A story is a plot, characters, setting—but where it comes alive, or doesn’t, is in its details.
Your Instructor: Kathe Koja, award-winning author of THE CIPHER, SKIN, BUDDHA BOY, the UNDER THE POPPY trilogy, among a dozen other novels and short fiction collections
Where: Online — Available everywhere!
When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here
Writers will learn to identify sense details—where writing actually meets the world, and becomes real in what readers can see, sense, feel, taste, hold—and how to create fully-realized, immersive fiction. This applies to any genre, any length work, and any writer who wants their work to be fully engaging. In our final session, we’ll explore ways that other media could be incorporated to further enrich the sense landscape.
Participants should have a finished piece of short fiction or novel excerpt ready for revision.
What This Class Covers
Week One: Time to Get Real
For your characters to be real to your reader they have to be real in the first place. And real beings, whether they’re human, alien, dragon, or whomever, are fully material, and they exist in environments that are equally real.
Your assignment: Identify all the sense details, both for characters and setting, in your short story or novel excerpt, then apply the lecture and revise.
Week Two: Do You Want Fries with That?
Sense details are also essential tools for guiding the reader through your story, for highlighting important plot elements, and for building or releasing narrative tension.
Your assignment: Apply the lecture to a piece of new writing, 500-800 words. Submit it to the instructor for line reading and feedback.
Week Three: On the Page and Beyond
Your writing may have a complementary creative component—music, visuals (think graphic novel, art, video), performance, virtual reality—that can enhance or extend that story.
Your assignment: After reviewing the lecture, submit EITHER your revised original story/novel excerpt OR your new writing to the group for feedback; each writer will suggest a complementary format for that piece, and share their reasons.
Goals Of This Class
To learn how to create fully immersive fiction.
Each writer will learn how to identify and apply sense details to their writing, and have their work professionally critiqued by Kathe Koja.