F187. The Shape of Fiction: A Look at Structuring Novel-Length Prose

Salon F, Washington Convention Center, Level One
Friday, February 10, 2017
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


When we talk about the structure of narrative, it is often by using the Freytag pyramid: rising action, plateau, denoument, climax, and so on. This panel will discuss the reality of plotting/structuring a novel, often using criteria that has little or nothing to do with Freytag. Structure can be based on criteria unconcerned with plot and plot can go far from structure. What possibilities exist and how might we offer such possibilities to ourselves and our students?



Christian Kiefer is author of the novels The Infinite Tides and The Animals, and the novella One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place Left to Hide. He is recipient of a Pushcart Prize and holds a PhD in American literature from University of California, Davis.

Jeff Jackson is the author of the novel Mira Corpora, a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. His short fiction has appeared in Guernica, Vice, the Common, and Collagist. Six of his plays have been produced by the Obie-Award winning Collapsable Giraffe theater company in New York City.

Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of the novel The Border of Paradise. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan, and has written essays for publications including the Believer, the New Inquiry, and Salon.

Janet Fitch is the author of the novels White Oleander and Paint It Black. She is currently finishing a novel set during the Russian Revolution.

Kirstin Chen is the author of the novel Soy Sauce for Beginners. A former Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, she has received awards from Hedgebrook, Sewanee, and the Napa Valley Writers Conference. Her short stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Drunken Boat, Hobart, Pank, and others.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center