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Main Character Syndrome: How to Use Social Media to Write Compelling Stories Zoom Seminar with Amber Sparks, Saturday, July 15th, 2023
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Main Character Syndrome: How to Use Social Media to Write Compelling Stories Zoom Seminar with Amber Sparks, Saturday, July 15th, 2023

Unit price per

Saturday, July 15th, 2023

Live Seminar Via Zoom 10AM – 1PM CST

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

Led by Amber Sparks, the author of several short story collections, including The Unfinished World and Other Stories, and I Do Not Forgive You (Liveright). Her essays and fiction can be found widely in print and online, in places like The Paris Review, New York Magazine, Granta, Tin House, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere.

Wonder why some people end up as the main character on social media? Have you noticed how on social, people will comment with “that’s a short story!” about a particularly compelling post? Have you ever asked yourself why Joyce Carol Oates is so good at/weird at Twitter? How did social media get us to be mad at Gwyneth Paltrow one week and rooting for her the next? And why did the Cat People story do so well online? Social media is full of well-documented problems and can distract us endlessly from work - but it's also a great testing ground for what kinds of characters and plots actually resonate with a large audience and why.

Social posts are often excellent examples of what can immediately grab people’s attention in a way that they say, “there’s a story there, or that's a person I need to know more about.” In this workshop, we'll look at viral social posts and stories and what story or character elements contributed to their virality.

We'll think about how to replicate that in our own short fiction, mining social for the kind of tiny stories that hold attention and imagination and creating the kind of character details that really stick with people. We'll workshop both creating and editing our own stories with details that drive interest. This is all a little tongue-in-cheek, of course - we're not asking that you write Twitter threads or viral short stories! But we'll have fun and think about how to identify elements that always capture our interest, whether in fiction or on social because the best short stories all capture the reader's attention and leave them unable to stop thinking about it, talking about it, sharing, and teaching it.

  • You'll leave with a short fiction draft, a new excuse to spend time on social media, and a self-generated checklist for editing your stories and making sure they're as vital and interesting as they can be.


    • You're finding the constraints of your current writing practice too limiting.
    • You want exposure to a range of new approaches to bring to your writing practice.
    • You want an expanded sense of what is possible in your work.


    "One of the more creative workshops I have ever taken. Amber Sparks really got me to think in different and creative ways. It was the right class at the right time for me."

    "I really enjoyed Amber Sparks' workshop on Fractured Narrative! Great list of possible approaches to non-linear story-telling with helpful references to specific author's works as examples. Good exercises. Really enjoyed the chat input from other attendees as well. Great value for the price."


    This class will meet via Zoom on Saturday, July 15th, 2023 from 10AM - 1PM CST


    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.
    • Amber Sparks | Live via Zoom

    • This class will meet via Zoom on Saturday, July 15th, 2023 from 10AM - 1PM CST

    • Seminar is fully ONLINE and meets via Zoom

    Instructor Amber Sparks is the author of four collections of short fiction, including And I Do Not Forgive You: Revenges and other Stories and The Unfinished World, and her fiction and essays have appeared in American Short Fiction, the Paris Review, Tin House, Granta, The Cut and elsewhere. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, daughter, and two cats.