Course Catalog

Make Them Cry and Make Them Laugh

What does it really take to write something so uproarious, so perverse, so deeply felt, so majestically sad that it has the power to bring the reader to tears? We’ll spend some time discussing the art of timing, set-up, build-up, characterization, context, and how to profane the sacred and make sacred the profane when trying to construct and relate genuine comedy to genuine tragedy in fiction. We’ll discuss works by Junot Díaz, George Saunders, and Lorrie Moore and do several exercises. This class will challenge you to move away from jokes and punchlines and drippy sentimentality and hone in on the interplay of pathos, sincerity, gravity, and levity in producing something truly tender and truly stirring.

Presented in partnership with APRIL Festival.

Beginning Fall 2021, we will be adding select in-person classes back to our course catalog. The majority of our classes will still be offered via Zoom.

If a class says IN-PERSON in its title, it will take place in person at our permanent home in Seattle.

If a class says ASYNCHRONOUS in its title, it will take place on Wet Ink, our asynchronous learning platform.

If a class does not have a marker after its title, it will take place via Zoom.

Instructor: Jenny Zhang

Class Type: 1 Session


Start Date: 03/20/2016

Days of the Week: Sunday

Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM PDT

Minimum Class Size: 5

Maximum Class Size: 15

$85.50 Member Price:
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$95.00 General Price:

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Jenny Zhang

Jenny Zhang is a poet, writer and performer living in New York. She’s the author of the poetry collection Dear Jenny, We Are All Find (Octopus Books) and a regular contributor to Rookie. She will be visiting Seattle in March as APRIL’s 2016 Writer-in-Residence. You can find her at and on Twitter.

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