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CW 66 — Show and Tell: Mastering the Art of the Scene

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Apr 3—Jun 5
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 5
Units: 2
Tuition: $650
Instructor(s): Elizabeth Percer
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on May 29
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Apr 3—Jun 5
9 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 5
2 Units
Elizabeth Percer
Please Note: No class on May 29
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Show, don’t tell. All writers encounter this advice at some point, but few of us receive satisfactory explanations as to why and how we should show rather than tell, making this advice often feel more onerous than inspiring. In truth, at the heart of great showing lies the art of writing great scenes, which can be among a fiction writer’s greatest pleasures. In this course, we’ll take a multidimensional approach to understanding how to read and write the kind of dynamic scene work that forms the foundation of great fiction. We’ll read and discuss several masterful examples of this art, working together to reverse engineer the way authors such as Junot Díaz, Celeste Ng, Toni Morrison, and Markus Zusak use scenes to form the backbone of their fiction. As we do, we will study several of the most common features of memorable scene work, including characterization, dialogue, pacing, atmosphere, voice, and tension. Finally, we will be sure to generate plenty of our own writing with in-class and assigned prompts, and we will seek to refine that writing with a series of brief, scene-specific workshops that will include instructor feedback on your writing. Whether you are entirely new to writing or a seasoned veteran, come ready to play, work, and develop a whole new understanding of how you can get your words to leap off the page.


Elizabeth Percer is the author of two novels, All Stories Are Love Stories and An Uncommon Education, as well as Ultrasound, a book of poems. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has received awards from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund. She received a PhD in arts education from Stanford and a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Writing Project at UC Berkeley.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.