April 2nd, 2017: Setting the Clock: Manipulating Past, Present, and Pace in Fiction, with PAMELA ERENS
April 23rd, 2017: Where Are You Going, How Do You Get There?, with ELISSA SCHAPPELL
May 7th, 2017: Dread: A Primer, with ALICE SOLA KIM
May 21st, 2017: Surrounding the Ghost, with SAMANTHA HUNT
The Tin House Summer Workshop is known for its lectures: brilliant, practical craft talks that hone our writerly chops and make us hungry to work. In this same spirit, Tin House’s Brooklyn outpost launched the Tin House Craft Intensives, a series of afternoon classes focused on facets of craft and led by Tin House editors and writers. Less lecture and more laboratory, the Intensives combine close reading, discussion, and writing exercises to study what makes writing work when it works. Plus, stay after the class for a look around the office a Q & A with a Tin House editor. Join us!
The Craft Intensives are held in the Brooklyn Tin House offices in Gowanus neighborhood. These classes are intended for experienced students and admissions are competitive; you will be asked to provide a short bio and writing sample by way of application. Each class is capped at seven students. The cost of each Intensive is $125, and includes a subscription to Tin House (or a renewal, for current subscribers). Final deadline is March 20th, 2017.
Questions? Please contact Emma Komlos-Hrobsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, April 2nd, 2017, 2:00-5:00
Setting the Clock: Manipulating Past, Present, and Pace in Fiction, with PAMELA ERENS
Often when we write fiction we proceed as if there is a primary story that takes place in “the present” which may then be interrupted with a limited number of flashbacks to give necessary background information. In fact, the best story writers employ more various and surprising manipulations of past and present (and sometimes future), but they do this so subtly that we don’t notice all the shifts. A few variations: toggling unpredictably between many different time frames; dipping into the past for a mere (but essential) sentence fragment; spending more time in the past than the present (not a no-no, contrary to popular belief).
We’ll take a close look at examples of gorgeous time-shifting in three masterful short stories, with the aim of becoming aware of the many possibilities for monkeying with time in our own writing. Might one of your why-isn’t-this-working stories blossom with a different approach to its time register? Please bring in a finished or well-along story that is bedeviling you, that seems to resist your revisions. You’ll be taking a fresh look at it and also we’ll generate something new in class.
Texts: “Work,” by Denis Johnson; “Royal Beatings,” by Alice Munro; and “Window,” by Deborah Eisenberg. *You will be asked to please read these stories in advance.* (They will be emailed to you when you enroll.) Don’t analyze anything about them, just enjoy them and jot a couple of notes about the effect they had on you.
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017, 2:00-5:00
Where Are You Going, How Do You Get There? With ELISSA SCHAPPELL
It’s ironic the stories that we most need to write, the ones that we alone can write, are often ones we are not writing. Why? The stakes are too high, we feel unequal to the task, it’s frankly too daunting. What we need are new traps. We need new tools, forms and narrative devices that will allow us to move beyond our comfort zone under cover of artifice, so we can write something true. In this workshop we will looking at a variety of work from writers such as Amy Hempel, Margaret Atwood, Joe Wenderoth, Padgett Powell, and George Saunders.
Sunday, May 7th, 2017, 2:00-5:00
Dread: A Primer, with ALICE SOLA KIM
Encountering dread in fiction is unpleasant yet thrilling, both sensations inextricably entwined with the other. Stories don’t have to be overtly horrific or supernatural to haunt readers, create a chilling mood, or create the kind of suspense that makes one eager yet fearful to learn what comes next—though of course we’ll discuss some of those too. Exploring works by Ben Marcus, Kelly Link, Donald Barthelme, Samanta Schweblin, and others, we will take a look at that which is unsettling, creepy, and full of dread in fiction, examining these particular effects and uses and pinpointing the ways in which it stems from form, character, language, situation, and so on. We’ll also do a few writing exercises in class to drum up a little dread of our own, or at least put some of our free-floating unease to creative purpose. *You will be asked to please read one to two short stories in advance of the class.* (They will be emailed to you when you enroll.)
Sunday, May 21st, 2017, 2:00-5:00
Surrounding the Ghost, with SAMANTHA HUNT
A generative practice perceiving meaningful patterns in random data
Apophenia is the mind’s desire to make connections between unrelated events. How can we use this idea to write what is unwritable? When stories are full of holes or faulty memories, trauma or the world’s unknowable wonder, this practice can sketch an outline/chalkline around the invisible, creating a pointillist narrative that is vibrant with synaptic leaps and air-borne connections. We’ll spend class time discussing a handful of readings and ideas while we work on creating both written and oral narratives.
PAMELA ERENS is the author of the novels The Virgins, The Understory, and, most recently, Eleven Hours, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by NPR, The New Yorker, Kirkus, Literary Hub, and the Irish Independent. She has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Erens’s essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in publications such as Virginia Quarterly Review, Elle, Vogue, The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Millions.
ELISSA SCHAPPELL is a co-founder and editor at large of Tin House, as well as the author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls and Use Me, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and co-editor with Jenny Offill of the anthologies The Friend Who Got Away and Money Changes Everything. She is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review. Her essays, articles, and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies such as The Bitch in the House, The KGB Bar Reader, and The Mrs. Dalloway Reader. She teaches at Columbia University.
ALICE SOLA KIM lives in New York. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in places such as McSweeney’s, Tin House, The Village Voice, Lenny, BuzzFeed Reader, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy. She is a winner of the 2016 Whiting Award, and has received grants and scholarships from the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Elizabeth George Foundation.
SAMANTHA HUNT is the author of four books. Mr. Splitfoot, a ghost story, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. The Invention of Everything Else, Hunt’s novel about inventor Nikola Tesla, was a finalist for the Orange Prize and winner of the Bard Fiction Prize. Her first novel, The Seas, won the National Book Foundation’s Five under Thirty-five prize. Her first story collection, The Dark Dark will be published in 2017 by Farrar Straus Giroux. Hunt’s fiction has been published in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Tin House, the New York Times and a number of other fine publications. She lives in Tivoli, New York.