My friend, writer Susan Coll, is hard at work organizing some great new courses offered at Politics & Prose bookstore. There are many enticing choices, but I must put in a special plug for this class taught by the super-smart Dylan Landis, which focuses on the excellent book Winter’s Bone:
CLOSE READING: HOW TO READ FICTION LIKE A WRITER
Monday, Sept. 26, 2011, 1-3 p.m.
A seminar for readers and writers. In this class we'll take the first chapter of Daniel Woodrell's gripping and beautiful novel Winter's Bone (Back Bay, $13.99), read it aloud one sentence or paragraph at a time, and hold each part up to the light. (It helps to read the chapter in advance; you may not be able to keep from reading the book.)
Close-reading is a slow, pleasurable, and surprisingly exciting process. It's how writers improve their craft as they read. It's also a craft in itself that can help a reader slow down at critical moments and appreciate more keenly how a story is made. Close-reading the opening of Winter's Bone, we'll examine how Woodrell establishes sense of place, conflict with nature and neighbors, ramps up tension, reveals character, anchors the piece in sensory detail, leaves the reader's imagination room to create the scene, and opens the door to his novel.
Readers will leave with a heightened appreciation for the craft of fiction; writers will refine their ability to learn from what they read.
Price: $40 ($35 for members)
Click for the book and to enroll.
Dylan Landis is the author of the novel-in-stories Normal People Don't Live Like This, one of Newsday's Best Books of 2009, and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
But don’t stop here! There are lots of other great options: British literature, journal keeping, memoir writing, and more. Check the Politics & Prose website for details