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

I loved the experience of taking this class. For someone who wants to write but lacks confidence, this is a wonderful vehicle. The fact that I have already signed up for Short Fiction II and this is only Week 9 speaks for itself.

Carllie B. Fox

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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

Anita Diggs
Anita Diggs

Anita Diggs is co-author, with Ida Keeling, of the memoir Can't Nothing Bring Me Down: Chasing Myself in the Race Against Time (Zondervan). She is the author of four novels, including A Meeting in the Ladies Room, (Kensington Books), and the nonfiction book Talking Drums: An African-American Quote Collection (St. Martin’s Press). She has served as senior editor and director of One World Books for Ballantine/Random House. She has taught at Salem College. She holds a BA from the State University of New York/Empire State College and an MFA in Creative Writing/Memoir from Hunter College.

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Arlaina Tibensky
Arlaina Tibensky

Arlaina Tibensky is the author of the novel And Then Things Fall Apart (Simon & Schuster). Her short stories and nonfiction have appeared in One Story, SmokeLong QuarterlyMcSweeney's, Madison ReviewThe Dinner Party DownloadNew Stories from the Midwest 2018 (New American Press), the New York Times, and elsewhere. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University.

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Cab Tran
Cab Tran

Cab Tran has published short fiction in Vagabond: Bulgaria's English Monthly, The Oleander Review, and Black Warrior Review, among many others. He is the translator, with Quan M. Ha, of the short-story collection Hanoi at Midnight by Bao Ninh (Texas Tech University Press). He co-founded the literary magazine Cedilla, has worked as a tutor with the Michigan Mentorship Program, and taught for the University of Michigan. He holds a BA from the University of Montana and an MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan.

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Christine Meade
Christine Meade

Christine Meade is the author of the novel The Way You Burn (She Writes Press), and her personal essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, Chicago Literati, HuffPost, the Manifest-Station, and Writer’s Digest. She has taught for 826 Boston, Lasell College, and Curry College. She holds a BA from Northeastern University and an MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts.

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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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Lynda Sandoval
Lynda Sandoval

Lynda Sandoval is the author of numerous novels including Unsettling, (Rayo/Harper Collins), the young adult novels Who’s Your Daddy?, Chicks Ahoy (both Simon Pulse), and Father Knows Best (Bold Strokes Books), and the Amgias Y Amor romance series (Bold Stroke Books) and the Return to Troublesome Gulch series (Silhouette Books). She is a former police officer with the Wheat Ridge (Colorado) Police Department and a former 911 and fire department dispatcher with the Littleton (Colorado) Fire Department. She has taught Constitutional rights classes for middle school students and has served as a novel writing mentor with the Nevada Chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She holds a BS from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. 

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Philip Cioffari
Philip Cioffari

Philip Cioffari is the author of the novels If Anyone Asks, Say I Died From the Heartbreaking Blues, The Bronx Kill, Jesusville, Catholic Boysand Dark Road, Dead Endas well as the short story collection A History of Things Lost or Broken, (all Livingston Press/University of West Alabama). His short fiction has appeared in the Southern Humanities Review, the Westchester Review, the North American Review, the Connecticut Review, Italian Americana, and been anthologized in Wild Dreams (Fordham University Press), 100 Percent Pure Florida Fiction (University of Florida Press), and Many Lights in Many Windows (Milkweed Editions). His plays have been staged or received staged readings at The Actors Studio, the Belmont Playhouse, the Gettysburg College New Plays Festival, and the Circle Repertory Lab, among many others. He wrote and directed the feature film Love in the Age of Dion, which won Best Director at the New York Independent Film and Video Festival, played at many film festivals including the Rhode Island International Film Festival and the Wildwood-By-The-Sea Festival, and was selected for the New Filmmakers NY series. He teaches at William Paterson University. He holds a Ph.D from New York University.

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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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Susan Breen
Susan Breen

Susan Breen is the author of the Maggie Dove mystery series, originally published by Penguin Random House/Alibi and rereleased by Under the Oak Press, as well as the novel The Fiction Class (Plume/Headline Review UK). Her short stories have appeared in American Literary Review, the Chattahoochee Review, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, as well as the anthologies Best American Nonrequired Reading and Murder Most Diabolical. She holds a BA from the University of Rochester and an MA in Economics from Columbia University.

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Tom Cooper
Tom Cooper

Tom Cooper is the author of the novels Florida Man (Random House) and The Marauders (Broadway Books/Crown Publishing). His short stories have appeared in the Mid-American Review, Gulf Coast, Boulevard, Smokelong Quarterly, and Oxford American. He has taught at Florida State University, Nicholls State University, the University of Central Florida, and the University of South Florida-Tampa. He holds a BA from Florida Atlantic University, an MA in Literature from the University of South Florida, and a Ph.D in Creative Writing from Florida State University.

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