The Makery – Turning Real Life into Fiction

April 16th, 23rd, 30th.
Class will meet from 1:00-3:00 PM EST via Zoom
We will explore the act of writing a story using true elements. Why choose a fictional approach? Does that preclude the same material as memoir or poetry? How much do you need to change a story for it to become good fiction? How do you access new material on a regular basis by mining your own experience and memory? We will use the text Ron Carlson Writes a Story, by Ron Carlson, and we will attempt to follow his example of using different events or memories to develop a fiction narrative by rubbing those things together to generate some story friction. The goal is to have a rough draft of a story by the end of the third class. Each class is three hours on a Sunday afternoon. Each student will also get a 30-minute private consultation.


Class # 1 April 16th: First we discuss why fiction vs. nonfiction. Do you have to choose? We will explore ways to jog memory and select material as well as explore the ways you can use true stories, yours or collected ones, to generate fiction. In this class we will do some memory work and select content to use in building a fictional story rooted in lived experience.
Class # 2 April 23rd: We will discuss the short text and explore ways to apply Carlson’s method of rubbing two or more disparate things together to generate story conflict. By using free writing as a method, we begin to create a new piece of fiction based on experience, character development, and plot complications using the 8-point story arc. Rough drafts will be shared.
Class #3 April 30th : We will share completed rough drafts and discuss the directions revisions might take these stories as they continue to build muscle on bone.



Darnell Arnoult is prize-winning author of Galaxie Wagon: Poems and What Travels With Us: Poems and the novel Sufficient Grace, which received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. Her shorter works have appeared in a variety of journals, including Appalachian Heritage, Asheville Poetry Review, Nantahala Review, Now and Then, Sandhills Review, Southern Cultures, Southern Exposure, Southwest Review, and various anthologies.

Darnell holds a BA in American Studies with a concentration in Southern Folklore from The University of North Carolina at Chapel , the MA in English and Creative Writing from North Carolina State University, and the MFA in Creative Writing from University of Memphis.




Apr 16 - 30 2023




Virtual Class


Corey Terry

Other Organizers

Melissa Helton