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EGL 65 W — Scene by Scene: The Building Blocks of Story

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 25—Dec 8
Drop Deadline: Sep 28
Units: 3
Tuition: $880
Instructor(s): Helena Echlin
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 20. Update: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 9/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 10/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Fall
Date(s)
Sep 25—Dec 8
10 weeks
Drop By
Sep 28
3 Units
Fees
$880
Instructor(s):
Helena Echlin
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 20. Update: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 9/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 10/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Do you have an idea for a novel or a work of creative nonfiction, but feel overwhelmed by not knowing how to go about the task of writing your story? This course will demystify the art of storytelling by teaching you how to write scenes—the basic building blocks of all stories, whether real or imagined. You’ll end up learning everything you need to know about writing a novel or a work of creative nonfiction, since a great scene contains all the elements of a great story. Each week we will isolate one key element of the craft of storytelling, looking at it up close within the context of a particular scene from a published novel or work of nonfiction. We will also practice that week’s skill in a scene-writing assignment. Among other things, you’ll learn how to create compelling and complex characters and show their emotions, write realistic and dynamic dialogue laden with subtext, build each scene toward a focal point or climax, and find the beginning and ending of your scenes. In the final weeks of the class, we will learn how to string scenes together to create a dramatic arc, and each student will create a short story, novel chapter, or work of creative nonfiction that will be workshopped by the group as a whole. Once you understand how stories are built scene by scene, writing a book yourself will seem much more achievable. This course is appropriate for writers of all levels.

This is the first course of the four-quarter sequence “The Craft of Creative Writing: The Essential Tools.” The four courses will focus on Scene (Fall 2017), Character (Winter 2018), Description (Spring 2018), and The Sentence (Summer 2018). These courses are less workshop-oriented than most Continuing Studies Creative Writing courses, instead devoting each quarter to an intensive and wideranging practicum in a key question of craft. The purpose of these courses is to give students a more comprehensive treatment of craft issues than might be found in other courses. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Helena Echlin, Author

Helena Echlin is the author of the novels Mr. Best Ever and Gone, as well as numerous articles that have been published in UK newspapers such as The Guardian and The Times, and in US publications such as Yoga Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle. For five years, she wrote the etiquette advice column “Table Manners” for Chowhound.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Jennifer Egan, The Keep (ISBN 978-1400043927)
(Required) Tom Perrotta, Little Children (ISBN 978-0312315733)
(Required) Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew (ISBN 978-0812981223)
(Recommended) Edited by Lex Willard and Michael Martone, The Touchstone Anthology of Creative Nonfiction (ISBN 978-1416531746)
(Recommended) Brett Anthony Johnson , Naming the World (ISBN 978-0812975482)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)