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Summer Writing Retreat: “Exploration & Generation: Playing with Fiction Fundamentals” with Charlotte Gullick

July 6, 2021 - July 27, 2021

$289.00 – $409.00


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Level 1 (Class Only): $289 for Members, $349 for Non-Members

Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation): $349 for Members, $409 for Non-Members

This July, join us for our virtual 2021 Summer Writing Retreat featuring three classes on memoir, fiction, and revision. Each class will meet weekly for four weeks, starting the week of July 5.

Our fiction class with Charlotte Gullick will meet every Tuesday (July 6, 13, 20, 27) from 6:30 PM CDT to 9:30 PM CDT via Zoom. A recording of each class session will be shared with all class registrants the day after – so you won’t miss anything even if you need to skip a session. Class details are below.

Registration for this class will close at 5:00 PM CDT on Tuesday, July 6. 

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E. L. Doctorow

Whether you’re writing novels or short stories, there are certain craft elements that are essential; they are the headlights leading you forward on that (sometimes) dark road. In this class, we will focus on the fundamentals of fiction that will get you to the end, including plot, characterization, dialogue, setting, and analogy.

Over the course of four sessions, we’ll generate new material during in-class writing exercises. There will be plenty of opportunities for discussion and participation, with breakout rooms that allow participants to connect with each other, get energized, and build community and confidence.

There will be assigned readings throughout the month and each week there will be an assignment in response to that week’s reading, thinking about character development, plot, and surprise. Assigned readings will include work by Danielle Evans, Stephen Graham Jones, N. K. Jemisin, and Caroline Kim.

About each session: 

Week 1 (July 6): Play and Practice, Conflict and Tension: In this first session, we will engage in lots of activities that foster joy and a sense of play in our work. We’ll generate material that surprises, with a sharp focus on the power of scene and causality.

Week 2 (July 13): Character Desire and Plot: In this second session, we’ll dive into the key relationship between character desire and plot. Discussion and writing exercises will highlight the ways character goals determine the quality of the story.

Week 3 (July 20): Setting, Dialogue, and Analogy: In this third session, we’ll explore the power of setting, the fundamentals of dialogue, and the potency of analogy to generate lively, first-draft material.

Week 4 (July 27): Habits and Practices; Tips and Tricks to Keep You Going: In the final session, we’ll define the path forward by discussing concrete steps to keep going. We’ll play with practices and patterns to maintain momentum and joy.

Take this class if…:

Take this class if you are a beginner looking to build your understanding of the discrete elements of compelling fiction. If you are a more established writer, this class will re-energize your writing life. The course is appropriate for both short story writers and novelists.

Preparation for the first day:

Participants will be asked to read two short stories and two excerpts from the novel Less by Andrew Sean Greer prior to the first day of class.

Registration details:

Choose your registration level:

Level 1 (Class Only) or

Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation)

The difference: Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation) registrations include one 20-minute meeting with Charlotte Gullick sometime during the month (via Zoom). If you’d like, you can also share 10 pages of your work for feedback ahead of the meeting.

Featured Presenter(s)

Charlotte Gullick is a novelist, essayist, editor, and educator. She is a first generation college graduate and holds a MA in Creative Nonfiction (Institute of American Indian Arts) and a MA in English/Creative Writing (UC Davis). Her nonfiction has appeared in The Rumpus, Brevity, The Best of Brevity, Pembroke, Dogwood, Barnstorm Journal, and the LA Review. Her other awards include a Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship, a Colorado Council on the Arts Poetry Fellowship, Grand Prize from the Santa Fe Writers Project, residencies at MacDowell Colony and Ragdale, the Evergreen State College 2012 Teacher Excellence Award, and the Gold Star for Teaching and Mentorship from American Short Fiction.  


July 6, 2021
July 27, 2021
$289.00 – $409.00
Event Category:


Online via Zoom