Begins Monday, August 23rd, 2021
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Taught by award-winning novelist Ryan David Jahn (read his story "All This Distant Beauty" in The Best American Mystery Stories 2020), The Art of Suspense is a class not only for those interested in writing thrillers or suspense novels, but for any writer who wants to keep readers turning pages.
In addition to exploring the fundamentals of fiction, from dialogue and foreshadowing to plot and point of view, we will delve into how to use those tools to build suspense into our fiction, whether we’re writing an international spy novel or literary short stories.
We’ll do this by examining both shorter texts and through an in-depth exploration and discussion of how Jim Thompson builds suspense in his novel The Getaway, so we can apply the same techniques to our own fiction. Finally, each writer will have one opportunity to workshop either the first chapters of a novel-in-progress or a short story (up to 5,000 words).
The Getaway by Jim Thompson is required. Links to supplemental texts will be provided during the class.
Week One: Character; Point of view
Week Two: Surprise vs. Suspense; Withholding information; A ticking clock
Week Three: Stakes; Complications; Increased pressure
Week Four: Cliffhangers; Braiding Narrative Threads Together; Resolutions
"I just finished the Art of Suspense class taught by Ryan David Jahn. Before class began, I was a little skeptical about the online format because I had not done that before. I need not have worried. Reading my classmates' work and exchanging critiques was so much fun, and I don't think anything was lost because it was online. After all, we're writers! Ryan's lessons were insightful and inspiring, as were the texts we read for the class. All in all, I feel I took away much more than I was able to contribute, and that's a bargain in anyone's book. The platform we use, Wet Ink, was excellent. Thank you, Writing Workshops and Ryan David Jahn for an excellent course experience." -Lisa S.
ONLINE COURSE STRUCTURE:
This class is entirely asynchronous which means you complete the weekly assignments on your own schedule. There are no set meeting times in order to allow for greater participation; your cohort will consist of writers from across different time zones, which allows for a wonderful diversity of voices.
Along with your weekly deadlines there is plenty of interaction with Ryan and your peers within Wet Ink, our dedicated online classroom. Craft materials, lectures, reading assignments, and writing prompts are all available through the online classroom. Students also post work and provide and receive feedback within the online classroom environment.
You can get the work done as you see fit week-to-week, so it is perfect for any schedule. There are discussion questions each week inspired by the assigned readings and topics in the lecture notes. Students are encouraged to take these wherever is most compelling and/or useful for them. Ryan engages with these discussions throughout the week and you will receive feedback from all assigned writing activities.
HOW DOES WET INK WORK?
Wet Ink was built and designed specifically for online writing classes. Wet Ink is private, easy to use, and very interactive. You can learn more about the Wet Ink platform by Watching a Class Demo.
Instructor: Ryan David Jahn
Class size limited to 10 writers
Starts August 23rd, 2021
Course is fully ONLINE; students can work according to their own schedule within weekly deadlines. Once you have enrolled the instructor will send you a link to our online classroom, provided via Wet Ink.
Instructor Ryan David Jahn grew up in Arizona, Texas, and California. He published his first novel, Acts of Violence, which went on to win the prestigious Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Dagger, in 2009. He has since published six others, including The Dispatcher, which was named by the Financial Times as one of the top ten crime novels of the year, The Last Tomorrow, and The Breakout. His story "All This Distant Beauty" was recently selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories for 2020. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Jessica, and two daughters, Francine and Matilda.