Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 2, Day 2) – The Art of Fiction
We began today’s class with our first morning free-writing session, during which writers were encouraged to keep their pens moving across their page, even when they weren’t sure where they wanted their writing to go. Afterward, we finished reading Karen Russell’s “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised By Wolves.” Writers were broken up into groups and assigned sections of the story. After pinpointing key plot points and sensory details in their section, they put on a skit dramatizing their part of the story. We discussed static and dynamic characters in the story. Dynamic characters change in some way by the time the story concludes; static characters often don’t change very much, but instead serve as measuring sticks for how the dynamic characters have evolved and grown over the course of the story’s action.
After reading Russell, we read a selection from a novel by Justin Torres. We explored the way Torres moved from first-person plural to first-person singular over the course of his story to create a sense of tension and a “zooming in” effect in his story. We then came up with a series of groups and tried to do the same thing: Bringing an individual “I” out of a story that opened from a “we” perspective. Finally, we looked at some flash fiction and discussed the ways and reasons authors might alter the pacing of their story. We concluded that slowing down the pacing with interiority and description helped focus on the reader on important passages, while faster pacing was important when we were trying to move the plot along. Writers then continued to develop pieces to type up tomorrow.