Setting and Conflict, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Setting details are often either overlooked or overused.  Some writers try to pack in a lot of setting details as a way to ‘set the stage.’  Others fear the reader will be bored and the action bogged down by any attention to place.  But well-chosen and well-placed setting details are incredibly important to the impact of any narrative.  Just ask Alice Munro, Flannery O’Connor or James Joyce—all writers who make a great deal of where their stories happen.  In this morning workshop, bestselling author Jacqueline Sheehan will take you through examples and exercises that will help illuminate how to use place effectively–not just to establish ‘mood’ or engage readers’ senses, but to amplify the tension, illuminate character psychology, and echo the central conflict in your stories. A well-drawn setting creates a kind of alchemy that can both reveal character and move the story toward its conclusion.   

Saturday, January 16, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Jacqueline Sheehan, PhD is the New York Times bestselling author of The Comet’s Tale, Lost & Found, Now & Then, Picture This, The Center of the World, and The Tiger in the House. She writes NPR commentaries, travel articles, and essays including the New York Times column, “Modern Love.” She edited the anthology, Women Writing in Prison. Jacqueline teaches workshops at Grub Street in Boston and around the world. Find out more at