Hugh Ferrer


Hugh Ferrer (M.F.A. in fiction, The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop) is the associate director of The University of Iowa International Writing Program. For more than fifteen years, he was an editor at The Iowa Review, and over the last two decades, he has taught a variety of courses at The University of Iowa, introducing undergraduates to fiction writing, international literature, journal publishing, and Iowa City’s literary culture.


Hugh Ferrer photo cropped

Clock and Camera in Fiction: Immersing the Reader

Event status
Attendance Required
Plot and character drive the action in most fiction, but time-management and “camerawork” are crucial for enriching the story and drawing a reader in. This weeklong session is open to all levels, but will be particularly useful for writers who feel comfortable with the basics and are looking for techniques to make their storytelling more dynamic—“dynamic” because time-management and camerawork thrive on variation, as much as on consistency. At any point in a story, the normal forward tempo of time—maybe for a sentence, or maybe for a passage—stops (for a description of the mud room beside the kitchen) or rewinds itself in a blur (for a flashback of how the windowpane got cracked) or speeds up (for a sweeping summary of how that crack spread in subtle ways throughout the house). Likewise, a single short paragraph that begins with a bird’s-eye view of a city might zoom in and finish inside one character’s inner monologue. We’ll look at dozens of examples of both techniques and do guided writing exercises so that you can feel from the inside the textures these techniques create. Most importantly, we’ll examine how the two techniques influence each other—how time-management affects the camerawork, and vice versa. You’ll go home with the tools to make your narrator nimbler and your storytelling more gripping. In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; provide feedback on writing you produce in our week.
Hugh Ferrer photo