The Story Intensive + Meeting Momoko


Sarah Selecky is a Canadian writer. She wrote a collection of short stories called This Cake is for the Party. {It was shortlisted for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize if you follow that kind of thing. It’s a big deal in Canucklandia.} She is currently working on a novel featuring a character from one of her stories.

Sarah has also created an online writing school that I adore. The course itself is called Story is a State of Mind and if you are a particularly disciplined sort, you can work through the modules on your own. I suspect that most of us find this kind of self-directedness pretty challenging which makes The Story Intensive very good news!

In 2012, I purchased Story is a State of Mind and enrolled in the Story Intensive which was still in its infancy. The Intensive is set up much like an MFA workshop in that you work with a tutor and a group of fellow-writers. Writers work through the course material, readings and exercises individually and then share excerpts of their writing with each other for feedback. The environment in the virtual classroom is positive and supportive. I appreciate the deadlines and the structure of the program. I particularly like being accountable to my writing peers each week; in my world, that’s how things get done.

As I was making my way through the exercises, I met a fictional character named Momoko. I say met… because that’s how it felt… but, of course, I created her. I wrote her into existence. Momoko is not a version of someone I have met in the real world or even a composite of different people. She is her own unique constellation of characteristics, dreams and actions. In some ways, she is quite a traditional person but then, at times, she isn’t. She is lovely and charming and she keeps growing which is what real people do. Ever since I first wrote about her three years ago, she has been the star of my fiction-writing show.

There are now thirteen Momoko stories.  A baker’s dozen. The collected stories are starting to take shape, to organize themselves into a larger story arc. One woman’s story. I can’t wait to see {write} what will happen next.

Here’s the thing… although I have been blogging since 2006, I had not written any fiction since graduate school. The Story Intensive, in which I have enrolled for a third time, brought me back to my own fiction-writing and allowed me to create Momoko and the rich world she inhabits.

Thank you, Sarah! xo

{You can enroll in The Story Intensive here until Friday 15 August and the course starts on September 1st. The Story Intensive is a great gift to yourself.}

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