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Tension & Voice, on the Sentence and Beyond 8-Week Zoom Intensive, Starts Thursday, September 12th, 2024
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Tension & Voice, on the Sentence and Beyond 8-Week Zoom Intensive, Starts Thursday, September 12th, 2024

Unit price per

Class Starts Thursday, September 12th, 2024

The class will meet weekly via Zoom (Thursdays, 7:00PM Eastern - 9:00PM Eastern).

Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.

Instructor Nathan Dragon is a writer whose work has appeared in NOON, The Baffler, Fence, Annulet, and New York Tyrant. He was a DiTrapano Resident, Fall 2023. His forthcoming short story collection, The Champ Is Here, will be available from C4G Books later this year. Along with Raegan Bird, he is the co-founder and editor of the publishing project Blue Arrangements.

This course will focus on the building blocks of a work of anything length: how does a story come together through sonic qualities of the words in the sentence, the voice, how structure works with voice—everything I've learned from the great Diane Williams over the last 9 years of publishing with NOON.

This class will be useful for writers of any genre focus (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, hybrid-genre).

We are in the business of creating feelings out of sentences.” — Ben Marcus

The aim of literature is the creation of a strange object covered with fur which breaks your heart.” — Donald Barthelme

In this course, students will have the opportunity to read, engage with, write different forms of fiction—traditional narrative or something else a student wants to work towards—I hesitate to say experimental because it’s all an experiment (Lydia Davis or Garielle Lutz look different, are trying something different than Cheever is. But traditional form and something else aren’t always mutually exclusive [Gass]).

This course will encourage students to think about their own capacity for creativity differently so as to help find their particular voice or voices in writing.

We will scrutinize our word choices, our sentence structures, our story structures, repetition, the breath in our story. Are we writing the slow prose of Jon Fosse, the frantic fiction of Gordon Lish, or something between? in the spirit of Gass?

We will talk about editing and revision as a re-writing process—shaping the clay rather than creating from nothing. We will look at strategies of concision (this is what I’ve learned from Diane Williams) because the goal of our work, within the writing process, here, should be to pack it with our voice and invention, lyricism and atmosphere, highlighting our best language—all of which comes from, first, the sentences themselves, how each one should be its own solid thing and not a stepping stone for the next sentence. Leave out what doesn’t have purpose, weight, solidity.


  • Week 1 - Why Write?
  • Week 2 - Starting with the Work Itself and How to Never get Stuck 
  • Week 3 - Something Small - Minimal & Infinitesimal
  • Week 4 - Based on Life and Something Else
  • Week 5 - Sentences & Story Structure 
  • Week 6 - Voice 
  • Week 7 - Concision and Tension 
  • Week 8 - Revise Towards All of That


  • Explore your creative process through writing;
  • Engage with and employ different forms/techniques of writing and become familiar with the conventions and language of writing craft;
  • Develop your writing voice or voices;
  • Employ the concepts of craft to analyze and discuss published writing;
  • Generate original works of fiction, and drawing inspiration from the world around you and perhaps the work we read in class;
  • Develop revision and editing skills.


Course texts will be provided by Nathan, and may include: 

  • Lars Iyer - Nude in Your Hot Tub Facing the Abyss: A Literary Manifesto; 
  • Garielle Lutz - A Sentence is a Lonely Place & Poetry of the Paragraph;
  • Lydia Davis - Happiest Moment;
  • Renee Gladman - Proportion Surviving;
  • Mark Richard - Gentlman's Agreement;
  • Noy Holland - He Has Gone to Macy's;
  • Larry Brown- The Apprentice;
  • Rick Bass - Redfish;
  • Diane Williams, Amy Hempel, Robert Lopez, Chiara Barzini, Fosse - selection of very short stories; subject to change 


"Nathan fostered an environment that was low-stress, and welcoming. His classes were clearly organized and provided a great schedule to ensure that there was no miscommunication on the weekly assignments. He gave continuous and engaging feedback that clearly showed he had taken proper time in reading my material, which ultimately led me to create better work. He taught multiple technique and styles and encouraged us to attempt these styles in our writings with no judgment." -Former Student

"Nathan encouraged freedom in our writing and I took inspiration from the authors that we read and discussed." -Former Student

"Nathan had us read all different kinds of authors and types of creative writing. He exposed us to a lot of types of writing and styles which helped me grow and broaden my scope." -Former Student

"Not only did I feel more engaged by this seminar style of discussion, but I could tell my classmates were also more engaged, as I heard far more from other students than I have in any other English class I have ever taken - I have been taking advanced writing classes since I was 13." -Former Student

"It is clear Nathan cares for us as humans, not just students." -Former Student

"Thanks to this class, I reconnected with my passion for writing." -Former Student


This class meets weekly via Zoom. Come prepared for a super fun class with live interaction on Zoom each week and plenty of writing, reading, and talking!


Tuition is $495. You can pay for the course in full  or use Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.
  • Instructor: Nathan Dragon
  • Class Starts Thursday, September 12th, 2024
  • The class will meet weekly via Zoom (Thursdays, 7:00PM Eastern - 9:00PM Eastern).
  • Tuition is $495.