ONLINE CLASS: "The Secret Trapdoor: Transforming Setting into Story" ONLINE with Brittani Sonnenberg
In one of her best craft essays, Eudora Welty asks the question “What place has place in fiction?” It’s a question every fiction writer should ask themselves. Exploring setting can serve as a secret trapdoor to storytelling in a short story or novel. By delving deeply into where a story is set, a writer gathers crucial clues about character and plot. Because place is so evocative (think about why we send postcards, or what has made Instagram such a popular medium), nailing setting is essential for good fiction writing. In this class, students will discuss: How to choose your setting(s) How to depict setting in a way that captures a reader’s imagination and transports them to another place How to make setting work overtime (i.e., how setting can help evoke other fictional elements like character and plot) How to enjoy writing setting (hint: it’s the only vacation most writers can afford) Students will be sent a copy of Eudora Welty’s essay “Place in Fiction” before the class. Students should also have at hand samples of writers who they believe are masters at setting to class, as well as scratch paper for writing exercises. About the instructor: Brittani Sonnenberg is the managing editor of Tribeza Magazine and the author of the novel Home Leave. She was raised across three continents and has worked as a journalist in Germany, China, and throughout Southeast Asia. A graduate of Harvard, she received her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. Her fiction has been published in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008 as well as Ploughshares, Short Fiction, and Asymptote. Her nonfiction has appeared in Time, Associated Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NPR Berlin.