Narrative Writing Class: The Arc of the Story (Winter 2024)


The Arc of the Story: Winter Creative Writing Class

Readers crave stories. Structuring a piece of writing in terms of a story is the single most effective way of holding an audience’s attention. It’s the secret behind compelling short story and nonfiction writers as well as popular novelists like Stephen King or John Grisham and popular nonfiction like Eric Larson’s Devil in the White City or Lauren Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. These authors sell millions of books because they tell a good, suspenseful story. They make readers wonder, “What will happen next?”

The Arc of the Story will teach you how to tell a great story or book chapter. We’ll do this in the following way:

  • Write a sketch of your story.
  • Write a dramatic scene for your story.
  • Complete a point of view exercise to add psychological dimension to story.
  • Write a draft of story or book chapter.
  • Revise the draft in the light of my comments and those of workshop.
  • Complete publication report to identify the appropriate publishing home for your story or book, greatly enhancing your chance of publication.

There will be six assignments, including a 150-word story sketch, a 250-word dramatic scene, a 250-word point of view exercise, a 1500- to 2500-word story or book chapter, a revised story or chapter, and a 250- to 500-word publication report. In addition to the classroom work, I will schedule individual conferences with each student. This will give me a chance to go over your work with you one-on-one and suggest ways to improve it.

Texts: Story Craft by Jack Hart, available at the Elliott Bay Book Company or other bookstore.

The class usually fills several weeks before the starting date. For more information, contact me at or 206-284-7121.

The Seattle writing course will run January 10 to Feb. 28 on Wednesday evenings and one Monday evening, (Feb. 12) from 7 to 9 p.m. PST via Zoom and at least one hybrid session in Room 221 of the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford (4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.)

  • Story Craft by Jack Hart