How To Color In A Story: Building Atmosphere and Texture in Fiction with Dani Bormes

    Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at 11:00 AM until Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 1:00 PMEastern Daylight Time

    Instructor: Dani Bormes
    2 hour VIRTUAL sessions on Wednesdays
    11:00 AM to 1:00 PM EST
    Workshop is limited to 15 registrants

    Course Description
    What energizes a work of fiction? What does it mean for a writer to have their own “voice”? Think about your favorite stories, why do you love them? In the hands of excellent writers, even the most dull plots can be animated and made deeply compelling. How do they do this? How do they elevate a work of fiction from a description of events into an artistic expression of self with its own distinct flavor and pathos? 

    In this workshop, we will operate with the idea that fiction requires more than just an interesting plot and constructs like beginning, middle, and end. We will examine the different ways a writer can use texture and ambience to make their story emotionally engaging. We will focus specifically on scenes and how they are rendered. Every moment, every sentence, in a work of fiction is a path explored, or, as importantly, left unexplored. Every path is an opportunity to place the reader more deeply inside the work.

    There will be writing exercises, class discussions, some lecturing and, as needed, we will examine some short readings of excellent and stylistically diverse writers, from the lush confessionalism of Akwaeke Emezi, to the taut ecosystems of Anne Garetta. 

    Students will share writing. Feedback will be concerned with what paths the story invites the reader to wander down, where is more texture needed, and where can the writer withhold information. The goal of this workshop is to have fun, build confidence, and develop different methods of coloring in the body of a text. From writers just starting out, to more seasoned wordsmiths, all are welcome.

    Who Should Take This Class?
    This class is for writers who have a story they want to tell and want to refine the way they tell it. Whether you’re knee deep in a novel or just sketching out ideas for short stories, this workshop will help you develop the tools necessary to imbue your writing with your unique tone, and add vibrancy to the stories you tell. 

    Your Instructor
    Dani Bormes holds an MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College where they were the recipient of the Sarah Lawrence Graduate Scholarship. They have degrees in both English and History from Loyola University Maryland where they received a National Research Fellowship. This past February, they led a creative writing workshop for high school students that focused on scene building, and creating connective tissue between scenes. They have worked extensively with writers across the spectrum of ambition from those working toward publication, to those who simply want to improve. Dani seeks to actively curate a sense of generosity and joy in any workshop space they enter and they look forward to engaging with your art.


    Mailing Address
    Mailing Address
    What is your current level of education?
    What is your current level of education?
    Are you an alum of Sarah Lawrence College?
    Are you an alum of Sarah Lawrence College?
    Amount DueEdit Amount

    Note: Details about Zoom links and any other information relevant to the workshop will be emailed to you the week before workshops begin. If you have questions about the registration process, please call us at 914-323-6170 or email

    Refund Policy: No refunds are given on one-day intensives, advanced classes, and yearlong classes where space is limited. 100% refund before 1st class (minus $50 administrative and registration fee), 50% refund after 1st class (minus $50 registration fee), no refunds after 2nd class for all other workshops. ALL cancellations and requests for refunds must be received in writing. Please contact with questions or to submit a refund request.