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by Writing Workshops Staff

2 months ago


Meet the Teaching Artist: 12 Structure Ideas for Your Story, Essay, Memoir, or Novel with Kyle Minor

by Writing Workshops Staff

2 months ago


Meet the Teaching Artist: 12 Structure Ideas for Your Story, Essay, Memoir, or Novel with Kyle Minor

by Writing Workshops Staff

2 months ago


Kyle Minor is teaching a new one-time seminar called Twelve Structure Ideas for Your Story, Essay, Memoir, or Novel.

This seminar promises to help you unlock new storytelling potential, and Kyle will help you discover twelve new ways to make stories.

And Kyle knows what he is talking about. He is the author of Praying Drunk, winner of the Story Prize Spotlight Award. His work appears online and in print in Esquire, The Atlantic, Iowa Review, Story, the New York Times Book Review, and three volumes of the Best American series. Sarabande Books will publish a new collection of essays, How to Disappear and Why, in August 2024.

Hi, Kyle. Please introduce yourself to our audience.

I write stories and essays, and I'm completing a debut novel. More than anything, I'm a reader. Writers who have taught me the most through their books include James Baldwin, Edwidge Danticat, John Cheever, Alice Munro, Toni Morrison, Barry Hannah, Shusaku Endo, Milan Kundera, Denis Johnson, and Yiyun Li.

What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft?

I think structure is something that writers in other genres -- screenwriters, playwrights, poets -- take very seriously, with big-time benefits for their work. But -- maybe because prose instruction has so often focused on lyrical short stories and personal essays -- it seems like structure is sometimes overlooked as the source of great storytelling power it can provide. I'm hoping to address that, in my work as a writer and also as a teacher.

Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?

We're going to take a look, in microcosm, at a lot of different ways to approach structure, and, hopefully, everyone will leave with a lot of new ways into the stories they might hope to tell.

What was your first literary crush?

The first time I read something that blew my mind, it was definitely a book about baseball scouts, Dollar Sign on the Muscle by Kevin Kerrane, which I purchased at the Smithsonian bookstore in the sixth grade.

What are you currently reading?

Mothertrucker, a great nonfiction book by Amy Butcher.

How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?

Usually I'm working on two or three things at once, and I kind of bounce from one to the other, chasing the good energy.

Where do you find inspiration?

The pedal steel guitar, the films of the 1970s, ice hockey, John Coltrane, Lucinda Williams, the essays of Jonathan Lethem.

What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?

"Don't bore us; get to the chorus." - Tom Petty

What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?

The Conversations, by Michael Ondaatje and Walter Murch, which is actually a book about the craft of film editing, but it has so much to offer prose writers, too.

Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?

A mountain of useful craft information is caring in ways that last longer than telling people what they want to hear.

Learn more about working with Kyle Minor:

Here is Kyle's upcoming seminar, Twelve Structure Ideas for Your Story, Essay, Memoir, or Novel. You can sign up now to avoid the waitlist!

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