A guy gets on stage and does a trick. Aztec Lady, Bullet Catch, Zig Zag Girl. It's a con. A dodge. The gun is made to fire blanks. The boxes are bigger than they seem. It's the person watching, their readiness to believe, that fills the deception with wonder and makes it magic. So, too, with writing. Fiction is a lie, by definition. And writers are liars. Shame on them. It's the reader's regard, their eagerness to give credence, which makes a story emotionally compelling and elevates it to art. A good lie rings true, and reveals truth. In the '90s, a poster hung above the desk of FBI agent Fox Mulder (and on the bedroom wall of every self-respecting X-phile): "I Want to Believe." And it's true. We want to believe. In fact, we first believe, then, if the writing falls short (and it often does), we make a conscious effort to disbelieve. Whether you're writing about ordinary occurrences or an epic mytharc to rival X-files, the appearance of truth, that is, verisimilitude, is essential.
In this workshop, learn how to craft stories the reader trusts. Learn how to lie better. The five 90-minute sessions will include lecture, discussion, in-class writing prompts and voluntary sharing of responses. Sessions will be led by Rutgers University creative writing instructor Alex Dawson, whose forthcoming novel, "Welcome to White Hart," has been called "Charlotte's Web" meets "Winter's Bone," and is due out later this year.
Registration is required. Registrants should commit to attending each session of the class: Wednesdays July 29, Aug. 5, Aug. 12, Aug. 19, and Aug. 26.
Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.