Category Archives: teaching
Once you’ve mastered the basics of getting words on a page and moving characters around through situations, there’s some things that (in my experience) the majority of writers need to focus on. Examples are narrative grammar, paragraphing strategies, trimming excess from sentences, and getting inside a character’s head. Here, I’m going to discuss the last of those.
A lot of this is taken from correspondance with my student Hasnain. He’d asked about story structures, particularly Freitag’s Triangle, and we’d discussed where the triangle occurs in Junot Diaz’s story, Fiesta 1980. In looking at his most recent story, I’d said I thought he needed to get inside his main character’s head more.
Got a class coming up Sunday that I wanted to tout a bit, since there are still openings. One of the ways I figure out classes is by paying attention to what questions come up over and over again in the Writing F&SF class. Enough people were asking about all sorts of aspects of electronic publishing that we could run a day long session on it.
Instead, Tod McCoy of Hydra House and I are going to try to cover some basics over the course of a two hour session, including questions like this: Continue reading
It’s spring in Seattle and I’m celebrating by trying something new. A class that will equip you to record, post, and publicize your own podcast.
What am I doing right now? Mainly I’m elbows-deep in the rewrite of the fantasy novel, currently titled THE MOONS OF TABAT, which may change. But on other fronts:
This is the class that more people have enthused about afterwards than any other, in my experience. It’s team-taught. You give us the first 500 words of your novel. One of the instructors reads it aloud, then both discuss it.
Sounds pretty simple, no? Sure. It’s that simplicity that lets the instructors range across a wide array of tools and strategies.
We’re currently covering characters in the Writing F&SF class, so I thought I’d pull out a little from my notes.
Some simplistic stories have characters that seem like placeholders, as though any individual could fit into that slot. Fairy tales, for instance, tend to have generic characters: the princess, the prince, the witch. One delightful strategy for working with them, in fact, is to pick a character and flesh them out to the point where they shape the story.
Characters need to do this. They need to influence the story and make it one that could only happen to them.
So I wanted a postcard to put on con giveaway tables advertising my classes because I’m always trying to scare up new students. I know that once they take one class, they’re very likely to take more from me, which really pleases me, but the trick is getting them into that first one. Yeah, it's not particularly pro looking, but the colors are bright and pretty, so perhaps a few people will be intrigued enough to pick it up. Note that the postcard itself trims some of the edge off, so what you see here is not entirely representative of the final result.
Okay, so I’ve realized I have to bite the bullet and learn to do some graphics stuff or else be dependent on other people, which is irritating. So here’s an attempt at a postcard advertising my classes, which I thought I’d use at cons to promote them. I know this is lame, but suggestions are very welcome. First up is a different font, I think.
I’ve got a new round of classes coming up this week and still have slots open in all three sessions. One is Wednesday nights, the second Thursday nights, and the third Saturday morning. All are taught online – all you … Continue reading