Everyone loves a car chase. Or an avalanche. Or any rapid-fire action that causes readers to turn pages at warp speed. But sometimes a narrative needs to get out of the express lane and allow readers to dwell in—and savor—the moment.
Pace matters when it comes to fully engaging a reader. As the driver of the car that is your story, memoir, or novel, you decide when it’s time to take a deep breath and slow down. Decelerating from the speed of light to a leisurely stroll, however, shouldn’t cause your narrative to stall. Quite the opposite. If handled correctly, moments of reflection, remembrance, decision-making, and flat-out awe can fuel your plot with greater complexity and your characters with greater depth.
The class will include examples of powerful moments from such writers as Emily St. John Mandel, Kevin Powers, Antonya Nelson, Tobias Wolff, Anne Enright, Joyce Carol Oates, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, plus writing exercises.
Before class, participants are encouraged to read the following two stories:
“Making Love” by Antonya Nelson
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson