For many writers, exposition is the easy part. But what about the stuff that propels stories forward: scene and plot? Readers need present action that they can grasp onto, and we will dive into the nitty gritty of fiction: getting your characters from point A to point B, and writing active scenes that engage readers while also servicing the greater plot of your story or novel. This class is for writers with past workshop experience, who are eager to refine their sense of narrative and momentum and plot in a rigorous setting with committed peers.We’ll discuss craft elements that relate to action and scene including dialogue, physical movement, chronology, and structure.
Students can expect weekly writing exercises, readings from contemporary fiction writers, the opportunity to be workshopped twice, and a one-on-one meeting with the instructor to discuss works-in-progress and writing goals. You’ll come away with more engaging scenes and meatier plots, transforming your stories and novels into captivating page-turners.
- A stronger grasp on writing active scenes in fiction
- Intensive peer and instructor feedback on two story or chapter submissions
- One private conference (via phone or Skype) with the instructor to discuss your writing style, goals, and areas for improvement
- The support of a nurturing community of writers and readers and access to an engaged mentor
- Greater familiarity with contemporary fiction writing
- More confidence as a writer, on and off the page
Mandy Berman was born and raised in Nyack, NY. Her first novel, Perennials, was a Barnes & Noble 2017 Discover Pick and named one of the most anticipated books of the summer by Vanity Fair, ELLE, Redbook, Domino, and many other outlets. She received an MFA from Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, where she is working on her second novel.
“Berman is at her most insightful when exploring the awkward unfurling of female adolescence. . . PERENNIALS is a sharp meditation on the changing female body, and the ways in which such changes are often involuntary and unwanted."
“Mandy Berman has remade the American summer camp narrative, ditching the usual clichés and getting in close with her characters and their various states of emotional and economic precariousness. PERENNIALS is a sharp, crushingly observant, and empathetic debut, full of wit and tragedy, and good for all seasons.”
“Mandy Berman explores an old trope: the magic of summer camp, a place separate from the rest of your life where you can become a slightly different version of yourself, a place where friendships run impossibly deep and romance and sex are innocent. But what happens when that divide begins to crumble, and real life, in all its moral ambiguity, finds its way to the heart of a halcyon summer? Lucid, psychologically nuanced, and great fun to read, PERENNIALS has taken an old subject and made it new.”
“Snappy and irresistible, Berman’s debut novel, PERENNIALS, takes readers back to summer camp, where her characters’ first friendships and treasons play out in sharp dialogue and playful, generous prose. Berman fearlessly renders youth and adulthood alike, in sentences you’ll want to savor.”
“Do you remember that youthful summer when ‘everything changed’? Mandy Berman sure does and her wonderful novel is a snapshot of that time and the group of young women who are irrevocably changed by it. PERENNIALS manages to be warm and loving and still wallop you with moments of shock and pain. What an exciting debut.”
“Berman’s debut, a winning, keenly observed, and clear-eyed novel set in a summer camp, captures the age when fierce attachments forged over years begin to unravel, passionate female friendships give way to sex, and identity seems to shift with the tides.”