CW 47 W — The Magazine Story: From the Real World to the Page
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 20—Aug 26
Refund Deadline: Jun 23
Instructor(s): Michael Agresta
Class Recording Available: Yes
The magazine writer’s art is to fashion the facts of the real world into emotionally resonant stories that change how we think about ourselves and our surroundings. The seed of a story can come from anywhere—an emergent 21st-century parenting challenge you’ve noticed cropping up in your own home, the controversy over a new business or art project in your neighborhood, or how your city is changing in ways that relate to a national political issue. Each of these examples could be the basis for an article in an outlet like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Geographic, or Harvard Business Review, as long as you, the writer, can find the universal in the particular and tell the story in a way that draws in readers who at first might not care about the issue at hand. Your job is to show readers why we do care about the world—even its most seemingly trivial details. In this course, we will review a few tricks of the magazine storytelling trade, including crafting an appealing lede; mixing drama, background facts, and reportage; delivering on story arc; organizing sections; and crafting endings that punch. We will also discuss how magazine story ideas move from idea to pitch to finished product. Students should leave the course with a second draft of an article that they can use to seek publication.
Michael Agresta has written for The Atlantic, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Pacific Standard, and other publications. He contributes regular cultural coverage to Texas Monthly, where his work was a finalist for best column at the 2017 City and Regional Magazine Awards. He has also published fiction in The Southern Review, Boston Review, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. He has received residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Faculty, MFA Program, Western Connecticut State
Textbooks for this course:
(Required) John McPhee, Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process (ISBN 978-0374537975)