Upcoming Fall 2019 Writing Classes

For a look at my two fall creative writing classes starting up in Seattle this fall, 2019, please see below.


  1. Looking for a fiction writing course that covers the essentials of craft? The UW Continuum Fiction 101 course that starts Wednesday, October 2 would be the place to jump in. We’ll look at story structure, point of view, world building, and character essentials in a manner that does not assume prior experience. This course is suitable for those trying fiction for the first time as well as more experienced writers wanting a refresh on essentials. Please see below for details:


UW Continuum, Fall 2019 WRI FIC 101 A; Reg # 182309

Instructor: Scott Driscoll          Phone: 206-782-8587               Email: sdriscol@uw.edu

Wednesday 6:00-9:00   10/2 to 12/11, 2019         Class Location: Savery 130 UW Seattle campus


This ten-week course is designed to explore fiction writing as craft.  We will cover points of technique and you will learn: how to do essential worldbuilding; how to establish dramatic situation using an inciting incident to disturb an ordinary world; how to build plot structure to a dramatic climax with a reversal; character development basics including how to recognize roles in the story’s culture; the essentials of point-of-view; and overall how to manage the narrative. We will read and discuss stories, and do occasional “sudden writings” in class to practice technique. You’ll be given opportunities to bring in your own work for workshopping.  In the final two weeks, all participants will be expected to workshop a story (or chapter).


Writing Fiction: A guide to Narrative Craft, 9th ed., by Burroway, Janet and Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Longman, 2015, Paperback: ISBN: 9780321923165.

Wonderbook, The Illustrative Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, 2018 edition, by Jeff Vandermeer, Abrams Image: ISBN: 9781419729669.

The Best American Short Stories 2018, by Roxanne Gay, Houghton, Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN: 9780544582941.

      Texts are available for purchase at the University Bookstore.


To register, go to the UW Continuum web page for writing classes, https://www.pce.uw.edu/courses/fiction-writing-craft, and scroll to the bottom.


2) Are you an experienced writer looking to improve your skills? My Advanced Writing fall class starts on Thursday, September 26 at the Phinney Neighborhood Center. The focus is on fiction and particularly on story structure in the fall class, but we also do a section on world building and creative nonfiction material drawn from life. If you’re a writer looking to improve your mastery of craft take a look at the details below:


Class meets: 10 Thursdays, 7-9:30 p.m., Sept. 26 through Dec. 5, a week off for Thanksgiving.

Where?: Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Room 3, Building A (Blue Building upstairs).  Call (206) 783-2244 for directions.

Cost: $490

Fall 2019 Advanced Writing: “Literary writers tend to…glut their fiction with interiority that interferes with the reader getting swept away,” claims Benjamin Percy in Thrill Me, “just as many genre writers tend to neglect interiority in favor of action. One is bloated and precious, the other swift but without substance.” The goal of the fall advanced writing course, which will focus on story structure, is to find the middle ground where the prose can be just good writing.

The fall class will be divided into three parts. In part one, we will look at how to do world building, both exterior and interior. This section will include nonfiction realism and fantasy worlds, and will look at the connection between exterior places and events and the interior life of the characters. In part two, we will look at non-linear or modular forms of storytelling (for those who want to experiment with plotless structure). In part three, (the bulk of the quarter), we will learn how to apply Franklin’s five-focus story structure to the service of organizing a novel. We will also consider Percy’s ideas for packing stories and essays and novels with more urgency and suspense, and for pushing characters to higher levels of risk while raising stakes.

Required fall texts: 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) The Worst Hard Time disaster history by Timothy Egan, Mariner Books, 2006, ISBN: 9780618773473; 5) Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer, Abrams Image, 2018, ISBN: 9781419729669; 6) Best American Short Stories 2018, Mariner Books, 9780544582941; 7) and The Likeness, a novel by Tana French, Penguin Books, 2008, ISBN: 9780143115625.

To reserve a spot in the Phinney Neighborhood Center Fall Advanced  Writing course, please mail a deposit of $50 to Scott Driscoll, 7716 Dayton Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103.  The deposit will be deducted from the course fee.  Early sign-up is encouraged.  Please send me an email at sdriscol@uw.edu to confirm that you are planning to sign up.

Please email me if you have any questions about either class: sdriscol@uw.edu.

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