Sophie McManus

Author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Unfortunates, a Barnes & Noble 2015 Great Writers Discover Award Finalist which was short-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, long-listed for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, and named a notable book or must-read by Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Paste, and Time Out New York, among others. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Memorious, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Saltonstall Foundation, and the Jentel Foundation. SLC, 2016–

Previous Courses

Fiction Workshop: The Long Con—Novels and Linked Story Collections


Fiction workshop

How to simultaneously free and capture time, invent and people a world, effect some profound change to that world, and come to an ending as inevitable as it was mysterious to you, even as you wrote it? That’s challenge enough. But while writing a longer work over months or years, you the author are also changing. In this generative workshop, we’ll look at both the craft and the process of writing. We’ll discover and deepen our long-form fictions-in-progress through a consideration of language, narration, character, point of view, dialogue, pacing, detail, plot, place, and time. We’ll examine different approaches to structure, keeping in mind that there is no “right” way into a narrative. Workshop discussion will aim, through thoughtful and empathic close reading, to help the author realize his/her conception of the work. Students will have the opportunity to workshop twice. Mid-semester, we will pair up for further editorial exchange. The published works we read will primarily be writing-on-writing and will include authors such as Elizabeth Bowen, Anton Chekhov, Annie Dillard, Milan Kundera, Peter Mendelsund, Flannery O’Connor, Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace, Joy Williams, James Wood, and George Saunders. We’ll also consider (mostly) optional weekly writing prompts based on students’ projects and interests. In the second half of the semester, we’ll work on practical approaches to organizing and managing a long work and toward honing in on making your particular revision process both pleasurable and illuminating. Works anywhere from recently begun to many years in draft are welcome; but please note that among workshop, conference, and individual exchange, you will share anywhere from 60 to 100 consecutive pages over the course of the semester.