In discussions of plot, people usually talk about the physical action, everything that takes place externally, out in the open. But many writers believe that there is a second plot, lying somewhere beneath the external plot, like the underground river that the novelist Margot Livesey describes, “flowing through the pages, making the surface events meaningful.”
In Fred Shafer’s workshops on September 5, 12, 19, and 26, he will define the two plots, using examples from contemporary fiction to help writers solve problems and notice things they may have been missing in their own work.
Because it often remains hidden, even from the writer herself, Fred will focus on strategies for finding the internal plot and showing it to the reader. But he will also discuss the relationship between the two plots, what each contributes to the other and how the interplay between them can enable a writer to connect with the deep meanings, or themes, of a short story or novel. And these ideas will be carried over into the discussion of manuscripts during the second hour.
Fred was an editor with TriQuarterly, the international literary journal published by Northwestern University, where he taught fiction writing in the School of Professional Studies for many years. He continues to teach in Northwestern’s summer writers’ conference and leads three private workshops in short story and novel writing. His students have published more than forty books, including fifteen in the last five years. His own essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared in several periodicals.
Fred will write comments on fiction manuscripts in all genres, for readers of all ages. Manuscripts up to 20 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt font with 1 inch margins may be sent to his home, at 2128 Lincolnwood Drive, Evanston 60201. Please allow time for mail delivery. Manuscripts and a check for $3.00 per page made out to Fred Shafer must be received by Thursday, August 29. After that date, writers can bring their submissions and checks to the first three meetings at the Winnetka Community House. He will not accept manuscripts at the final meeting.
9:00-9:30 Registration and Socializing