Fiction Workshop: Advanced Fiction Writing


Fiction Workshop: Advanced Fiction Writing


Level: Advanced

Instructor: C. Gregory Thomson

Location: Online
Duration: 8 weeks
Begins: September 30 2019
Ends: November 24, 2019


This class is for the student who has some experience writing and revising fiction. You may already be published or have submitted your short fiction to literary journals, or your novel to literary agents. Maybe you already have an agent. Moreover, you’re probably already on your way to establishing a productive writing practice. You might also have a work-in-progress to bring with you to class. We encourage that. If you took our Intermediate Fiction Writing workshop, then this is the next class for you.

This 8-week advanced class is for writers who are looking to better their writing practice and who have projects (short stories or novels) already underway. You may also start the course with a new idea or project. In this class, we will work toward your individual goals. The instructor will act as your guide as you move through the processes of ongoing drafting and revision. Many of the tried-and-true elements of fiction will make their way into these classes as we examine how to write fiction on a deeper more intimate level.

We will discuss ways that will help you find your voice, and deepen your connection—and thereby the reader’s—to the story and your characters. Craft topics include figurative language and language at the sentence level, word choice, playing with point of view, types of plotting, effective revision, conflicting wants in dialog, setting as a character, true characters, and ways to tauten technical skills. Elements of an effective writing practice and the business of writing are studied. The instructor suggests readings or books on an individual or group basis. Writing prompts are assigned to help you move below the surface of your writing, to discover buried truths about your story you didn’t know existed.

Students will have the opportunity to submit work for instructor feedback, as well as from other students in the class. The instructor will establish a workshop schedule once class begins. This class is geared more towards each writer and their individual writing goals. However, by the time class ends, you can expect to have a complete, revised (2nd, 3rd or 4th drafts) short story or the first three to five chapters of a novel. If you bring work already underway, your results may be slightly different, but they should be equal to these. The goal of the class is to help the writer take their writing up to a professional level—a level that will get their writing noticed. Like all Pen and Paper Writing Workshops, this class is conducted in a safe, nurturing and caring environment.

Class Outline

Week 1: Voice: A Deepening Connection to Your Story & Characters

Week 2: An Examination of Figurative Language & Word Choice

Week 3: Playing With P.OV.: Should You Change Yours?

Week 4: Plotting: Can You Tell Your Story Differently?

Week 5: Dialogue: Using Conflict to Make It Better

Week 6: Characterization: True Characters & Setting as Character

Week 7: More Effective Revision & Tightening Your Technical Skills

Week 8: Your Ongoing Writing Practice & What You Should Do Next

Instructor Bio

C. Gregory Thompson, a Pushcart Prize nominee, writes fiction, nonfiction, plays, and memoir. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Maine Review, STORGY Magazine, Writers Resist, Five:2:One, Cowboy Jamboree, Full Grown People, The Offbeat, Printers Row Journal, Reunion: The Dallas Review. His work also appears in the anthologies: Made in L.A., Vol. 2, and Writers Resist: The Anthology 2018. He was named a finalist in the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival’s 2015 Fiction Contest. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside/Palm Desert.


“C. Gregory Thompson's short stories are sharp and original slices cut from slightly warped, off-kilter worlds where the fantastical and magical often collides with the hard-bitten truth of daily life. It tastes fresh and fearless.”

Mark Haskell Smith, Author of Naked at Lunch

 “C. Gregory Thompson illuminates the complex lives of a wide range of characters with great empathy, wit, and eloquence. He knows how to weave a compelling tale and present our secret dreams with grace and power.

Mary Otis, Author of Yes, Yes Cherries

“‘Runner, Runner’ is a fantastic piece. It's the kind of profile of character and place we relish.”

Adam Van Winkle, Editor, Cowboy Jamboree