THE ART OF THE CRAFT - BEGINNING FICTION WRITING
Do you have a story in you? A great idea for a novel? Are you a natural storyteller? Do you have a creative imagination? Have you always wanted to write but just don’t know how to begin?
This is an 8 week workshop that teaches the process of writing to the beginning writer. It explores the various forms of fiction, emphasizes the elements of writing, and explains the basic building blocks of narrative writing. Each week I focus on these elements necessary for the craft of writing: theme, conflict, plot and structure, characterization, symbolism, setting, figurative language, style and dialogue, tone and voice, description, and point of view.
Recommended Reading (not required) Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
HONING THE CRAFT - INTERMEDIATE FICTION WRITING
Are you ready to write that novel or short story?
This is an 8 week workshop for the writer who already understands the basics and is ready to begin their novel or short story. It will build on the process and elements of writing and on the skills learned in the introductory class.
The focus will be on the “how” and “where” to begin in order to hook the reader, and to create worthy protagonists and antagonists, and compelling secondary characters. The goal is to advance the art of craft, strengthen the skills in working with narrative voice, dialogue, and fictional use of time, and to solidify description, dialogue, character, and plot. We will explore the subtler shades of craft, such as mood, pace, authority, imagery, and structure.
Recommended Reading (not required): The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman
POLISHING THE CRAFT - ADVANCED FICTION WRITING
Have you written your best manuscript? Are you ready for publication? Have you read and reread your work? Do you see holes in the plot? Is there enough conflict? Is there an ebb and flow? Does your story follow the “3-act” structure? Is your imagery fresh and original? Does your story have an emotional impact?
This is an 8 week workshop dedicated to reading, revising and rewriting the first draft. The focus will be on reviewing what we have written with an editorial eye. The goal of this class is to sharpen the writer’s skills as a reader, writer, and editor.
Finally, the writer will research publishing markets, review their requirements for submission, and learn how to prepare the manuscript for submission
Recommended Reading (not required): Second Sight by Cheryl B. Klein
WRITING THE MYSTERIOUS MYSTERY
What sets a mystery apart? The hidden clues? The plants? Gilliam Roberts says that it is “passion and desire” that cause desperate people to commit crimes and perform acts apart from the norm.
In this 8 week workshop, we will discover where to find the mystery, how to uncover the truths behind the clues, and to follow the evidence. We will explore the many forms of mystery, from whodunit to thriller, from private eye to police procedural. We will study the heroes and villains. The focus will be on the basic elements of writing and the special elements of mystery – the red herring, violence and murder, suspense, twists and turns, realism and revelation. We will explore the characterization of the sleuth, the significance of the mystery setting against the backdrop of normalcy, and the intensity of the mystery drama.
Recommended reading (not required): You Can Write a Mystery by Gillian Roberts
HOW TO MAKE YOUR DIALOGUE SNAP, CRACKLE, AND POP
What makes dialogue great? Revealing? Memorable? Authentic?
How do people really talk? Communicate?
The importance of great dialogue in your story cannot be overemphasized. Dialogue brings a novel to life. In children’s literature, dialogue is at the pulse of emotion, plot, conflict, drama. Think about the people you know – they are always talking, texting, listening, watching. A good plot line is essential to a good story – but great dialogue moves that plot line along.
In this 8 week workshop, we will learn the role and function of dialogue in revealing character, displaying feelings and emotions, imparting necessary information, and advancing the plot. We will listen to others and to ourselves to develop speech patterns and to practice using dialogue to bring our characters to life. Finally we will discover ways to improve the dialogue we write – from the tags we use to authenticating our characters through use of true speech. We will learn to use dialogue to show rather than tell, to build tension and drama, to reveal character in what is said and what is not said.
Recommended reading (not required): How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript by James Scott Bell
COLOR YOUR WORD - TECHNIQUES TO IMPROVE, ENRICH, & ENHANCE YOUR WRITING
What do you see every day? Walls? Windows? What do you smell? Touch? Taste? Hear? How would you describe each of those experiences?
Our words become the readers' eyes, giving us a blank canvas upon which to paint a picture to tell our story. Sensual descriptive writing engages the reader and makes our characters authentic. Vivid descriptive is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the story. It transforms your visualization of what you want your reader to experience into the words on the page.
In this course we will learn to sharpen your senses and develop your writer’s eye. For example, we will observe how smell is a useful way of getting characters to remember an event from the past, in the form of a flashback. How sound – or the absence of sound - creates ambience. How the taste of your mother’s pot roast, of the first snowflakes, of your lover’s lips makes you hunger.
Real life can be far more fascinating than fiction, and using our senses in our writing proves this truth. So the next time you sit down in front of your keyboard tap in to those five senses, and see just how they can color your words!
Recommended reading (not required): On Writing by Stephen King and Thesaurus of the Senses by Linda Hart
PULLING YOUR CHARACTER'S EMOTIONAL TRIGGER
What’s your emotional trigger? The thing that stops you in your tracks, makes your heart pound or stop, and blurs the pages of the morning paper? A lost child? A hurt puppy? A dying grandmother?
All good fiction writing has at its heart the goal “to stir up”, whether it is an adventure, a fantasy, a mystery, or a romance. Given that your emotional construct will reflect the real world, you'll rely on two types of emotions: primary emotions and secondary emotions. In this class we will study how primary emotions develop and propel your main characters' actions. We will also learn the part your characters’ secondary emotions play in the resolution of conflict brought on by the primary emotions.
The emotional journey that your character(s) take serves to heighten the interaction between your reader and that character. The reader has been on that journey, become that persona, and experienced that growth. And that is one of the many reasons we write what we write. To fuse that emotional connection between the reader and the story.
Recommended reading (not required): The Emotion Thesaurus by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman and Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias