There are two destinations for which you can’t buy a ticket: the past and the future. This is as true in fiction as it is in reality. No matter how much we might want to uncover the past or anticipate the future, our creative endeavors take place in the here and now. And so do our stories. The time and space we enter at the beginning of a story is the eternal present of that text and when we turn over the last page, time, for the characters who have so engaged us, simply stops.

But what about the events that lead up to the first sentence, and the world left unfolding at the end of the tale? There are two questions every reader entertains but only the author can answer: Where did these people come from? What will happen to them after the story is over?

In this course we will discuss the stories you submit with an eye to the “back story” as well as to the future events promised by the final sentence. We will share brief exercises in which we literally go where no one has gone before—into the creative imagination of the person sitting next to you, boldly creating scenes that might have been and may eventually be, and thereby expanding the horizons of the imaginative space and time under review.


Writers of all levels are invited to apply for this workshop. To be considered, submit a sample of your writing (15-20 double-spaced pages), as well as a brief bio. Send as a single Word document to miles[at]kwls[dot]org with “Martin Workshop Submission” in the subject heading.

About Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin is the author of nine novels, including The Confessions of Edward Day, Mary Reilly, The Great Divorce, Italian Fever, Property, and Trespass; three collections of short fiction; and a biography of St. Francis of Assisi, titled Salvation. She has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kafka Prize (for Mary Reilly), and Britain’s Orange Prize (for Property). She has taught in writing programs at Mt. Holyoke College, the University of Massachusetts, and Sarah Lawrence College, among others.