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"Vivid detail is the life blood of fiction...in all major genres, the inner strategy is the same: the reader is regularly presented with proofs – in the form of closely observed details – that what is said to be happening is really happening." — John Gardner, "The Art of Fiction"
Those "closely observed details" are what make our stories come alive and engage the reader in both the external world we're creating and the inner-lives of our characters. In this workshop and discussion, we'll discuss strategies for honing in on illuminating the "telling detail" and explore how the selection of realistic, concrete and specific details can help us create verisimilitude, illustrate theme, establish narrative authority, develop an idiosyncratic voice and avoid generic cliche.
Original image credit: "The Garden of Earthly Delights (Hell)" (detail), Hieronymous Bosch.About Tara IsonTara Ison is the author of three novels: "The List" (Scribner); "A Child out of Alcatraz" (Faber & Faber), a Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and "Rockaway" (Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press), featured as one of the "Best Books of Summer" in O, The Oprah Magazine in July 2013. "Ball," a short story collection, was published in 2015, and her collection of essays, "Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love, and Die at the Movies," was the 2015 PEN Southwest Book Award-winner for creative nonfiction. Her short fiction, essays, poetry and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Salon, Electric Literature, The Kenyon Review, The Rumpus, Nerve.com, Black Clock, TriQuarterly, The Mississippi Review, The Santa Monica Review, Publishers Weekly, The Week, LA Weekly, O, the Oprah Magazine and numerous anthologies. She is also the co-writer of the cult film "Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead."