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Off Campus Writers' Workshop - OCWW

9/15 Fred Shafer - The Role of Questions in Fiction Writing

  • September 15, 2016
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL


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Asking and Answering:
The Role of Questions in Fiction Wr

   In almost every area of life, finding the right questions to ask is a key to solving problems, gaining insights, and making discoveries. Nowhere is the asking and answering of questions more important than in the creation of works of art, including short stories and novels.  When a project falls short of its potential, the artist or author may not have asked enough good questions or known where to look for answers. 
    In Fred Shafer’s four workshops, he will explain fiction writing in terms of questions that can be asked at every stage of the process, from the arrival of the first impression or idea to the completion of the final draft.  He will discuss why newer writers may have difficulty working with questions, and he’ll present ways of identifying the questions that need to be answered, recognizing the differences between questions that serve different purposes, and knowing where to look for answers. 
      In the last two workshops, he’ll look at questions that writers place directly in stories, including those seemingly raised by the characters, either when they’re alone, thinking about their lives, or when they are interacting with each other in dialogue.
    Fred is an editor, writer, and teacher of writing.  He was an editor for many years with TriQuarterly, the international journal published by Northwestern University, where he also taught fiction writing and literary editing in the School of Professional Studies.  He leads three private workshops in short story and novel writing, from which present and former members have published fourteen books in the last six years.  His own essays, reviews, and author interviews have appeared in several journals. 

*Please note: A 4 session workshop package is available to Members and Students at a discount rate of $35. This rate must be paid in full in advance or at the 1st workshop session and is nonrefundable.*  

Critique Opportunity:

Fred Shafer will accept manuscripts of up to 20 pages for all genre and all ages. This opportunity is  available exclusively to OCWW members with dues in good standing and at a fee of $3.00 per page, with a $15.00 minimum. 

For our September 8th meeting only, please email Susan Levi ASAP for specific instructions. Manuscripts must be copied, mailed and received by Fred no later than September 3rd. Apologies for the quick turnaround time as we reorganize our submission process. Standard format required: Double spaced,  Times New Roman, 12 pt font One inch margins, Pages numbered and Author’s name on first page or in header. 20 page maximum.

 For September 15, 22 and 29, only, Please bring a hard copy of your manuscript and your critique fee ($3.00 per page, with a $15.00 minimum) to the meeting the week before and hand them in to:

 Susan Levi: ----------------->Susan Levi

Checks should be made payable to OCWW. Standard format required: Double spaced, Times New Roman, 12pt font, One inch margins, Pages numbered and Author’s name on first page or in header. 20 page maximum.  


Effective August 2016

One of the outstanding benefits to being an OCWW member is the opportunity to have your work critiqued by some of our highly qualified speakers. To check if a speaker is accepting manuscripts: 

 From our website’s home page click on “events”. 

 Click “show details” for the event you are interested in to see the full description.

Critique Prerequisites, Directions, and Mandatory Fees for Submission

1.  Membership and Membership Fees:

Critiquing privileges are afforded solely to current OCWW members. Prior to submitting a manuscript for critique, the OCWW member must be current with membership fees for the current scheduling year.

2.  Send Manuscript to:

Susan Levi unless otherwise indicated. Manuscripts should be sent as attachments to email. PLEASE NOTE: Different speakers may have additional requirements or guidelines for manuscript submission. See the event description for complete details.

3.  Mandatory $10 Speaker Session Fees:

In addition to the manuscript fee, a single $10 session fee is required to submit a manuscript for an OCWW speaker’s critique. This $10 fee pays for the attendance of one session; this fee is due even if the member does not attend any of the speaker’s sessions.

4.  Speaker’s Critique Fee:

 $3 per page, with a 20 page maximum. *Please note there is a $15 (5 page) minimum*

5.  How to Pay for Your Critique:

  • Please bring your cash or check payable to OCWW to a meeting, or mail to OCWW, c/o Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL  60093. You may also let Susan Levi know if you prefer to pay online.


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