See also:
Fiction Writing Intensive
Up next:
Level II Options
Fiction Writing I

Fiction Writing I is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. It’s for beginners or anyone who wants to brush up on the fundamentals. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

Also consider Gotham’s premium Zoetrope Fiction Writing classes: Zoetrope Fiction I or Zoetrope Fiction II.

Fiction is a wonderful conjuring act. With only words and the reader’s imagination, a work of fiction can sail across the world in pursuit of a whale, or time-travel to another dimension, or zero in on a few minutes in line at the local bank, enveloping the reader in a made-up story that feels real.

To pull off this feat requires a balance of craftsmanship, daring, and insight into human nature. Here you’ll learn the time-tested elements of fiction craft and how to market your work.

Whether you seek to write short stories or novels; commercial, literary, or genre; comic or tragic, we’ll show you how to spin your thoughts into believable and spellbinding tales.

About Fiction Writing
Fiction Writing I

This class has been one of the highlights of my life.

Sheryl Jones

student

Notes

Fiction I encompasses short stories and novels. After Level I, students have a choice of Short Fiction Writing II (focusing on short stories), or Novel II Critique or Novel II First Draft (focusing on novels).

If you’re working on “genre” fiction, you may take either a Fiction/Novel course or one of our genre courses: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance, Mystery.

If you’re working on a YA novel, you may take a Fiction/Novel or “genre” course, or you may take a Children’s Book course, where the full spectrum of children’s books will be covered.

Upcoming Classes NYC COVID Info

Masks are not required, but we’ll provide masks for those who want them. We are no longer requesting proof of vaccination.

More Covid details

Price

Registration fee $25, paid once per term

See Payment Options

To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.

10-Week

Syllabus

This course gives you a firm grounding in the basics of fiction craft and gets you writing a short story (or two) or a novel. Course components:
     Lectures
     Writing exercises
     Workshopping of student projects (each student presenting work two times)

New York City/Zoom classes
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes 
Week 1
Introduction to Fiction: The different types and forms of fiction. Where to find inspiration and ideas. The importance of craft.

Week 2
Character: Where to find characters. Making characters dimensional through desire and contrasts. Creating character profiles. Showing vs. Telling. Methods for showing characters. 

Week 3
Plot: Finding a major dramatic question. Shaping a beginning, middle, and end. The difference between short story and novel plots. Pros and cons of outlining. 

Week 4
Point of View: POV defined. Exploration of the many types of POV. 

Week 5
Description: Using the senses. Specificity. Techniques for creativity. Finding the right words. Merging description with point of view. 

Week 6
Dialogue: The importance of scene. Dialogue's illusion of reality. Quotation marks and tags. Stage directions. Summarized dialogue. Characterization through dialogue. Subtext. Dialect. 

Week 7
Setting/Pacing: Time. Place. Weather. Description of setting. Merging character and setting. How to manipulate time through pacing. Flashbacks. 

Week 8
Voice: Voice defined. Exploration of the various types of voice. Tips for finding your voice. Understanding style—syntax, diction, and paragraph length.

Week 9
Theme/Revision: Theme defined. Types of theme. Weaving theme into a story. Exploration of the various stages of revision. 

Week 10
The Business: Proper format for manuscripts. How to target publishing houses, literary magazines, and agents. Query letters.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.

Teachers

Alanna Schubach
Alanna Schubach

Alanna Schubach is the author of the novel The Nobodies (Blackstone Publishing). Her short stories have appeared in the Iowa Review, Sewanee Review, Massachusetts Review, Juked, and Electric Literature's Recommended Reading. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Atlantic, The NationJacobin, the Washington Post, the Village Voice, and the LA Review of Books. She has taught at the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, the College Readiness Program, the Westchester County Department of Corrections, and Girls Write Now. She holds a BA from American University and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College.

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Benjamin Obler
Benjamin Obler

Benjamin Obler is the author of the novel Javascotia (Penguin UK). His short stories and essays have appeared in The Guardian, London Times, Mirror, Electric Literature, Long Reads, Puerto Del Sol, The Junction, Belle Ombre, Qwerty, Sundress, Thirty-Two, Cottonwood, and Evansville Review. He has taught at the Loft Literary Center. He holds a BA from the University of St. Thomas and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow.

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Divya Sood
Divya Sood

Divya Sood is the author of the novels Find Someone to Love and Nights Like This (both Riverdale Avenue Books). Her short stories have won the New Jersey Arts and Letters First Prize for Short Fiction and appeared in The Masters Review. She has taught at Rutgers University and Southern New Hampshire University. She holds a BA from Rutgers University, an MA in English, and an MFA in Fiction, both from New York University. 

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George Jreije
George Jreije

George Jreije is the author of the Shad Hadid children's fantasy series, the novel Bashir Boutros and the Jewels of the Nile, and the forthcoming graphic novel Tarik’s Bazaar Adventure (all HarperCollins). He has also written short stories published in collaboration with UNICEF. He has taught for the Concord (Massachusetts) Library System, the Orlando Libraries, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. He holds a BS and an MBA from Clark University. 

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Irene Zabytko
Irene Zabytko

Irene Zabytko is the author of the novel The Sky Unwashed (Algonquin), and the short story collection When Luba Leaves Home (Algonquin). Her short stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and her nonfiction has appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, the New York Times Book Review, and the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine. She received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award in Ukraine for an upcoming novel based on the life of Nikolai Gogol. She holds a BA from Vermont College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College.

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Justine Teu
Justine Teu

Justine Teu has published short fiction in Passages North, Storm Cellar, The Offing, Pidgeonholes, VIDA Lit, LEVEE magazine, and Pigeon Pages, among others, and her essays have appeared in Craft Literary, the Binghamton Journal of History, and Binghamton Writes. She has taught for WriteOn and for BuzzFeed. She holds a BA from the State University of New York-Binghamton and an MFA in Fiction from the New School.

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K Hank Jost
K Hank Jost

K Hank Jost is the editor of A Common Well Journal. He is also the author of the novel MadStone and the novel-in-stories Deselections (both Whiskey Tit Books). His short stories and poems have appeared in Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, the Burning Palace, X-R-A-Y Lit Mag, and BULL, among others, and he is a regular contributor to the New Haven Independent. He has taught for the Brooklyn Center for Theatre Research.

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Lyndsey Ellis
Lyndsey Ellis

Lyndsey Ellis is the author of the novel Bone Broth (Hidden Timber Books), and her short fiction has been published in Kweli Journal, Joyland, the Santa Monica Review, Parhelion, the Stockholm Review of Literature, and Orca, A Literary Journal, among many others. Her work has been anthologized in Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California (Outpost 19 Books), Black in the Middle: An Anthology of the Black Midwest (Belt Publishing)and Crick! Crack!: Poems and Stories by Emerging Writers (The Bonfire Collective). She wrote the Memory Book column for Catapult magazine, blogged at For Harriet, and was fiction editor for The Account: A Journal of Poetry, Prose, and Thought. She has taught for the Loft Literary Center, the California Writers’ Club, Your Words STL, and midnight & indigo. She holds a BA from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and an MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts.

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Quinn Adikes
Quinn Adikes

Quinn Adikes has published fiction in Lit Hub, Five Points, Epiphany, december, the Southampton Review, Shenandoah, and other journals. He taught for Stony Brook Southampton, where he also earned an MFA in Creative Writing. 

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Varud Gupta
Varud Gupta

Varud Gupta is the author of the graphic novel Chhotu: A Tale of Partition and Love and the nonfiction travel memoir Bhagwaan Ke Pakwaan: Food of the Gods (both Penguin Random House). His food and travel articles have appeared in National Geographic and America's Test Kitchen, among others, and his short graphic fiction has appeared in Comixense and Inklab. He has worked as head of originals for the production studio Resting Kitsch Face, and taught for the Indian Institute of Art and Design. He holds a BS from New York University.

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Z Kennedy-Lopez
Z Kennedy-Lopez

Z Kennedy-Lopez is the fiction editor of the Atticus Review, and their own fiction and essays have appeared in Catapult, Foglifter, Autostraddle, Have Has Had, Storm Cellar, and A Velvet Giant, among many others. They have taught at the University of California, Davis, Rutgers University-Camden, and the Cooper Street Writing Workshops. They hold a BA from Southern Oregon University, an MA in English from the University of California, Davis, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Camden.

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