Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Writer's Center Classes & Katharine Weber to Teach Unreliable Narrators at Politics & Prose

Classes I am teaching this fall…come join me!

Flex Your Creative Muscles: A One-Day Workshop  The Writer’s Center /
4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD 20815
Time: 10:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M.
Date: 10/22/2011

Spend the afternoon doing a series of intensive, guided exercises designed to shake up your brain and get your creative subconscious working for you. You can come with a project already in mind and focus your work toward a deeper understanding of that—or you can come as a blank slate (that will quickly fill up!). Fiction writers and memoirists of all levels are welcome. Please bring lots of paper and pen/pencil or a computer with a fully charged battery. (1 hour lunch break)
Registration here. 


The First Pages: What Makes a Good Beginning 
The Writer’s Center /
4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD 20815
Time: 7:00-10:00 P.M.
Date: 11/1/2011

Most writers know that they have to “hook” their reader from the start of the story or novel, but how exactly do we do this? What are the elements that make a great beginning to a story or novel? You’ll find out in this workshop, as we explore ways to strengthen your opening pages. Everyone is invited to bring 15 copies of the first two pages of one of their stories/novels/essays/memoirs for some hands-on advice.

Registration here. 


This class at Politics & Prose looks awesome:

Reading and Writing the Unreliable Narrator
Katharine Weber
Tuesday, December 6
Morning session 10 a.m. - noon
Afternoon session 2 - 4 p.m.

Many readers have become intolerant of the unreliable narrator. Why? Is it because the less we trust politicians and the veracity of the news of the world around us, the more we demand reliability from the characters whose points of view inform our fiction?
Many writers have come to believe that writing the unreliable narrator is risky business. Book groups can prefer novels featuring main characters they would like to have as friends and members of the group, while turning away from stories told by characters they dislike because they "can't trust" them. Has unreliability become another word for unlikeable, and are we the poorer for it? 

In this two-part, day-long workshop, novelist Katharine Weber (and creator of Alice Ziplinsky, unreliable narrator extraordinaire of True Confections) will lead a discussion in the morning on enhancing the reader's appreciation of the unreliable narrator, and teach a workshop in the afternoon session on strategies for writing the effective unreliable narrator.

Morning (10 a.m. - noon) Reading the Unreliable Narrator
The discussion will explore a variety of unreliable narrators, with consideration of the tellers of Zoe Heller's novel Notes on a Scandal, Ian McEwan’s Atonement, and Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. What makes a narrator unreliable, what are the varieties of unreliability, how do we recognize the "truth" of the story, and how does the authorial voice differ from the narrator's voice?

Afternoon (2 - 4 p.m.) Writing the Unreliable Narrator
The advantages and limits of telling the story through different sorts of unreliable narrators will be examined. What succeeds? What fails? Why? Participants will experiment with brief exercises in narrative voice while considering a range of narrative unreliabilities, from the deliberate liar to the misinformed or deluded narrator, both of whom mislead the reader (how far can the writer go without cheating the reader?), to the deluded or compromised narrator who believes his own version of reality while the reader has growing awareness of the actual truths of the story.

Katharine Weber is the author of five novels, most recently True Confections (Broadway, $14), which features the unreliable Alice Ziplinsky as narrator. Her newest book is a memoir, The Memory Of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family's Legacy of Infidelities (Crown, $24.99). She has taught fiction writing at Connecticut College, Yale, the Paris Writers Workshop, and Goucher College, and is a thesis advisor in the MFA program at Columbia University.

Zoe Heller,
Notes on a Scandal: What Was She Thinking? (Picador, $14)
Ian McEwan, Atonement (Anchor, $15)
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (Vintage, $15)

Available at P&P at a 20% discount to registrants

Price: $40 per session ($35 for members); $70 for both sessions ($65 for members)
Click here to enroll.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.