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Character, Object, Premise: Intermediate Fiction 3-Week Online Workshop, Starts Monday, March 13th, 2023
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Character, Object, Premise: Intermediate Fiction 3-Week Online Workshop, Starts Monday, March 13th, 2023

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Begins Monday, March 13th, 2023

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

Taught by Matthew Fogarty, author of Maybe Mermaids and Robots are Lonely (George Mason University’s Stillhouse Press, 2016), which Kirkus named one of the best books of the year. The title story won a Pushcart Prize. He has an MFA from the University of South Carolina, where he was editor of Yemassee. His fiction has appeared in such journals as Passages North, Fourteen Hills, PANK, Smokelong Quarterly, and Midwestern Gothic.

Lynda Barry encourages us to write from a place of not knowing, admitting that we don't know, rejecting questions about good or bad, taking the spark that brought us to the page and following its lead into the unknown. This is incredibly useful when we're starting a piece -- it's about giving ourselves space to explore, enjoying the freedom of the blank page, and shedding whatever external boundaries we may be inclined to establish or let limit us. We want to let the story (or poem or essay) and ourselves roam free. Embrace the unknown, she says.

But at some point we need to know, right? At some point, we need to have some idea what the story is, what the poem is, what the essay is. At some point we need to stop writing from a place of not knowing and to start moving toward a place of knowing. We need to develop the story, poem, or essay the same way a photograph develops in a darkroom. You've got an inkling, a thread, an idea for what you want to write -- a turn of phrase, an image, an emotion, a feeling, a topic, an astonishment, a question, whatever. The question is how you get material from all that -- material you can use to construct a piece, to develop that photograph.

In this course, we’ll explore three pathways for expanding our inkling into a story:

  1. By developing a character
  2. By examining an object
  3. By settling on and exploring a premise


Students will come away with tools for turning abstract ideas into concrete story elements, including:

  • Understanding of the elements of character development, including creating rounded and dynamic characters, and exploring their motivations and inner lives.
  • Techniques for creating and incorporating objects and symbols within a story to enrich and deepen meaning.
  • Understanding of premise and how it informs the overall direction and meaning of a story
  • Practice in analyzing and dissecting how other writers use character, object and premise to create compelling narratives.
  • Understanding of how character, object, and premise can be used to develop themes and motifs within a story.
  • Understanding of how to use characterization, object, and premise to create believable, engaging and complex conflicts.
  • Strategies for building and developing characters, objects and premise in both short and long form fiction.
  • Techniques for revising and editing character, object, and premise to strengthen their effectiveness in a story.
  • Practice in brainstorming, writing and workshopping your own fiction using character, object, and premise.


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 Matt 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. Matt 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: Matthew Fogarty

  • Class starts Monday, March 13th, 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.