WHAT IS IT
Stephen King, a master of tension, argues that “a good writer does not engage readers with action, but with his own voice”. On the other hand, George Saunders, a master of style states that “the reader comes into contact with the character’s essence primarily through what he is doing, or tries to do”. They are both right, there is no magic ingredient to draw the reader in. Usually, a story that is engaging proves that all of its components are in harmony.
There is also a (wrong) belief that an author should guide his readers through the labyrinth he has designed for them. However, engaged readers are first and foremost active readers: the most passionate stories are those that play with the unspoken, stimulating readers to fill in the blanks, and above all, giving them the responsibility to reconstruct the world into which they have been immersed.
How do you write a story that engages readers while respecting them, prompting them to ask questions and remain watchful, without ever having the impression of having their knees under a school bench?
We will begin by talking about some basic mechanisms of storytelling, such as the elements of anticipation, investing emotionally in the characters, the timing of the narrative and staging the scenes, in order to understand how they contribute to creating narrative tension.
We will look at the very different authors’ works (both literary and genre fiction authors) and then learn how to invent characters who are capable of warranting conflict, how to design the narrative structure and how to develop a story as solid and centralising as possible.
Since technique alone does not suffice to create narrative tension, authors must also learn how to bring out their own voices, musicality, and rhythm. Everyone will be committed to finding their own pace, from constructing an effective opening to editing individual chapters, until they have written a complete story.
Lessons will start in September and will last three months.
How does Classi-fy work?
You’ll have to follow a weekly timetable of appointments, which can be video lessons or notes to read. You’ll have deadlines to write and share your homework on Classi-fy website. You’ll read what your classmates write and you’ll be able to comment or receive feedback on what you write. You’ll be able to meet each other and talk about the lessons on the forum – ok, we already know you won’t only talk about that, but that’s part of the fun. Sometimes your teacher will post a video in which he publicly analyses the work of the class, but you’ll receive your personal evaluation also from your classmates, during the debate.
What are the technical skill necessary to take part to the course? Do I have to install a special program on my computer?
You’ll mainly work online, therefore all you need is the internet connection. On Classi-fy website you can share your documents, watch the video lessons, download teaching material and text your classmates.
What does it happen at the end of the course?
The class will come to Scuola Holden, in Turin, in order to attend the final lesson and collect your diploma. Eventually you’ll meet everyone and, if everything is right, you’ll have a beer together in Borgo Dora to celebrate.