Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Summer Writing Class

Hi all, if you’re in or near the Seattle area and in search of a good summer writing course, here is a good one from author and  instructor Scott Driscoll. Check it out;
Summer Writing Seminar: “The Importance of Value.” What will your characters do under pressure? How do you figure that out? How do you pass that understanding to the

Author Scott Driscoll

Author Scott Driscoll

reader without bludgeoning them with a club labelled: this is my value?

It’s commonly understood that a story worth the journey will bring your character to a reversal. “Reversal” means change. Profound change. Irreversible change. Paradoxically, change must be measured by something that doesn’t change: value. Value doesn’t change. A character comes into a story with a deeply held value, or set of values. The character’s relation to that value will either turn positive or negative, but the value remains constant.

How does “value” become predictive of behavior under pressure? A character is understood to be a walking bundle of desire, need, fear, an undergirding of repressed desire (subtext), and stakes (what is to be gained or lost). In this course, we will define how value interacts with each of the above five elements used to build character. We will examine each of these elements independently and consider tips for using this analysis to make your characters seem more consistent, authentic, and worthy of empathy, and to enhance your ability to predict what they will do under pressure.

Each week the syllabus will include suggested writing assignments drawn from What If (the 2010 Third Edition) designed to practice elements of narration. Everyone is invited to bring in one story or novel chapter for workshopping in the final two weeks. There will be time for one or maximum two pieces to be workshopped in each of the earlier weeks.

Required texts: 1) Bark Stories by Lorrie Moore, Knopf 2014, ISBN: 978-0-307-59413-6; 2) Return to Oakpine, a novel by Ron Carlson, 2013, Viking, ISBN: 978-0-670-02507-7; 3) Best American Short Stories 2013; 4) What If by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter, Pearson Longman 2010 ISBN: 978-0-205-61688-6 (suggested text); and 5) Everything is Illuminated, a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2003, Harper Perennial, ISBN: 978-0-06-052970-3 (suggested for optional reading but not required).

Class meets: 6 Wednesdays, 7-9:30 p.m., June 18 through July 16; final class Aug. 6.


Scott’s Novel

Where?: Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Room 6, Building A (Blue Building upstairs). Call (206) 783-2244 for directions.

Cost: $250

To reserve a spot in the Phinney Neighborhood Center summer 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 to confirm that you are planning to sign up.

Thanks. Hope to see you this summer. Scott


This entry was posted on May 30, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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