“Writing About the Natural World . . . Without Boring the Heck Out of Your Readers” — Sandra Gail Lambert
There are both joys and pitfalls to writing about a beloved place. (Or an unbeloved place.) Perhaps you’re developing an essay about traveling through ancient desert landscapes or a memoir centered on your childhood roaming a swamp catching snakes. Are you working on a historical mystery set in the Canadian tundra or a novel about the terraforming of Pluto? Is your literary novel set in an urban landscape? Even there parts of the natural world survive and can add to the power of your writing. That power is just one of the joys of including the natural world in your writing. A pitfall is the tendency of description to dominate plot and characters.
Bring your works in progress—essays, stories, novel or memoir excerpts (up to 5,000 words)— and over the first three weeks we’ll revise and revise. We’ll use a variety of techniques and readings that will help us write descriptions of the natural world that develop our characters and plot rather than obscure them. The fourth week will be reserved for in depth individual Skype or phone conferences between each participant and the instructor.