Advanced Prose Workshop

Advanced Prose Workshop

Pam Houston
Week 5: July 9 to July 14
Time: 9am-1pm
Tuition: $725
Discipline: Fiction, Non-Fiction/Memoir
By Application Only
Registration Open
Workshop Full: Waiting List may be available
On-site Housing Full
Workshop Description 

In this workshop-focused class we will bring our critical and compassionate eyes to up to 5,000 words of prose (either fiction or nonfiction) from each student with the goal of making each story, essay or chapter the strongest it can be. We will discuss whatever elements can be improved to make a good story great: form, structure, character, dialogue, image, beginnings and endings, cadence, rhythm, emotional risk. We will discuss how to sink the story's emotion down into the landscape of the story and into the bodies of the characters, how to let metaphors dance between meanings like drops of water on a too hot grill.

The extra hour each day that FAWC provides, does allow ample time for general discussions about craft as well as workshop. One of the things we will talk about is the ever expanding gray area that exists between fiction and nonfiction: the fictionalized memoir, the autobiographical novel, the lyric personal narrative, and how we might go about deciding what genre best suits a particular body of work.

We will also do some reading in advance of the class: Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony and Paul Lisicky's The Narrow Door, and discuss those books when we are together. I am delighted to say that once again, (after missing out on it last year) we will have a unique opportunity to do a joint storytelling exercise with David Hilliard's narrative poetry class, which in the past has produced some astonishing cross genre art.

This class requires a writing sample for admittance. Please submit five pages of prose to prior to registering for the class. Your submission will hold a space in the workshop. You will then be notified of a decision within a week. If accepted, you will need to then register and pay in full to secure your spot in the workshop. Also, if admitted please bring to the first class ten copies of a manuscript up to 5,000 words, double-spaced, 12 point font to be critiqued in class.


PAM HOUSTON’s most recent book is Contents May Have Shifted (W.W. Norton, 2012). She is the author of two collections of linked short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat; the novel, Sight Hound; and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me. Her work appears in Best American Short Stories of the Century. She directs the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, is a professor of English at UC Davis, and teaches in The Institute of American Indian Art’s Low-Rez MFA program.