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11/24 3 Tools for Immersing the Reader with Tamara Guirado

Date: Saturday, November 24, 2012 Time: 10 am-2pm Number of sessions: 1--One Day Workshop! Members: $60 Nonmembers: $72 Location: Ink Spot, 710 13th St, Studio 210, San Diego, CA 92101

Fiction Baptism—Three Tools for Immersing the Reader

In this fun, exercise-based workshop we will practice three important techniques for submerging and enthralling our readers: manipulating the senses, the clock, and the camera.

Tool 1: With sensory imagery—the smell of cut grass, the taste of blood, the silver gleam of fish scales, the sound of sheet metal twanging in the wind—we engross and absorb the reader in the territory of our story.

Tool 2: Time in fiction does not run consistently. We speed it up (with narrative summary), slow it down (with sensory description), rewind it (with flashback), and jump ahead (with flash-forward).

Tool 3: Like a movie camera lens, point of view zooms in an out in fiction—we may begin with a wide, establishing shot of the Tasmanian countryside, ocean clear and bright—then zoom in for a medium shot of a girl in a yellow swimsuit, digging with a clam shovel—then telescope all the way in for a close-up in which not only do we see the girl’s freckles but also hear her thoughts.

In this class we’ll practice these techniques by modeling master inkslingers (like Marguerite Duras and Wells Tower) and plunge into our own fictional worlds.


Tamara Avila Guirado was born close enough to Disneyland to see the fireworks. Her short story “Dog Children” was included in Best New American Voices 2005 and her short story “Above Asmara” won a Robie McCauley Award from StoryQuarterly and was subsequently included as a Special Mention in the 2009 Pushcart Prize Anthology.  She was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fiction Fellowship at Stanford University, a Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, and a Sacatar Foundation Fellowship in Bahia, Brazil. She has taught fiction and creative nonfiction for over ten years in universities, caves, and seedy motels. She holds an M.F.A. from Mills College in Oakland, CA.



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