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Off Campus Writers' Workshop - OCWW

REMOTE: Frances De Pontes Peebles- Time in Fiction

  • March 31, 2022
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Winnetka Community House 760 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL 60093


Registration is closed

Remote Session. Please do not register for this session if you want to attend onsite 

The physicist Carlo Rivelli asks, “Do we exist in time, or does time exist in us?” In fiction, time exists as a tool that shapes our stories. Time is our creation. We must decide which events are expanded and given priority, and which can be condensed or cast away; which moments must be thoroughly explored, and which can be summarized. Time, especially in novels, creates a rhythm that becomes the heartbeat of your book. 

In this class, we will study time in fiction: how to speed up and slow down, when to jump into the past and when to stay present. We will explore how to write rich, inventive summary and how to craft scenes that move a story forward rather than freezing it in place. We will also talk about "seeing" time, diagramming timelines so that we can better understand the flow of time in our stories. This lecture will include handouts, readings, and ideas for take-home exercises to get you thinking about how time exists in your work. 

Please read Edwidge Danticat’s “Without Inspection,” before class, as well as the short packet of excerpts I’ll email to registered participants. 

Frances de Pontes Peebles is the author of the award-winning novels The Seamstress and The Air You Breathe. She is a 2020 Creative Writing Fellow in Literature from The National Endowment for the Arts. A native of Pernambuco, Brazil, she holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her short stories have appeared in O. Henry Prize StoriesZoetrope: All-StoryMissouri ReviewIndiana Review, and Guernica.

We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at for details.

9-9:30 Socializing 

9:30-12 Program 

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