Why Fiction Fluency?About the InstructorFiction Fluency IFiction Fluency IIFiction Fluency IIIRetreatRegister

Eric Witchey’s Fiction Fluency Seminars combine practical experience with linguistic and cognitive science research on how readers internalize story in heart and mind. The seminars present practicable, executable skills for creation, analysis, and revision of short stories and novels. The series begins with the foundation of habits, and each class layers on a new level of complexity and control that allows the participants to acquire skills that will allow them to create professional-level short, shorts; short stories, novelettes, novellas, novels in any genre.
Each class can be taken as a stand-alone class, or each of the four-seminar groups can be taken as a whole with a discount, or the entire series can be taken at a substantial discount.
Returning participants are given first priority for seating. Class sizes are limited.
The first class in the program, Establishing the Foundations of your Creative Life, forms the foundations of the program.
Returning participants can choose to skip that class without impact to their experience of subsequent classes. They may also choose to engage in a refresher.
The first hour of each class will include a summary of the foundations, and arrangements can be made by alumni to enter the classroom at the first break if they would like. However, the cost of each class is the same because the instructor and resource commitment is the same regardless of the number of writers in the room. The instructor suggests that returning participants take the opportunity to become teachers during the opening hour of class. In the event no new participants sign up for an individual class, the extra hour will be used to present new material for returning participants. 

Award-winning writer Eric Witchey’s background in theoretical linguistics, course development, and creative writing combine with over 27 years of full-time freelance experience to allow him to distill nebulous concepts normally attributed to talent or internalized through years of trial-and-error into clear, executable techniques writers can begin to practice immediately. These techniques have been tested in the marketplace, and he has sold 2 collections, 5 novels, and 150 short stories. His stories have appeared under several names, in multiple languages, and on 6 continents. Using the techniques he teaches, he has garnered many awards and accolades, including recognition from Writer’s of the Future, New Century Writers, Short Story America, the International Book Awards, the Independent Publishers Book Awards, the Irish Aeon Awards, Writer’s Digest Awards, the Eric Hoffer Prose Awards, and a number of other organizations. His fiction how-to articles have appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer Magazine, and other print and online sources.
Listen to Eric’s interview on our podcast Sentence to Paragraph here. Visit Eric online at ericwitchey.com Follow him on Twitter @EWitchey


Fiction Fluency I: Foundational Skills 
The four-class Fiction Fluency I Series allows participants to develop solid creative practices and incorporate them into a lifestyle that supports success in writing fiction. It will also provide solid foundations for development of emotion-driven, dramatic story acted out by believable characters. 
1.1 Establishing the Foundations of Your Creative Life (by Exploiting the Practice Effect) 
Introduction to the cognitive foundations of learning, reading, story-telling, and creativity. Translation of that knowledge into habits that increase the speed of learning and result in solid, practical foundations and support for long-term gains. The class will include a component of story analysis methods that will help establish solid habits no matter what kind of critique group writers attend. 
1.2 Creating and Finding Ideas: Where to Find Them and How to Use Them.  
Introduction and application of techniques in target-, random-, intuition-, and process-driven creativity. Demonstration of the nature of tools and how to create them. Long-term, a writer must be able to create their own tools. To be a tool, a technique must be useful: 
  • Describing published stories, 
  • Analyzing stories under development, 
  • Diagnosing problems and suggesting solutions, and 
  • Designing new material. 
The class will include application of techniques to creating new material and to the repair of broken stories. 
1.3 Developing Deep Drivers for Characters 
Introduction to “Because, Because,” Arc, and Irreconcilable Self and the connection of these concepts to every moment in the lives of the characters in a story. This class will present techniques then use them to examine finished stories, works in progress, and the creation of new stories.  
1.4 Creating and Managing the Building Blocks of Scene by Using ED ACE 
Introduction to repeating patterns the reader needs in order to build the story in their hearts and minds. The techniques presented will include Opposition Pairs (a.k.a., dialectic pairs), Tactic Groups, Conflict Sets, and the use of the ED ACE tool for managing each. ED ACE stands for Emotion drives Decision drives Action drives Conflict creates new Emotion. The ED ACE tool will be demonstrated as useful in the analysis of published material, the creation of new material, and the diagnosis of existing material. 

Fiction Fluency II: Control and Production 
The four-class Fiction Fluency II Series allows participants to recognize and build patterns of success that support reader experience in all stories. The series begins with small, controllable short, short stories and then adds techniques that will support control of longer short fiction and novels. Creation, analysis, and revision will be explored in each class. 
2.1 Building Six-Layered Scenes and Combining The Layers Into Short, Short Stories 
Application of Opposition Pairs, Tactic Groups, Conflict Sets, Static Background, Dynamic Background, and Dynamic Foreground to manage scenes and deliver a short, sharp shock in short, shorts. The group will create a story using these techniques. Individuals will create their own story using these techniques. Then, the group will use the techniques to engage in analysis and revision of the stories created. The class will also begin the exploration of connecting scenes together into larger stories. Participants are encouraged to bring use their own individual scenes and/or short-short stories of less than 1000 words for the analysis and revision exercise
2.2 Controlling Story and Theme in Short and Long Fiction
Intermediate Application of Premise and Irreconcilable Self in short fiction. This seminar builds on the foundations of Opposition Pairs, Tactic Groups, and Conflict sets and adds principles of deep character psychology to theme management to link multiple scenes together to create short stories. The class will create a story as a group. Individuals may, if they are quick, create a short story. The group will explore use of the presented controls to development of new works and to diagnosis and revision of works in progress. Participants are encouraged to bring their own works in progress to use in the analysis and revision portion of this seminar.
2.3 Developing Story Top-down and Bottom-up
Presents the application of control statements as a beginning place for creating short or long work. Also presents the application of control statements as analysis and revision tools for existing stories. How to create and revise cognitively or intuitively. This seminar makes use of material presented in previous Fiction Fluency classes and seminars. Specifically, the ED ACE tool will be applied repeatedly. Also, the control concepts presented in the previous class will be applied to both the creation of story and the analysis and revision of story.
2.4 Manifesting Character in Text: Voice, Tone, Distance, Subjectivity, Choice of Person
Examines existing in-process stories and demonstrates techniques for revision based on the themes, characters, and conflicts. Demonstrates how to make choices regarding voice, tone, distance, subjectivity, and person both prior to composition and during revisions. Shows how these changes ripple through the story. The seminar assumes familiarity with ED ACE, Control Statements, and Character Drivers. The Because, Because tool will also play a strong roll in explorations of character and consequent choices. Participants will participate in experiments in revision that will reveal the impact of various choices on reader experience.

Fiction Fluency III: Extended Techniques, Refinement, and Revision 
The four-class Fiction Fluency III Series allows participants to use the previously presented tools and techniques to manage more complex stories, including multiple POV, multiple timeline, and switchback plotting without losing the emotional drivers that keep the reader engaged. The final class in the series will explore final refinements and marketing skills.  
3.1 Managing Multiple POV Construction 
Discusses story lacing, suspense, and pacing. Demonstrates processes for multiple point of view, chronological switch-back plotting and non-chronological dramatic support for multiple storylines and/or subplots. This seminar builds on the use of Control Statements, Thematic Control, and ED ACE at multiple layers. It presents techniques for managing multiple stories concurrently in a single text. Tips and tricks for using Word Processors and Spreadsheets as production management tools will be presented. However, every technique presented can also be managed by use of index cards or tools like Scribner. 
3.2 Building Nested Structures and Push-Pop Plots: more story lacing, suspense, and pacing 
Builds on Multiple POV Construction. Explores execution of experimental stories, use of nested story elements, and management of reader inferencing for pacing and suspense. While this seminar is not entirely dependent on the Managing Multiple POV Construction seminar, the techniques presented will be more powerful if the previously presented concepts are understood. This seminar focuses more on how and when to interrupt scenes and story threads in order to increase suspense and build reader investment. The seminar will also explore application of these techniques for experimentation and creation of “experimental stories.” 
3.3 Exploiting the Existing Text 
Focuses on revision processes using Control Statements, Reader Acquisition Patterns, ED ACE, re-visioning, found symbols, exploitation of refrains, screen tests, false scenes, extreme testing, and management of levers, ratchets, buttons, and motifs. Revisits many previous concepts from the perspective of creating emotional impact after the story has been written. This seminar is almost entirely about top-down revision processes. It demonstrates efficiencies based on understanding the difference between “dramatically complete” and “emotional best form.”
3.4 Revising to Sell  
Presents efficiencies in final polish, which will assume understanding of previously presented topics. Discusses the shift of perception from creation to productization. Establishes the business of selling as a separate practice from the craft of creation. Presents tools, processes, and forms for approaching the markets. Presents resources and research techniques. Discusses the use of various types of analysis groups (a.k.a., critique groups).  
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