A week-long Craft of Fiction Workshop was organised by The English Group at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru campus from 5 – 9 December 2022. A group of 10 students was a part of this intensive, hands-on workshop conducted by author Devika Rege that helped them learn the craft of literary fiction.
For the workshop, all ten students had to come up with a story each which was analysed and critiqued over the course of five days. Two stories were discussed each day. Devika aided the students with the tools of critiquing and writing a work of literary fiction in a way that was both fun and enlightening.
This workshop was not solely about understanding the intricacies or accuracies of the use of grammar in fiction, but more importantly about the emotional core of these stories, and how a writer could employ different literary tools to diminish the distance between their intention and what actually shows up on the page.
With a round of introductions on the first day of the workshop, all the students deep-dived into engaging with the motivations behind and experiences with writing. This provided an opportunity for the students to gel with fellows from different backgrounds and understand varied perspectives.
Concepts like plot structure, theme, characterisation, POV of characters, use of metaphors, three-act structure, editing and proofreading, and representation of different communities in writing were discussed elaborately during the workshop. The hands-on approach used in the workshop enabled the students to apply their learnings on the spot.
I think this workshop was completely worth staying back for. I learnt so much in the span of five days, much of which I had not learnt over the last five years that I have been a literature major in school and college. It was refreshing to read from the perspective of a writer and to truly understand the ‘craft of fiction’ as the title of the workshop promised. I had a wonderful time!
(As shared by the students)
- Avoid overwriting
- Avoid the use of archaic language unless the context demands it
- Specificity over generality
- Active voice over passive voice
- Show. Don’t tell.
- Learn the rules and then break them.
- Don’t tell the reader what to feel. Let them feel it.
With a truckload of knowledge, networking, and some book recommendations, this workshop was a unique and much-cherished experience for the students. They were delighted to have Devika who not only taught them the technicalities and the “craft” of literary writing but also helped them realise their purpose and motivation behind writing.
Hear from students about their experiences:
About the mentor
Devika Rege was born and raised in Pune. Her debut novel will be published by Fourth Estate, HarperCollins India, in 2023. Excerpts from the novel have earned fellowships at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.
She holds a Masters in Fine Arts (Fiction) from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Maytag Fellow.
Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the Portside Review (Perth), Asia Literary Review, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, The North (UK), and Penguin First Proof Volume 6.