New Winter 2020 classes

Looking for a writing class this winter, January 2020? I will be teaching three classes, each offering different options. Take a look. Recommend these to a friend. If you have any questions, please contact me at: (See below for the three options.)



  1. Winter 2020 Advanced Writing: Character

    The winter class will begin by looking at character, in both fiction and creative nonfiction, as simply a value mobilized by a “desire” to seek a “goal.”  We will next examine how characters, especially in fiction, evolve through the five-focused story structure. We will compare the amount of exterior action in scene required of characters in popular genres to the degree of interiority expected of characters in literary genres, including creative nonfiction. We will next explore subtext, the “thing beneath the thing,” (Corbett). We will “peel away the mask” that characters wear in order to explore their repressed desires, needs, wants, fears, and hidden secrets and the dark side of shame that often goes with it. In the same vein, we will consider how to use revenants to push our heroes to confront ghosts from their pasts. Next we’ll consider how to use iconic events dramatized in scene to strengthen story structure. Finally, we will talk about character “reversals” and the tolerance for ambiguity in literary genres versus the demand for closure in popular fiction genres.

    .By the end of winter class, ideally everyone working on a novel or book-length creative nonfiction manuscript will have had a chance to workshop up to 40 pages. There is no requirement that you work on a book-length manuscript. Stories and creative nonfiction essays and memoirs are also acceptable. We will hold one major workshop session in the final two weeks of the winter quarter. Those who want more feedback are encouraged to sign up for workshopping in the earlier weeks as well.

    Required winter texts: 1) The Art of Character by David Corbett, ISBN: 9780143121572; 2)  Story by Robert McKee, ISBN: 9780060391683; 3) William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life: Bookmarked, by Steve Almond, ISBN: 9781632460875; 4) Stoner, a novel by John Williams, the NYRB paperback edition, ISBN: 9781590171998; 5) Ender’s Game, a novel by Orson Scott Card, the 1994 paperback edition, ISBN: 9780812550702; and 6) Best American Short Stories 2018, Mariner Books, ISBN: 9780544582941.

    Recommended winter text: Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ballentine Books, ISBN: 9780345396815.

    Class meets: 10 Thursdays, 7-9:30 p.m., Jan. 9, 2020 through Mar. 12, 2020.

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

    Cost: $490                   


    To reserve a spot in the Phinney Neighborhood Center Winter 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.  Please send me an email at to confirm that you are planning to sign up.


    Thanks.  Hope to see you this winter.  Scott

    2) Winter 2020 UW Continuum Fiction Writing Craft: Novel

    WRI FIC 102A; Reg # 182310


    Instructor: Scott Driscoll          Phone: 206-782-8587               Email:

    Wednesday 6:00-9:00   1/8 to 3/11, 2020         Class Location: Gould Hall #435 (GLD)



    This ten-week course will be divided between part one, learning how to smooth out the prose in fiction, and part two, learning how to develop the structure of a novel or a collection of connected stories. In part one, we will explore how to manage narrative and psychic distance, make smooth transitions, and manage the use of fictional time. We will also review basic world building and situation establishment techniques, such as how to recognize and use an inciting incident to launch a story quest and how to present the world that has been thrown out of balance by this disturbance. In part two, we will learn how to structure a novel in five focuses and compare that to the circular structure of a myth-based hero’s journey. We will also learn how to develop scenes around iconic moments that manage the progress of your hero’s quest through increasing levels of risk, past a point of no return, to reversals that seem both surprising and inevitable. Working on a novel is not required, but, those students who do have a novel in progress should finish with a five-focus working plan for the structure of their novel.




    Points of View

    Points of View: the revised 1995 edition by James Moffett and Kenneth R. McElheny, ISBN: 0-451-62872-1; Story by Robert McKee, 1997, ISBN: 0-06-039168-5; Thrill Me by Benjamin Percy, 2016, ISBN: 9781555977597; A Handmaid’s Tale, a novel by Margaret Atwood, 1998, ISBN: 978038549818; and The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, 3rd edition, 2007, ISBN: 9781932907360.


    Students earn 3 continuing education units for this course if they complete the course assignments and attend a minimum of 8 out of 10 class sessions.  Attendance at all 10 sessions is recommended.


    Students earn 3 continuing education units for this course if they complete the course assignments and attend a minimum of 8 out of 10 class sessions.  Attendance at all 10 sessions is recommended.


    Texts are available for purchase at the University Bookstore.



    To register, go to the UW Continuum web page for writing classes,, and scroll to the bottom.



    3) Fiction III Hugo House Winter 2020

This class will build upon craft learned in Fiction II. Students can expect advanced readings, regular workshops, and feedback from their classmates and instructor.
We’ll look at each other’s drafts with an eye to properly balance the elements of story, such as plot, character, voice, and pacing, into a well-structured, thematically resonant whole that keeps the reader turning pages. As time allows, we’ll also examine published work that inspires and instructs.

Ten Sessions


Winter 2020 01/13/2020 to 03/30/2020

Skip Dates: 1/20/2020 and 2/17/2020

Days of Week: Monday 7:10 -9:10 PM

Member price: $414

General Price: $460

To register: contact Hugo House 206-453-1904

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