What makes a sentence so powerful and enduring that it will stick in your mind forever? In this four-week class, we’ll take a look at some beautiful sentences and try to figure out exactly what makes them work, what distinguishes a writer’s style at the syntax level, and where the music of prose resides. We’ll talk about the sentence as the unit of composition in fiction, and take a look at some examples of revised sentences from published writers to see how they made their words sing. You’ll be asked to write creative responses to some of these examples. I’ll also give you some short exercises designed to help you focus on diction, syntax, rhythm, and structure. Then we’ll move to on sharing, discussing, and improving passages from your own work. You will receive personal feedback from me on your writing, and you should also be prepared to discuss the work of (and receive feedback from) others in the class.
ALIX OHLIN's novel Inside (Knopf) and her story collection Signs and Wonders (Vintage) were both published in 2012. A finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Prize, she is also the author of The Missing Person, a novel, and Babylon and Other Stories. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best New American Voices, and on public radio’s Selected Shorts. Born and raised in Montreal, she currently lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, and teaches at Lafayette College and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.