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Idea Mining: A 4-Week Generative Fiction Workshop, Starts Monday, October 23rd, 2023
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Idea Mining: A 4-Week Generative Fiction Workshop, Starts Monday, October 23rd, 2023

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Begins Monday, October 23rd, 2023

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

Taught by Ethan Chatagnier, whose novel Singer Distance (Tin House Books) was a best book of 2022 at NPR and PopSugar and a most anticipated fall book at LitHub, Gizmodo, Vulture,, the Philadelphia Inquirer, ALTA, Debutiful, and DailyHive. Ethan’s short stories have also appeared in the Pushcart Prize anthology, the New England Review, Georgia Review, Colorado Review, Story, and other journals. 

Read an Interview with Ethan and get to know him in our Meet the Teaching Artist series.

Great ideas rarely descend like a bolt of lightning. Usually, they’re sparked from something in the real world, whether the book is pure realism or wildly speculative.

This class is about how to strike those sparks from real-life sources, and how to nurture those sparks into a larger narrative. Each week, the instructor will supply sources we’ll use as prompts and teach different ways to make use of them.

Students will come away with an assortment of new premises, characters, and plot developments, but the class is also designed to help students master these idea-mining skills so they can build them into their process and keep the ideas flowing for years to come.


Week 1: Varieties of What-If
Week 2: Finding Characters
Week 3: Breaking Events
Week 4: Spiraling Toward a Beginning


Assorted podcast episodes, documentaries, and texts. The instructor will provide all texts.

  • Generate new writing: premises, character sketches, rough outlines, and scenes.
  • An ongoing method for finding and developing new ideas.
  • Mentorship and peer discussion on idea development.
  • You struggle with writer’s block or don’t know where to begin.
  • You want to be more excited by what you’re writing.
  • You want to make your writing richer and more complex.
  • Your process could use a kickstart.

"This class really opened my mind and give me an actual process for mining for ideas that I can use on a regular basis. I feel like I know how to look at, read, or hear anything in the media and come up with not just one but multiple story ideas from it. I had never thought about how to look for questions, conflicts, and characters like that before. It feels like learning how to "flip the script" and find angles like in journalism, but from a literary perspective -- which is something I feel I've drastically needed in my journey as a writer!"

"I was very excited going into the class, and it exceeded my expectations. Ethan's feedback was generous and insightful, and I thought the assigned reading was very well-chosen. I appreciated the opportunity to look at novels and screenplays alongside each other-- it helped me understand storytelling from a more well-rounded perspective."

"This class was encyclopedic in a great way! The course is excellent and extremely in-depth! I so appreciated Ethan's expertise and depth of knowledge."

"I went into the novel-plotting class with a mess of half-written drafts, and I left with a sense of real clarity and direction about the story I want to tell. Ethan was a kind and insightful teacher, and I found his generous feedback invaluable. I'm so impressed with how much information he was able to pack into our 6-week class-- I really feel as if I understand the foundations of storytelling in a way I never have before." 


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 Ethan 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. Ethan engages with these discussions throughout the week and you will receive feedback from all assigned writing activities.


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.


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: Ethan Chatagnier

  • Class starts Monday, October 23rd, 2023

  • 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.

Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this class.