The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Original Image Credit: Troilus and Cressida, Act V, Scene II by Luigi Schiavonetti after Angelica Kauffmann

Building Compelling Scenes with Blair Hurley

Date(s): Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Location:
Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281 (view map)
Type(s):
Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre and Form(s): Fiction, Flash, Novels, Short Stories
Cost: $99 Regular, $79 Student

About the Class

The most powerful short stories and novels are built on a foundation of great scenes. Scenes convey the fears and desires of characters in tense, funny, wonderful real-time action — so why are they so difficult to write? In this class, we'll explore the 3 P's of great scenes (person, place, and problem) and discuss how to get in and out of a scene efficiently. We'll discuss the differences between scenes, exposition, and “habitual time”, and why putting emotional moments in scenes can provide poignant experiences. This will be a fiction discussion and workshop in which students will work in class on how to construct their stories more effectively. We’ll examine classic scenes from short stories and novel excerpts, including work from Denis Johnson, ZZ Packer, Graham Greene, Joshua Ferris, and others.

Meet Your Instructor

Photograph of Blair Hurley

Blair Hurley is the author of The Devoted, published by W.W. Norton, which was longlisted for The Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. Her work is published or forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Ninth Letter, Guernica, Paris Review Daily, West Branch, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. She received a 2018 Pushcart Prize and scholarships from Bread Loaf and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. She teaches creative writing at McMaster University and the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies.