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

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 1—Jun 7
Drop Deadline: Apr 4
Units: 3
Tuition: $895
Instructor(s): Helena Echlin
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is April 4 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is April 9 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Spring
Date(s)
Apr 1—Jun 7
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 4
3 Units
Fees
$895
Instructor(s):
Helena Echlin
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is April 4 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is April 9 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. 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 will 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 course, 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 third course of the four-quarter sequence, “The Craft of Creative Writing: The Telling Tools.” The four courses focus on Description (Fall 2018), Character (Winter 2019), Scene (Spring 2019), and Point of View (Summer 2019). These courses are less workshop-oriented than most of our Creative Writing courses, instead devoting each quarter to an intensive and wide-ranging practicum in a key question of craft. 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 novel Gone and the co-author of Sparked. She has written numerous articles that have been published in The Guardian, The Times, 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) Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, (any edition or format) (ISBN 978-0812981223)
(Required) Jennifer Egan, The Keep (any edition or format) (ISBN 978-1400079742)
(Required) Tom Perrotta, Little Children (any edition or format) (ISBN B019L4KOYM)
(Required) Brett Anthony Johnston, Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer (any edition or format) (ISBN 978-0812975482)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)