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Saturday, April 7 • 10:30am - 11:45am
5C: Conjuring Mystery in Fiction FULL
Limited Capacity full

Fiction writers talk a lot—for good reason, and to good end—about character, point of view, dialogue, scene, and summary, but in my experience, we don’t talk enough about mystery, that elusive yet essential element of fiction. It’s not easy to talk about something that, even as it encourages us to seek it, resists explanation. But if stories are one of the ways we make sense of the world, they are also how we experience whatever doesn’t make sense, whatever cannot be fully understood. They are how we stand in the presence of mystery. Flannery O’Connor describes that “extra ingredient,” which she suggested is created when “a writer puts us in the middle of some human action as it is outlined and illuminated by mystery.” So where is this ghostly electricity located, and how do you conjure it? How do we create inclusive, compelling mystery and avoid the kind that leaves a reader confounded to the point of throwing her out of the dream of the story? This will be part lecture, part discussion, and part writing. We'll take a close look at examples of the ways writers make room for mystery on the page, and you are welcome to bring an excerpt of something in progress.

avatar for Maud Casey

Maud Casey

Maud Casey is the author of three novels, most recently The Man Who Walked Away; and a short story collection, Drastic. Her book of non-fiction, The Art of Mystery: The Search for Questions, was published by Graywolf Press in January 2018. Her stories and essays have appeared in... Read More →

Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am EDT
Whittier Room - 4th Floor
  Block 5, Lecture with Q&A