The easy temptation when one thinks about setting is to equate it with physical place alone. But this habit deprives you of a potentially much richer resource: the culture, psychology, and history of the places where you set your tales. Increasing your awareness of the aspects of setting that lie beneath physical place helps you develop a more nuanced, expressive sense of how setting works to fuel narratives and character development. This workshop will introduce you to strategies for developing your fictional (and non-fictional) settings—whether invented worlds or those right around the corner. Workshop participants will write some new work, but should plan to focus on an existing work-in-progress with a setting they feel needs development. The goal of this course is to take an existing work (or excerpt under 20 pages) and deepen it through increased attention to both physical and sociocultural setting. If you do not have an existing piece to work with, please contact the instructor immediately.
Age: For writers age 18+
About the instructor:
Steven Wingate is the author of the novels The Leave-Takers (2021) and Of Fathers and Fire (2019), both part of the Flyover Fiction Series from the University of Nebraska Press. His short story collection Wifeshopping (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008), won the Bakeless Prize in Fiction from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His experimental work includes the prose poem collection Thirty-One Octets (CW Books, 2014) and the digital interactive memoir daddylabyrinth, which premiered at the Art/Science Museum of Singapore in 2014. He has taught at the University of Colorado, the College of the Holy Cross, and South Dakota State University, where he is currently associate professor of English.
Main Writing Assignment
Farewell message + list of recommended readings