Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 2, Day 4) – The Art of Fiction
We began today’s class by freewriting and then read a selection from Sandra Cisneros’s “House on Mango Street.” We looked specifically at setting in this selection. Setting can tell us so much about a character’s history and personal goals. We examined the way the story would change if it was in the third-person perspective instead of first, which led to a discussion about the strengths and limitations of first-person point of view, along with second and third-person. Students then turned to their in-progress stories and played around with the perspective to see how their stories changed.
Next we talked about different elements of craft that we might look at during our workshops. Students paired off to come up with questions we might ask writers about particular craft elements (such as plot, setting, perspective, characters, etc.). We compiled all these questions and used them while writing letters to each other about our stories. After doing a mock-workshop on a story from NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction contest, students broke up into small groups and workshopped their stories, focusing on sentences they loved, moments in the story that were particularly moving, and areas the writer might focus on during revision, as they prepare to make their stories even more powerful.