Saturday Workshop Series: When is a Novel NOT a Novel?

14 November 2015–When Is A Novel NOT a Novel?

When it’s a novel in short stories – that is to say, when it’s a short story sequence.

Gary Lawrence
Gary Lawrence

A short story sequence is two or more short stories that share at least one important narrative element – plot, setting, character, or theme. Short story sequences are not new; but they are experiencing a resurgence today as “novels in short stories.”

As “novels in short stories,” short story sequences are unique, because they blend the best attribute of a short story (its autonomy) with the best attribute of a novel (its unity). Imagine, if you will, a novel where every chapter stands both on its own AND as an integral part of the overall story arc. The sum is therefore often more than its parts. Louise Erdrich’s 1984 classic Love Medicine and Phil Klay’s Redeployment (2014 National Book Award winner) are two of many successful modern examples.

This workshop will define the short story sequence form; analyze a modern short story sequence written by the workshop leader; and give student writers time and guidance to explore this “sequencing” option in whatever they write: stories, novels, CNF, and/or poetry.

After a 30-year management career in the aerospace industry, Gary Lawrence now teaches composition and creative writing at GCC and Cochise College. His short stories have appeared in Short Story America print anthologies (Volumes II and III) and Four Chambers literary magazine (Volume I). He self-published his short story collection Baffled in 2013. He was also interviewed by NPR in 2014.

Gary has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA in English fromRockford College. He is originally from Rockford IL and lives today in Sierra Vista AZ with his wife Linda and their Yorkie Poo Rocky.

Join our GCC CRW community for an inspiring and informative workshop on an aspect of creative writing. Topics this year include characterization and more!

The workshops are facilitated by our CRW faculty and talented community writers. These workshops are free and open to the public.


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