Jeremy Townley’s work has appeared in Collier’s, Harvard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Threepenny Review, and other magazines and journals. He has taught writing and literature at the University of Portland, Pacific University, and Gotham Writers’ Workshop.
Jeremy will be teaching Launching Stories this winter. Here’s more about the class.
Q: Describe what happens in a typical class.
A: Most classes offer some combination of focused writing time, peer workshop, brief craft talks, and discussion of published fiction.
Q: What do you like most about teaching this class?
A: I love this class because it’s mainly about invention: How do we discover stories? How do we take a writing prompt–a snippet of dialogue, an unusual point of view, a new setting–and turn it into a tight, interesting scene? How do we begin develop that scene into a fully realized story? In many ways, the class encourages students to embrace what Donald Barthelme called the “not-knowing” of fiction writing.
Q: Who do you recommend this class to?
A: This class is a good fit for writers of all levels, but probably most appropriate for beginner and intermediate fiction writers.
Q: What do you hope students will get out of it?
A: I like to meet student writers wherever they are in their developmental process and push them a little further along that arc. I hope they’ll learn new ways to launch stories, as well as improve their critical acumen for reading fiction and giving and receiving peer feedback. I also hope they’ll finish the class with a clear vision for developing a new story from material they generate over the course of our time together.
Q: Describe your writing process/practice.
A: I write fiction in the morning, right after I get up and before the rest of the day’s responsibilities come crashing in on me. I try to get a first draft down without too much fretting or hand-wringing, then I work my stories through a long process of revision, rethinking structure, clarifying character, refining voice, etc. Eventually, after ten or twelve (or more!) drafts, a polished story emerges.