round hero’s journey), how to introduce an inciting incident into the familiar world, point-of-view, character arc, and reversals. We will also introduce scene structure. In class, we will discuss readings, look at examples, and do occasional “sudden writings” to practice. You’ll be given an opportunity to bring in your own work for workshopping in the final week.


Writing Fiction: A guide to Narrative Craft, 9th ed., by Burroway, Janet and Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Longman, 2011, Paperback: ISBN: 978-0-321-92316-5.

How Fiction Works, by Wood, James, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.  ISBN: 978-0-374-17340-1.

The Best American Short Stories 2016, edited by Juno Diaz, Houghton  Mifflin Harcourt: ISBN: 9780544582897

The texts are available at the University Bookstore.

Winter 2018:

  1. Advanced Fiction Writing: Character


The winter class will focus on “character” and “scene.”  We will begin by reducing character to an essential value mobilized by a “desire” to seek a “goal.”  We will next examine how character evolves on the journey through the five-focused plot structure by looking at methods of character presentation in each of the five focuses.  We will also consider the role of subtext based on the assumption that characters arrive in stories with a history of repressed desires and needs. We will compare the role of character, and the amount of subtext required in the form of ghosts and revenants in popular genres to that in literary fiction. We’ll spend time walking characters through dramatized scenes.  Finally, we will talk about character “reversals” and how they might evolve differently in literary stories and in popular fiction genres and we’ll consider how to use scene to design story structure.

Runs: Thursday evenings 1/4/2018 through 3/8/2018, 7-9:30 PM, Phinney Neighborhood Center #3.


Story by Robert McKee, ISBN: 9780060391683; Scene & Structure by Jack Bickham, ISBN: 9780898799064; The Art of Subtext by Charles Baxter, ISBN: 9781555974732; Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose, ISBN: 9780060777050; The Art of Character by David Corbett, ISBN: 9780143121572; A novel or two (tba).

2) How to Build a Novel (and Write Smooth Prose)

Runs: Wednesday evenings, 6-9 PM, UW campus, 1/3/2018 – 3/7/2018, ten weeks

Course still in design. Texts will include: Writing For Story by Jon Franklin, Story by Robert McKee, Scene & Structure by Jack Bickham, and The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, Thrill Me by Benjamin Percy, and two novels (tba).

One thought on “Want to Improve Your Writing??? Fall is a Gr8 time for Writing Courses

    scottsblog13 said:
    September 27, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    The November craft class and winter classes are still taking sign-up.


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