Beyond Physical Place: Expanding Your Sense of Setting – synchronous, May 29 – 6 June, 2021 – SOLD OUT

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Course Description:

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.

Intro-Lecture / asynchronous – accessible on 12:01 am on Friday 21 May Eastern European Time (7:00 pm Eastern time in US, East Coast on Thursday 20 May).

Assignment #1 (synopsis & setting self-analysis) / asynchronous  – Students to submit by 10:00 am Eastern Time (East Coast, US) / 5:00 pm in Bulgaria on Sunday 23 May.

Written Feedback on Assignment #1 / asynchronous – feedback by the instuctor by midnight on Sunday 23 May Eastern Time (East Coast, US)

Video-Lecture #2 / asynchronous, available immediately after Assignment #1 has been uploaded or on 10:00 am Eastern Time (East Coast, US) by Sunday Sunday 23 May.

Main Writing Assignment (revising to enhance setting) delivered immediately after the second lecture on Sunday 23 May at the latest.

Students have part of 23-25 May to work on the main assignment.

Deadline to submit the revised draft (under 20 pages) is 10:00 am Eastern Time (East Coast, US) / 5:00 pm in Bulgaria on 25 May.

One-on-one on the first draft / in real time, On 26 May.

Revision – Students have part of 26-28 May to revise

Deadline to submit the second draft is 10:00 am Eastern Time (East Coast, US) / 5:00 pm in Bulgaria on 28 May.

One-one-one on the second draft / in real time, On 29 May.

Farewell message + list of recommended readings


The workshop is conducted with the support of National Culture Fund.