Pure Poe POV with "Ghost Eaters" author Clay McLeod Chapman

Nurture your inner unreliable narrator in this three-week workshop focusing on first person fiction.

Your Instructor: Clay McLeod Chapman (author of "Ghost Eaters")

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 16

Price: $300

Class Description

Let’s get in the headspace of morally questionable characters and see the world through their sordid eyes. This workshop harnesses our inner-Poe in order to identify and isolate the curdling point within our narrators and how their point-of-view effects the telling of the tale. Regardless of the genre, whether it's horror or noir, science fiction or mystery, our narrators always lie—either to themselves or to the reader, or perhaps both—so let’s see if we can help them dig their way out from their own self-imposed hole.

Whether it’s Patrick Bateman in American Psycho or Joe Goldberg in You, whether it’s Fight Club or Notes from Underground or The Yellow Wallpaper, unreliable narrators are abound. Our workshop will offer writers a chance to add to the pantheon of modern day Poe, crafting short
fiction pieces rooted within first person narrative. Come ready to develop new stories from perspectives of dubious protagonists and let’s scrape away at the psychological headcheese.

What This Class Covers

WEEK ONE: Telling Your Side of the Story

Lecture: Ripped from the headlines. We’ll begin by poring through the newspaper to pluck those stories that suggest there is more to be told, then picking a perspective to tell their side of the story.

Assignment: We’ll begin by nailing down the voice, developing our story’s character by way of letting them ramble. 


WEEK TWO: Lies, Lies, Lies…

Lecture: All storytellers lie. By sheer design of subjectivity, no tale is purely true. We will focus on the partiality of our protagonists and where their perspective potentially breaks from the truth.

Assignment: Now that we’ve let our characters ramble, our goal is to harness that voice to fit a narrative structure. Whether it’s a short story or a chapter in a larger work, we will embark upon drafting a piece of fiction that stems from our protagonist’s point-of-view.


WEEK THREE: Parting Ways with Your Protagonist 

Lecture: With every solid unreliable narrator, there is a point where readers must break from their story’s guide and navigate their way out from the tale being told. We will focus on the breaking point between narrator and reader and how we as writers can capitalize on that fracture. 

Assignment: Revision-time. We will circle back on our first drafts and explore possible pivots from the truth. 

Goals Of This Class

  • Harness our inner-antihero
  • Focus on narrative voice
  • Nail down our protagonist’s POV
  • Find strength in the limited purview of first-person narrative
  • Discover ways to seduce our readers. Get them to lower their guard… then stab them in the back.
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