Writing in Layers: Fiction, Narrative Nonfiction, and Poetry


One of the most effective ways of developing a story or poem or essay is to work in layers of different narrative or thematic material. When the layers come from different realms of experience or thought (personal experience, science, history, folk lore, work, religion, politics, food, art, etc.), or when they carry different emotional charges (comic, tragic, mysterious, mundane), they complicate each other in distinctive ways. Things get interesting that were maybe flat and predictable before, and the writing achieves depth, originality, and rich intensity. This workshop is focused on using techniques of layering to bring that kind of power and richness to your own writing.

Through reading and discussing published works in various genres that involve multiple layers of material, through the creation and use of a very particular kind of writer’s notebook, and through exercises drawing on that notebook and current work in progress, you will produce new writing, strengthen writing you already have in draft form, share and discuss the results of those writing exercises, and develop techniques to make yourself a stronger, more productive, and more interesting writer. This workshop is designed to be useful to writers with all levels of experience who have at least some fiction, narrative nonfiction, or poetry writing in progress.

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments, and provide feedback on writing you produce in our weekend.

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