Summer Craft Intensive: Elaine Hsieh Chou


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Editor's Note

What Film & TV Can Teach Us About Stories & Novels with Elaine Hsieh Chou
Saturday, August 26th
1 PM – 4 PM PST/ 4 PM – 7 PM EST

As a fiction writer turned screenwriter, I have discovered that structuring and planning a film or a TV series offers an abundance of tools, resources and inspiration that can be applied to long-form fiction (short stories or novels). When feeling stuck with a piece of fiction, I would break it down into beats or write scene summaries on flash cards to create a visual storyboard. When putting together pitch decks/bibles for film and TV projects, I realized they also function as incredibly succinct yet comprehensive outlines for stories and novels. How can this three-dimensional medium open up new avenues in fiction writing?

Using the tools of film and TV structure, this craft class is designed to help writers who are feeling stuck or simply need a boost getting their fiction project going, no matter what stage it’s in. We will learn about different film and TV structures, character sketching, pitch decks/bibles and beat sheets with built-in exercises. By the time the class is finished, you will have a completed pitch deck/bible with character sketches, plus a beat sheet that acts as the emotional arc of your protagonist. More generally, we will discuss how the tenets of film and TV can unlock engaging, imaginative and powerful storytelling. The goal of the class is for you to leave excited and re-energized about your fiction project, with a clear and detailed map of where to take it next.

This class will be of most interest to writers who are looking for “big picture” and structural help with their fiction project or have the seed for an idea they want to develop. It will also be of interest to writers who want to adapt their completed fiction project for the screen.

The scholarship for this craft intensive has been awarded.


BIO: Elaine Hsieh Chou is a Taiwanese American writer from California. Her debut novel DISORIENTATION (Penguin Press) was a New York Times Editors’ Choice Book, a Malala Book Club Pick and an Indie Next Pick. A 2017 Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow at NYU and a 2021 NYFA Artist Fellow, her short fiction appears in Guernica, Tin House Online, Ploughshares, The Atlantic and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and the Fred R. Brown Literary Award. As a workshop instructor, she has taught fiction for NYU, Catapult, Accent Society and Kundiman. Her multi-genre short story collection WHERE ARE YOU REALLY FROM is forthcoming from Penguin Press.

As a screenwriter, Elaine is adapting DISORIENTATION into a feature film for AppleTV, co-produced by Malala Yousafzai’s Extracurricular Productions and Adam McKay’s Hyperobject Industries. She is also in development on a TV series.