Whether you’re huddled around the campfire, composing an email to a friend, or sitting down to write a novel, storytelling is fundamental to human nature. But as any writer can tell you, the blank page can be daunting. It’s tough to know where to get started, what details to include in each scene, and how to move from the kernel of an idea to a completed manuscript.
Writing great fiction isn’t a gift reserved for the talented few. There is a craft to storytelling that can be learned, and studying the fiction writer’s techniques can be incredibly rewarding—both personally and professionally. Even if you don’t have ambitions of penning the next Moby-Dick, you’ll find value in exploring all the elements of great fiction.
From evoking a scene to charting a plot to selecting a point of view, Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques offers a master class in storytelling. Taught by acclaimed novelist James Hynes, a former visiting professor at the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Michigan, these 24 insightful lectures show you the ins and outs of the fiction writer’s craft.
More than just delivering lectures, Professor Hynes offers the first steps of an apprenticeship, showing you not only how fiction works but also how to read like a writer. Here you’ll find explications of novels and stories across the ages:
- Rediscover classics such as Jane Eyre, Bleak House, Middlemarch, Mrs. Dalloway, and others.
- Gain new insights into bestsellers such as the Harry Potter and Game of Thrones series.
- Explore the world of literary fiction, from Chekhov’s “The Kiss” to Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.
- Reflect on what makes characters such as Anna Karenina and Sherlock Holmes so memorable.
- Find out how to create suspense like Dashiell Hammett, George Pelecanos, and John le Carré.
Format: DVD | 24 lectures | 30 minutes per lecture
Your Professor: James Hynes
Professor James Hynes is a published novelist who has taught creative writing as a visiting professor at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the University of Michigan, The University of Texas, Miami University, and Grinnell College. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Michigan and a Master of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Professor Hynes is the author of five works of fiction: Next, which received the 2011 Believer Book Award from the Believer magazine; Kings of Infinite Space, a Washington Post best book for 2004; The Lecturer’s Tale and Publish and Perish, which were both New York Times Notable Books of the Year; and The Wild Colonial Boy, which received the Adult Literature Award from the Friends of American Writers and was a New York Times Notable Book for 1990. In addition to his work as a novelist, he has also written book reviews and literary essays, which have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Boston Review, Salon, and other publications.
Professor Hynes has received several literary grants and teaching fellowships, including a James Michener Fellowship from the University of Iowa, a Teaching-Writing Fellowship from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a Michigan Council for the Arts writer’s grant. He currently lives in Austin, Texas, and is writing a new novel.
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