Monday, July 12, 2010

School's In For Summer

The original Grub Street

Today's the first day of the first writing class (out of many) that I'm taking at Boston's Grub Street this summer. All this week I'll be taking Unruly Fictions with Tim Horvath:

In this intensive version of the popular weekend seminar, we'll look in particular at works that have been dubbed "experimental," flagrantly challenging the conventions of narrative order and logic, cause and effect, plot and characterization, time and space. In several cases, they don't even look like stories. By trying out the exercises in this class, you will stretch yourself and explore some unconventional narrative modes. But this class is by no means geared exclusively toward those who already find themselves drawn to the literary avant-garde. The guiding assumption is that all writers can benefit from the ways in which such work galvanizes our minds and our pens, uncovering latent potential in whatever work we are already doing. By trying out everything from stream of consciousness to Oulipean games, montage to typology, you'll get fresh vantage points on your characters and storylines already in progress, whether in your mind or on the page.

Yeah, I have no idea what half those words mean, either. But as the week progresses, I'll try to tell you what I can.


ETA: If you're here because you saw my article in the most recent print edition of the Grub Street Rag, welcome! That article was summarized from this post on The Muse and The Marketplace... I hope you'll read the original version, and stick around!


  1. Chapter 10 of Cunning Folk. Also brainstorming ways to turn that Air Pirates thing into a YA novel without destroying myself.

    I really want to know what Oulipean games are. A google search primarily brings up this post and the place you copied that class description from ;-)

  2. I caught the Oulipean games in Vancouver last winter. Great stuff. But really, have fun with it.

  3. For some reason I picture this as a class filled with people who wear berets and smoke skinny cigarettes. I'll be very disappointed if that turns out not to be the case.

  4. Yep, the Oulipean games thing needs explaining! Have fun!

  5. Sounds like an interesting class. I'm challenging myself to write a short story a month - an idea I got from Jeff Somers - in addition to writing the second half of my novel. Don't you think short stories are the best for immediate gratification?

  6. The thought of galvanizing my mind is discomforting, galvanizing the will I write? It's not a pencil that can still function after you break it. I know, I've tried.

    At 0/60000 words, Chapter 1 and loving the shiny new idea.

  7. Can't wait to hear more about this. I am totally jealous. Is this internet based or classroom based?

  8. Working on:

    - Finishing Advanced Non-Fiction Proposal class, then pulling the final (hopefully polished) proposal together, researching agents, and launching it into the world.

    - Continuing brand new YA thriller, in conjunction with Novel in Progress class. One chapter and ~3000 words down, a lot more to go. But characters are springing to life and acting unexpectedly, so that's where I think I hit my stride.

    - Working on some short stories (though that's in theory, to be begun after the Non-Fic Proposal is put to bed...)

  9. Wow, so will you start writing stories that don't even look like stories? Wish I'd known about Grub Street when I lived in Boston.

    I'm putting the final touches on the first-ish draft of my first novel. And trying to decide which idea gets the honors for number two.

  10. Wow. I love writing classes!

    I'm working on the first draft of my current YA ms.

    Have fun with the class!