What Will Make Them Turn the Page?: The Structure and DNA of Successful Fiction, Memoir and Non-Fiction (All Levels - Weeklong AM) - Les Standiford
The class explores the techniques of compelling storytelling common to all the prose narrative forms, whether true or fictional, with the aim of clarifying what it is that in most cases makes readers want to "turn the page." We will talk about what distinguishes fiction from memoir from other narrative non-fiction, do exercises, and discuss participant writing (whatever the genre) with emphasis on specific shaping and revising techniques, including identifying the "DNA" of the material, choice of the most effective jumping off point, pacing of the "dreaded middle," and the ultimate "closing of the circle." We will talk about Joseph Campbell and mythic/archetypal structure and discuss how prose writers can adapt screenwriting techniques for literary purposes. Ideally, participants will have had some workshop or classroom experience and a work of fiction, memoir, or narrative non-fiction in progress.
Les Standiford is the author of Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction that Changed America, a 2011 New York Times bestseller and a #1 Wall Street Journal true-crime bestseller. He is also author of Done Deal, Bone Key, and 6 other novels in the acclaimed John Deal mystery series, along with two stand-alone thrillers, including Spill, which was adapted as a feature film starring Brian Bosworth. He is the editor of Miami Noir: Stories from the Dark Side of Paradise, and is editor and contributor to the collaborative mystery novel The Putt at the End of the World as well as a contributor to the national best-selling Naked Came the Manatee. He has also published 5 works of narrative non-fiction, including Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean, now in its 24th printing. Booklist called John Deal “the most complex character in contemporary crime fiction,” and the New York Times has said of his thrillers, “each scene is little a little gasp for breath.” He is the recipient of Fellowships in Fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Florida Arts Council as well as the Frank O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. He is Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University in Miami, where he lives with his wife Kimberly, an artist and psychotherapist.