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Finding Your Story’s Sweet Spot: What Does Your Character Want?

January 16, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

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One event on March 12, 2019 at 6:30 pm

Instructor: BettyJoyce Nash
$189 Members | $210 Nonmembers
Wednesdays, 1/16/19 – 3/6/19 | 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Finding your story’s “sweet spot” requires identifying your character’s longing. What drives every word and deed, creating the necessary conflict that motivates readers to turn pages? In early drafts we often can’t answer the simple question: What specific, tangible “want” makes this character act this way?

In class, we’ll discuss published short stories such as Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies” and Ethan Canin’s “Pitch Memory,” among others, to discover how these and other master writers develop character and story through objects and metaphors, dialogue and action. We’ll investigate the specific details these authors chose to develop and how those details support the story.

Best of all, we’ll generate new material, through prompts and exercises, that we can workshop into polished drafts or mine for future stories. Together, we’ll read, write, and discuss.


About the Instructor: BettyJoyce Nash won the Cville Weekly and F. Scott Fitzgerald short story prizes in 2015. She’s written for newspapers and magazines, and published fiction in NDQ(North Dakota Quarterly) and elsewhere; her fiction has been recognized with fellowships at MacDowell, VCCA, and others. She conceived, co-edited, and contributed to a collection of literary gun stories, Lock & Load: Armed Fiction(University of New Mexico Press 2017.) She earned an MFA (2011) from Queens and an MS in Journalism (1988) from Northwestern’s Medill Journalism School. She’s taught writing at the University of Richmond and the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

This is an on-going class and is closed to registration. 


January 16, 2019
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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BettyJoyce Nash


508 Dale Avenue
Charlottesville, 22902 United States
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