Any story worth reading will make a metaphysical truth claim that transcends plot. Probably the most consistent claim is that people undergo a radical transformation of character as the result of a direct contact with the unknown. In the best fiction, a character journeys into unexplored territory (the land of Oz), confronts the forces of chaos and malevolence (Dorothy v. the Wicked Witch), and finds something useful or meaningful as a result of the ordeal ("There's no place like home"). In contemporary fiction these themes tend to be far more subtle than those encountered in classic fairy tales, but the pattern remains the same. It is only through the description of an experience that a story becomes engaging. Readers want characters to do something and to change as a result of their actions and personal choices. This 4-week workshop will explore the many ways in which the protagonist in your story can shoulder a burden, confront the unknown, and embark upon a transformative experience.
Kevin Keating's essays, stories and reviews have appeared in over fifty literary journals, including Salon, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Blue Lake Review, and many others. After working as a boilermaker in the steel mills in Ohio, Kevin became a professor of English and began teaching at Baldwin Wallace University, Cleveland State University, Lorain County Community College, and John Carroll University. The Natural Order of Things, his first full-length book, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes/First Fiction Award. His second novel The Captive Condition was released as a Pantheon hardcover on in 2015.