Long Story Short
School of Writing
'The tribute to learning is teaching.'
Fiction Without Fear or Using the “Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune”  Instructor:  Perry Brass


   What is your story and how do you get it on the page without fear? Fiction is “the world’s most exciting art form,” says bestselling poet/novelist Perry Brass who’ll soon publish his 9th novel. In this course, you will learn to understand techniques through basic writing points, exercises, and discussions of your work. Perry Brass’s writing students have called his teaching “invaluable,” “warm,” “inspiring,” and “very helpful.”

   Perry's approach is that you can become the interesting exciting writer that you want to be and are meant to be, but first you have to understand what writing really is: a discipline and an art form. Like painting, sculpture, or dance, good writing requires a point of view that allows you to be a part of this ar tform, as well as look at it from the outside. So you need to be able to see your work, move within it, and create it at the same time. There are several techniques allow you to do this, to get deeper within your work as you create it and then revise it.

   “I have been doing this for 30 years,” says Brass. “I have published 13 books, been included in 25 anthologies, written plays, poetry, essays, novels: basically all using the same techniques that come from an ability to read deeply, create deeply, and revise the same way. Inside you is a far deeper, more complex, and interesting writer than most of us allow ourselves to know. To connect with this writer, you have to be unafraid of the power of words and the power of your own feelings. I have worked with poets, fiction writers, memoirists, beginners and writers well into their careers. But the question is, how far to you want to go to create something only you can produce and go someplace only you can go?

   "What are the basic building blocks of your ideas and feelings, and how can you use stories with these building blocks?

   "How do you get inside story structure? How can you tell your story without fear, and get past your own inhibitions about writing and telling it?

   "This is what I do as a writer and a teacher. So where do you want to go now as a writer?”


Eight Week Class Syllabus

1)    What is fiction—what drives a story. Difference between “plot” and “action.” Basic point of view, and how it works.


2)   Using forms of fiction (also called basic story structures) to derive your own story ideas and plots. These forms include folk tales (“What is a folk tale, why are they so persistent in human life, and how do we see them all around us?”); the “courtly tale” (one of the most powerful of all human dramatic forms—courtly tales still exist in thrillers, Mafia stories, courtroom dramas, and other aspects of fiction); the “spy narrative,” an intensely powerful format that great writers use almost unconsciously; and tales of the subconscious and supernatural (these stories are endlessly fascinating to us; their origins and variations go back to the beginnings of human story telling).

3)   What kind of story interests you, and where do you want to go with it: fitting yourself into basic story forms and techniques.

4)  Three basic writing techniques that you can use: purely emotional, purely observational, and purely “objective”—the words are now talking to you.

5)    “Style” or finding the right words to tell your story.

6)   More about point of view: Are you too close to the story, or too far away? Finding a position that allows you to tell your story without interfering with it, and yet allowing your own passion for it to come out.

7)   Plot killers and plot makers. Good plots are rational and fairly easy to follow (unlike life), and yet filled with surprises and emotional pay offs (also, too often, unlike life—but when you look at it, you realize that is what life is about: surprises and emotional pays offs). So, how do you keep the cliches out of your plot, and yet not make it so crazy that no one can follow it? Remember the old rule in real estate: “Location, location, location!” We start with this, and go into what “locates” the plot in an interesting way.

8)   Back to the beginning: your questions, problems, and ideas. How do you utilize what we’ve talked about? What basic approaches keep you from going stale, being afraid to start, and getting trapped in a place you can’t get out of?



Class starts are continuous
Contact instructor directly to choose start date
Tuition: $200
Private Mentoring:  $35
Contact: Perry.
Bestselling Poet/novelist, Perry Brass has published 13 books and been a finalist six times in three different categories for national Lambda Literary Awards. His work is included in over 25 anthologies including The Columbia Book of Gay Literature from Columbia University Press, and Death Comes Easy, Bend Sinister, and Serendipity from London’s Millivres-Prowler Press. His groundbreaking play “Night Chills,” about the early AIDS crisis, won a New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center Playwriting Award and a Jane Chambers International Gay Playwriting Award, His novel Warlock: A Novel of Possession, won an "Ippy" Award from Independent Publisher Magazine. His latest novel, The Substance of God: A Spiritual Thriller, Lambda Literary finalist in Science Fiction/Fantasy, asked the intriguing question: is our often censored urge towards sex the same urge as our urge toward a higher presence, known as God. His next novel is Carnal Sacraments, An Historical Novel of the Future, an explosive story set in 2075, when your lifespan will be determined by your job, privacy will be antiquated, and most sexuality will be permitted, but only in a very controlled and corporatized form. He can be reached through his website www.perrybrass.com.

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