Steering the Craft
September 8, 2019, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
University District, Seattle
“There’s no sea chart for a boat in a hurricane. But there are still some basic ways to make her seaworthy and keep her from capsizing, going to pieces, or hitting an iceberg.” Ursula K. Le Guin
Using Steering the Craft, Ursula’s book on writing, as a guiding text for the day, this workshop will focus on discussion and practice in the fundamental skills of storytelling — syntax, rhythm, voice, point of view, and the “expository lump.” As we work our way through five of the exercises Ursula created for her book, we’ll discuss the particular element of craft that each exercise is designed to practice, and read examples of it from notable writers (asking, as she suggests, “what is the writer doing, how is she doing it, why is she doing it, do I like it?”). And by focusing all of the exercises on a particular character or set of characters, you may come away with five (or more) related scenes and thus, at the end of the day, the rough beginnings of a coherent story.
Molly Gloss is the author of several novels including The Jump-Off Creek, The Dazzle of Day, Wild Life, The Hearts of Horses and Falling From Horses, as well as the story collection Unforeseen. She writes both realistic fiction and science fiction, and her work has received, among other honors, a PEN West Fiction Prize, an Oregon Book Award, two Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards, the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. Her story “Lambing Season” appeared in The Best of the Best: Twenty Years of The Year’s Best Science Fiction.