Fall 2017 Writing Classes

  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, 7-9:30 p.m., Sept. 28 through Dec. 7, a week off for Thanksgiving


2)  Pop Fiction Writing: Foundations in Craft

UW Continuum, Fall 2017 Wednesday

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.