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Off Campus Writers' Workshop - OCWW

Fred Shafer- The Music of Sentences #3

  • September 20, 2018
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL


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Fred Shafer- The Music of Sentences #3

            If you ask a fiction writer and a musician or a composer of any kind of music to identify the primary element in their work, they will most likely give the same answer: a pleasing and effective sense of rhythm. The late novelist Ursula Le Guin said that “Rhythm is what keeps the song going, the horse galloping, the story moving,” and when Jay-Z describes the flow of a hip-hop song as “a heartbeat or the way you breathe, it can jump, speed up, slow down, stop, or pound right through like a machine,” he could easily be talking about sentences in fiction.

Comparisons between music and writing will come up often during Fred Shafer’s workshops about the rhythms and structures of sentences on September 6, 13, 20, and 27.  Using examples taken from contemporary fiction, he will show that the discovery of rhythm can be central to the process of finding plot and meaning,

and he’ll discuss a series of related subjects, including the deep sources of rhythm; points of emphasis in sentences; the interplay that takes place among sentences of different lengths and structures; variations that occur throughout any scene, story, or chapter; the unique value of irregularity and imbalance; and the effort and pleasure that accompany revising for rhythm.

Fred Shafer is an editor, writer, and teacher of writing.  He was an editor for many years with TriQuarterly, the international literary 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 more than twenty books in the past eight years.  His own essays, reviews, and interviews with writers have appeared in several journals.

Fred will write comments on fiction manuscripts in all genres, for readers of all ages.  Manuscripts up to 20 pages, double spaced, Times New Roman font may be sent to his home, at 2128 Lincolnwood Drive, Evanston 60201. Allow time for mail delivery. Manuscripts and a check for $3.00 per page must be received by Friday, August 31.  After that date, writers can bring their submissions and checks to the first three meetings at the Winnetka Community House.  He will not accept manuscripts at the final meeting.

9:00-9:30 Socializing

9:30-12:00 Program

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