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

You learn a lot about fiction, the writing process...and yourself.

Tom Poldre

public relations executive

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

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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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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Jaime Karnes
Jaime Karnes

Jaime Karnes has published fiction and nonfiction in Granta, Adirondack Review, Opium Magazine, and PopMatters. She is an editor-at-large in fiction at The Utopian. She has taught at Rutgers and Southern New Hampshire University. She holds a BA from the University of Kansas and an MFA in Fiction from Rutgers-Newark University.

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Jessica Sticklor
Jessica Sticklor

Jessica Sticklor (also writing as Jessica Stilling and J.M. Stephen) is the author of the novels Just So Many Places (NineStar Press), After the Barricades, The Weary God of Ancient Travelers (both D.X. Varos), The Beekeeper's Daughter (Bedazzled Ink Press), and Betwixt and Between (Ig Publishing), and the young adult Pan Chronicles series and The Rise of Runes and Shields, book one of her Seidr Sagas young adult fantasy series (all D.X. Varos). Her short stories have appeared in The Paper Nautilus, Open Wide Magazine, Conclave, The Skyline Review, Chiron Review, and Kudzu, and her nonfiction has appeared in The Writer, Ms., and Tor.com. She has worked as an editor at The House of Books. She holds a BA from The New School and an MFA in Creative Writing from CUNY.

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Omari Chancellor
Omari Chancellor

Omari Chancellor has published short fiction in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Brainwxsh, Still Life, and Soft Punk. He wrote and directed the short films The One, which appeared in several film festivals including the Ohio Valley Film Festival, and SwimLessons for The Believer magazine. He has taught at Spotlight Kids NY and the 52nd Street Project. He holds a BFA from Roanoke College and an MFA 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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R. Dean Johnson
R. Dean Johnson

R. Dean Johnson is the author of the novel Californium (Plume Books) and the short story collection Delicate Men (Alternative Book Press). His short stories and essays have appeared in Ascent, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Louisville Review, New Orleans Review, Natural Bridge, Ruminate, Santa Clara Review, Slice, and Southern Review, and in the anthologies Agave (Ink Brush Press) and A Tribute to Orpheus (Kearney Street Books). He served as fiction editor at Hayden’s Ferry Review and editor of the anthology Teachable Moments: Essays on Experiential Education (University Press of America). He has taught at Arizona State University, Prescott College, Cameron University, and Eastern Kentucky University. He holds a BS from California State Polytechnic, an MA in English from Kansas State University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University.

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Serrana Laure Gay
Serrana Laure Gay

Serrana Laure Gay has published short stories in Sinister Wisdom, the North Dakota Quarterly, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Red Noise Collective, Big Bend Literary Magazine, Silver Rose Magazine, and Prometheus Dreaming. She is the author of the illustrated book Fatty Fatty No Friends (Mind the Art Entertainment), adapted from her operetta of the same name, which was winner of the Best of Fest prize at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Her plays have been workshopped or appeared at the New York International Fringe Festival, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, the National Opera Center, the Frigid NY theatre festival, the HERE Arts Center, and Feinstein’s 54 Below. She has taught at the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute. She holds a BFA from Ithaca College and an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

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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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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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