Fiction | Master Class

1-Day Fiction Master Class: Using Research as Inspiration

Research is one of the most inscrutable aspects of craft: we see its residue on the page, but we rarely access the wide range of sources a writer has consulted on her way to a story. How does one commence research for a novel or story? What kinds of sources--historical, oral, audiovisual--are most emotionally stirring for the writer? And how much research does one need to do anyway? In this master class, we'll look at the ways research can be both a source of inspiration and a way of imparting an extra dose of "reality" to our fictional narratives.


- A deeper understanding of how to prioritize quality of research over sheer volume

- A discussion of overlooked or undervalued sources of research material

- Thinking through the ethics of research -- and of "using" material and stories that aren't your own

- Considering the many ways research is deployed in a work of fiction

Karan Mahajan

Karan Mahajan is the author of Family Planning, a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and The Association of Small Bombs, which was shortlisted for the 2016 National Book Awards, won the 2017 NYPL Young Lions Award, and was named one of the New York Times Book Review's "Ten Best Books of 2016." In 2017, he was selected as one of Granta's "Best of Young American Novelists." His essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker Online, n+1, The New Republic, and other venues.