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Unleashing Powerful Paragraphs for StoryStudio Chicago

May 20 @ 6:30 pm


We usually notice a striking scene and often appreciate a dazzling or artful sentence, but somewhere in between lies the humble paragraph, which we tend to take for granted. Of course paragraphs provide breaks, pauses where we might rest, breathe, and regroup. But surely there must be more to the great examples in fiction and creative nonfiction than serving as convenient rest stops for the reader.
In this class, we’ll give the paragraph its due, affording it its moment in the spotlight, exploring the structural, textural, and narrative possibilities it harbors. We’ll consider things like the following:
-How can paragraphs contribute to pacing, tension, and narrative propulsion?
-How do some writers write paragraphs that seem to sing, nearly rising off the page? (Examples will come from Don DeLlilo, Valeria Luiselli, Patricia Lockwood, Marie-Helene Bertino, and many others).
-How might the sentences in a paragraph be arranged almost like words in a sentence?
-How might playing at the level of the paragraph open up unforeseen potential directions in our work as a whole?