Fly Me To The Moon: Psychic Distance in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction
Have you ever read a book and felt like you would follow the narrator or character anywhere? If so, you know the power of psychic distance. “Psychic distance” is the degree of emotional attachment a reader feels for a character. But it also includes the affinity a reader has for a narrator or the story as a whole, the degree of a reader’s identification with the central characters’ minds and sensations, and how close the reader feels to the action. Psychic distance in all these forms plays an essential role in how close or “pulled in” a reader feels to a story, and whether the story has the “staying power” to linger in the reader’s mind after the last page has been read.
In this Workshop we discuss the effect of increasing and decreasing psychic distance and examine strategies for modulating psychic distance through voice, language, pacing, gesture, suspense, etc. using specific examples from the work of Annie Dillard, Lorrie Moore, Vladimir Nabokov, Marilynne Robinson, Jim Crace, Truman Capote, Jane Brox, and others. Participants will be given tools for assessing psychic distance and have a chance to try various techniques in their own writing.
This workshop is appropriate for writers and storytellers of all levels.