Tag Archive for writing classes

Winter Seattle Writing Classes: The Arc of the Story

Seattle writing classes: The Arc of the Story

Seattle writing classes: The Arc of the Story

The Arc of the Story: Winter Seattle Writing Classes

Readers crave stories. Structuring a piece of writing in terms of a story is the single most effective way of holding an audience’s attention. It’s the secret behind compelling short story and nonfiction writers as well as popular novelists like Stephen King or John Grisham and popular nonfiction like Eric Larson’s Devil in the White City or Lauren Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. These authors sell millions of books because they tell a good, suspenseful story. They make readers wonder, “What will happen next?”

My new winter class, The Arc of the Story, will teach you how to tell a great story or book chapter. We’ll start by sketching the arc of the story, move to writing a scene, the fundamental building block of narrative, whether in fiction, nonfiction or film. Then we’ll write a point of view exercise to discover the ideal perspective from which to tell the story, whether first person, second person or third person point of view. Then you’ll write a 1500- to 2500-word draft of your story or book chapter with a beginning, middle and end. After receiving a detailed critique, you’ll polish and revise your story or book chapter for publication. The final assignment, a publication report, will help you find the perfect home for the story, greatly enhancing the chance of publication.

The course will run on Wednesday evenings Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31, Feb. 7, 21, 18 and one Monday evening, Feb.12, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 221 of the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford (4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.)

There will be six assignments, including a 150-word story sketch, a 250-word dramatic scene, a 250-word point of view exercise, a 1500- to 2500-word story or book chapter, a revised story or chapter, and a 250- to 500-word publication report. In addition to the classroom work, I will schedule individual conferences with each student. This will give me a chance to go over your work with you one-on-one and suggest ways to improve it.

Texts: Story Craft by Jack Hart and The Best American Essays of the Century edited by Joyce Carol Oates, available at the Elliott Bay Book Company or other bookstore.

To enroll, please send me check for $625 to 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or you can pay with a credit card through the paypal link on my website, www.thewritersworkshop.net.   Enrollment is limited to 15. The class usually fills several weeks before the starting date. For more information, contact me at nick@Thewritersworkshop.net or 206-284-7121.

Fall Seattle Writing Classes: Revising Your Life

Bird by Bird in Seattle Writing Classes.

Bird by Bird in Seattle Writing Classes.

Revising Your Life: Turning True Events into Compelling Stories

It may happen in the shower. On the way to work. Taking a crowded elevator. Suddenly a story idea seizes you. You must write it down! You find a pen and piece of paper, plunge into the story, and write nonstop until you finish a first draft. You put it aside. A day goes by. Two days. You pick it up again.  Sure there’s some good stuff there, but the rest of it is, well, less than perfect.

If you’re like most writers, you put the material in the drawer and hope someday to get around to finishing it. How do you push beyond the messy first draft most writers produce to craft a compelling story or book chapter? This eight-week class in nonfiction and fiction will show you how to make that happen. You’ll learn essential techniques of research, interviewing, leads, profiles, structuring, revision, and how to put the finished manuscript into the hands of the right editor.

The course will run Oct. 11 to November 29 on Wednesday evenings and one Monday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 221 of the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford (4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.)

There will be six assignments, including a 150-word story idea, a 250-word research assignment, a 150-word lead, a 1500- to 2500-word first person story, a revised first person story, and a 250-word cover letter. In addition to the classroom work, I will schedule individual conferences with each student. This will give me a chance to go over your work with you one-on-one and suggest ways to improve it.

Texts: Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, available at the Elliott Bay Book Company or other bookstore.

To enroll, please send me check for $625 to 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or you can pay with a credit card through the paypal link on my website. www.thewritersworkshop.net. Enrollment is limited to 15. For more information, contact me at nick@Thewritersworkshop.net or 206-284-7121.

Winter Seattle Writing Class: Follow the Story

follow the storyThe Seattle Writing Class Follow the Story will explore the genres of fiction and nonfiction. The eight-week course will introduce you to a wonderfully diverse mix of writing–personal essays, memoirs, profiles, travel stories, short light pieces and short stories. What are the “rules” and conventions of each genre? How can you use genre to deepen and enrich your own work? How can genre help you hit all the right notes in your writing? You’ll also learn essential techniques of narrative writing–dramatic scenes, dialogue, characterizations and scene by scene construction. The Seattle writing course will run January 11 to Feb. 15 on Wednesday evenings  and two Monday evenings, (Jan. 23, 30) from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 221 of the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford (4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.)

In addition to the classroom work, I’ll schedule individual conferences with each of you after the Seattle Writing Class. This will give me a chance to go over your story or book chapter with you one-on-one and suggest ways to improve it. There will be six assignments: a 150-word story idea or book concept statement, a 250-word scene, a 250-word genre exercise, a 1500- to 2500-word story or book chapter and its revision, a publication report for your story or book. The cost will be $625 per person. Texts: Follow the Story by James Stewart; Best American Essays of the Century edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Both titles are available at the Elliott Bay Book Company.

To enroll, send a check for $625 to Nick O’Connell, 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109. The course is limited to 15 participants and usually fills several weeks prior to the start of class. For more information, see my website, www.thewritersworkshop.net or contact me at nick@thewritersworkshop.net or call 206-284-7121.

REVISING YOUR LIFE: FALL WRITING CLASS

Bird by Bird in Seattle Writing Classes.

There’s still room in my fall writing class, Revising Your Life, which is a great choice for those getting back into writing, working on a memoir, or simply honing your craft. For more:

Revising Your Life: Turning True Events into Compelling Stories

It may happen in the shower. On the way to work. Taking a crowded elevator. Suddenly a story idea seizes you. You must write it down! You find a pen and piece of paper, plunge into the story, and write nonstop until you finish a first draft. You put it aside. A day goes by. Two days. You pick it up again.  Sure there’s some good stuff there, but the rest of it is, well, less than perfect.

If you’re like most writers, you put the material in the drawer and hope someday to get around to finishing it. How do you push beyond the messy first draft most writers produce to craft a compelling story or book chapter? This eight-week class in nonfiction and fiction will show you how to make that happen. You’ll learn essential techniques of research, interviewing, writing scenes, character sketches, structuring, revision, and how to put the finished manuscript into the hands of the right editor.

The course will run Oct. 14 to Dec. 2 on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 221 of the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford (4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.)

There will be six assignments, including a 150-word story idea, a 250-word research assignment, a 1500- to 2500-word first person story, a revised first person story, and a 250-word cover letter. In addition to the classroom work, I will schedule individual conferences with each student. This will give me a chance to go over your work with you one-on-one and suggest ways to improve it.

Texts: Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Best American Essays of the Century edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Both titles are available at the Elliott Bay Book Company, 206-624-6600.

To enroll, please send a check for $625 to Nick O’Connell, 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or click on the Buy Now button below to pay with a credit card. The course is limited to 15 participants and usually fills several weeks prior to the start of class. For more information, contact me at nick@thewritersworkshop.net or call 206-284-7121.

 

Fall Writing Retreat, Sept. 19 – 21

At Icicle Creek Center for the Arts, Leavenworth, Washington

Taught by Nicholas O’Connell, MFA Ph.D.

Journal writing is an integral part of the program. Do you have a story you’re burning to write, but never have time to get it done? If so, this is the course for you. This intensive weekend seminar, taught by one of the Northwest’s master teachers, will help you complete a personal essay or story from start to finish.

You will utilize writing practice techniques to generate an entire rough draft of your story in several hours. By the end of the weekend (Sept. 17-19) you will have your piece finished and the polishing process well in hand.

You will learn craft techniques, including how to use characters to sharpen and deepen your work, that would otherwise require weeks of coursework to assimilate.

You will learn secrets of how to prepare the piece for the market and how and where to send it. The Friday (Sept. 17) session 4 to 6 p.m. will include an introduction to the course and dinner at the inspiring Icicle Creek Center for the Arts outside Leavenworth. The Saturday (9 to 4) and Sunday (9 to noon) sessions will be held at the center’s Canyon Wren recital hall, a peaceful, beautiful place designed to enhance our creative work together.

The course fee will be $425 per person double occupancy, $400 triple occupancy, $500 single occupancy, or $325 for meals but no lodging. The fee includes two nights lodging, four meals, and expert writing instruction.

To enroll, please send Nicholas O’Connell a check at 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or you can pay with a credit card via the Paypal link above. The course is limited to 15 participants and will likely fill quickly.

The Book as Physical Object

The book as physical object. Though the number of electronic books continues to grow, there’s nothing quite like a book with an appealing cover design, elegant type and tempting jacket copy. With the explosion in growth of electronic books, such details are increasingly being lost. That’s why I so enjoyed receiving in the mail a stack of my new novel, The Storms of Denali. Yes, the carton was heavy, the postage was expensive, but turning the book over in my hands, the smell, feel, and tactile sensation of it was pure pleasure.
For an author, the physical book is a proof that your idea, your world, your characters have become real. Authors can tend to doubt this will ever happen, especially after working for years on a project as I did on the novel, wondering if the words will ever reach a larger audience. The physical book is proof that they will. The Storms of Denali will be out to bookstores within the next few weeks.
Readers benefit as a well-designed book enhances the pleasure and experience of reading, turning the pages with your fingers, working back and forth to take in all the details and insights and appeal of the manuscript.
I have nothing against digital books. I read them myself, but when it comes to a work I really want to devour, nothing beats the actual, physical, tree -sacrificed paper pages of a book.

Nicholas O’Connell, M.F.A, Ph.D., is the author of the forthcoming The Storms of Denali (U of Alaska and U of Chicago presses), On Sacred Ground: The Spirit of Place in Pacific Northwest Literature (U.W. Press, 2003), At the Field’s End: Interviews with 22 Pacific Northwest Writers (U.W. Press, 1998), Contemporary Ecofiction (Charles Scribner’s, 1996) and Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers (Mountaineers, 1993). He contributes to Newsweek, Gourmet, Saveur, Outside, GO, National Geographic Adventure, Condé Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sierra, The Wine Spectator, Commonweal, Image and many other places. He is the publisher/editor of The Writer’s Workshop Review and the founder of the online and Seattle-based writing program, www.thewritersworkshop.net.