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5 Uses of Setting in Literature

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“Writing is hard for every last one of us. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.”
―Cheryl Strayed

In this newsletter:

  • An in-depth guide on setting in storytelling, from instructor Jack Smith.
  • RSVP now for next week's free reading, with poet and novelist Moriel Rothman-Zecher!
  • Good news from an instructor.
  • Browse our updated course calendar through October.
  • Join our Facebook group and share your craft with us, and find us on Instagram.

I hope you and yours are happy, healthy, and well.


Starting This Week

Deepening and Organizing Our Stories: Memoir/Creative Nonfiction and Autobiographical Fiction (October 6)

with Anya Achtenberg | 10 Weeks | $560

For writers of memoir, creative nonfiction and fiction, with some experience. Particularly helpful to writers in the midst of a longer work.


Writing Our Grief: How to Channel Loss into Creative Expression (October 12)

with Rudri Patel | 8 Weeks | $395

Writing about grief is a powerful healing tool. Turn pain into power in this personal essay course, with instructor Rudri Patel.

Personal Essay

Telling Your Food Story (October 12)

with Hannah Howard | 4 Weeks | $235

Let's write at the kitchen table together, as we explore using food as a lens to tell our stories.

Personal Essay

The Foundations of Poetry (October 12)

with Derek JG Williams | 8 weeks | $395

Discover the elements of poetic mastery: structure and form, sound and tone, image and metaphor, character and voice, and much more.


The Sixth Sense: Writing Horror with a Message (October 12)

with Giulietta Nardone | 4 Weeks | $235

Looking to write the substance of nightmares? Learn the ropes of horror writing in this spine-chilling fiction course.

Short Story

Crafting a Story or Novel Chapter Using Forward-Moving Tension (October 12)

with Sandra Novack | 5 Weeks | $275

How do writers tell stories with tension, action, and emotion? Learn how to write forward-moving tension in this 5 week fiction course.


Using Your Poetry Skills to Write Memoir (October 13)

with Freesia McKee | Single-Day Webinar | $89

How do poets tell their stories in prose? Take the leap from poetry to memoir in this hybrid writing workshop.


Browse full course calendar

Free Reading: Poet and Novelist Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Don't miss our upcoming reading with poet and novelist Moriel Rothman-Zecher, whose new novel, Before All the World, comes out this month.

On October 18th, at 8 PM Eastern, Moriel will be doing a reading from this novel and a Q&A afterwards. Follow the link below to register.

New Writing Tips

5 Functions of Setting in Literature

Tips on setting the stage for your stories, with examples from life and literature.

Read more

Congratulations to...

Instructor Susan Vespoli, whose poem "Letter to My Son’s Too Short Life" was published in Anti-Heroin Chic. Read Susan's poem here.

Congratulations, Susan!

Our Upcoming Courses

Browse full course calendar

October Courses

Dread and Desire: Gothic Fiction Techniques to Lure and Horrify Your Readers (October 19)

with Briana McGuckin | 6 Weeks | $330

This Halloween, learn how to write eerie, haunting moods in this comprehensive course on Gothic writing techniques.


Intro to Fiction Writing (October 19)

with Donna Levin | 8 Weeks | $395

What makes a good fiction story? Learn how to write compelling stories in this eight-week intro to fiction course, with Donna Levin.

Short Story

How to Firm Up the “Mushy Middle” of Any Story (October 19)

with Jeff Lyons | 5 Weeks | $325

Ensure a strong middle throughline for any story. Say goodbye to the "mushy middle," and hello to stories that work.


The Healing Power of Poetry (October 26)

with Joy Roulier Sawyer | 4 Weeks | $250

Poetry heals. Journey alongside several poets whose works resonate with a variety of healing themes, and learn how to use craft elements as healing tools.


Writing Mindfulness: Sensual World/Poetry Mind (October 26)

with Marc Olmsted | 4 Weeks | $250

A four-week class, melding the language mind with the sensual: How to turn detailed observation into a poem. With Marc Olmsted.


Graphic Novel Writing Bootcamp (October 27)

with Cristian Aluas | Single-Day Webinar | $149

Put pen to graphing paper in this workshop on crafting the graphic novel. By the end of the Zoom call, you'll have an 8 page graphic short story that's ready to illustrate.


Introduction to Writing the Lyric Essay (October 29)

with Derek JG Williams | Single-Day Webinar | $89

The lyric essay challenges us to tell authentic stories without concrete forms. Learn the ropes of the genre in this 3 hour workshop.

Personal Essay

Browse full course calendar

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