Winter Seattle Writing Classes: The Arc of the Story

Seattle writing classes: The Arc of the Story
Seattle writing classes: The Arc of the Story

The Arc of the Story: Winter Seattle Writing Classes

Readers crave stories. Structuring a piece of writing in terms of a story is the single most effective way of holding an audience’s attention. It’s the secret behind compelling short story and nonfiction writers as well as popular novelists like Stephen King or John Grisham and popular nonfiction like Eric Larson’s Devil in the White City or Lauren Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. These authors sell millions of books because they tell a good, suspenseful story. They make readers wonder, “What will happen next?”

My new winter class, The Arc of the Story, will teach you how to tell a great story or book chapter. We’ll start by sketching the arc of the story, move to writing a scene, the fundamental building block of narrative, whether in fiction, nonfiction or film. Then we’ll write a point of view exercise to discover the ideal perspective from which to tell the story, whether first person, second person or third person point of view. Then you’ll write a 1500- to 2500-word draft of your story or book chapter with a beginning, middle and end. After receiving a detailed critique, you’ll polish and revise your story or book chapter for publication. The final assignment, a publication report, will help you find the perfect home for the story, greatly enhancing the chance of publication.

The course will run on Wednesday evenings Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31, Feb. 7, 21, 18 and one Monday evening, Feb.12, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 221 of the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford (4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.)

There will be six assignments, including a 150-word story sketch, a 250-word dramatic scene, a 250-word point of view exercise, a 1500- to 2500-word story or book chapter, a revised story or chapter, and a 250- to 500-word publication report. In addition to the classroom work, I will schedule individual conferences with each student. This will give me a chance to go over your work with you one-on-one and suggest ways to improve it.

Texts: Story Craft by Jack Hart and The Best American Essays of the Century edited by Joyce Carol Oates, available at the Elliott Bay Book Company or other bookstore.

To enroll, please send me check for $625 to 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or you can pay with a credit card through the paypal link on my website,   Enrollment is limited to 15. The class usually fills several weeks before the starting date. For more information, contact me at or 206-284-7121.