"Lynn did a really great job of instructing, guiding, suggesting, and forced or wedged anything into a place—the conversations were organic, sometimes livelier than I had imagined workshops could get, and always with good intention. She's great. Take her workshops.” - former student
So, you have the idea. You have the characters, the plot, maybe an outline, but what of all the pages in between? Or maybe you’re even farther along - you’ve got your story elements, dozens of pages, but no idea how to make what you’ve written read like a satisfying novel. In this weekend intensive we will develop the skills and tools to turn whatever you have now - from a half-formed idea to the first few chapters - into a finished book.
The weekend will be broken up into generative work on day one and structural and editing work on day two. On the first day we will analyze and discuss character, the difference between plot and action, and the balance between movement and stasis. We will refine and establish voice and authority in your work and set up a plan for the generative work still to come. On day two we will focus on refinement and revision. Is linearity always the answer? How can structure be a tool to help you tell your story perfectly? What does a refined version of your work look like? Do you overwrite or underwrite? How will you guard against this? How will you know what to look for in the fifth and tenth and final draft?
Writers will leave having generated new pages and with a clear vision and plan (along with the tools to deploy that plan) for the weeks or months ahead. Writers will also have the option of an additionally discounted full manuscript consult with the instructor when the completed manuscript is ready for fresh eyes.
Lynn Steger Strong's first novel, Hold Still, was released by Liveright/WW Norton in March 2016. She received an MFA from Columbia University and her non-fiction has been published in Guernica, LARB, Elle.com, Catapult, Lit Hub, and elsewhere. She teaches both fiction and non-fiction writing at Columbia University, Fairfield University, and the Pratt Institute.
“The workshop was invaluable in showing me that a good first draft is a fraction of the battle, that people who take the time to consider what you're trying to achieve and critique you on that end-goal are far more valuable than people who are looking to cater your story to their taste. Lynn did a really great job of instructing, guiding, suggesting, and forced or wedged anything into a place—the conversations were organic, sometimes livelier than I had imagined workshops could get, and always with good intention. She's great. Take her workshops.”
“Who do we blame when a good kid makes one disastrous mistake? The parents? The child? The bad influences lingering at the margins? Lynn Strong's captivating novel explores questions of blame and guilt from many points of view, all of them rendered with tenderness, compassion, and surprising humor. A little bit Lionel Shriver, a little bit Virgina Woolf. HOLD STILL is a terrific debut.”
“HOLD STILL is an unblinking examination of family, the mother-child bond, and the storms it must withstand. Lynn Strong pulls no punches in considering not just how deep, but also how misguided a mother’s love can be.”
“Lynn has an overtly powerful passion for fiction that gave way to inspiring workshop sessions. She possesses an expansive knowledge of the methodology of fiction writing, and provided us with techniques and tools that I will keep with me for all of my future work.”
“Lynn taught me the importance of keeping my characters on the ground, so the reader can follow their lives and struggles without getting lost in the clouds. She is also an excellent tuner of language, with a keen ear for both the clarity and music of a sentence. Her priority as the workshop leader was to pay close attention to what the author wants to accomplish with their story, and to help them discover the best way to achieve that, without imposing formulas or commandments.”