If you’ve had a novel, memoir, short story or essay that’s been kicking around in the back of your head for a while, this is the class for you. In this 6-week class, we’ll look into the ways that writers make those vague story ideas coalesce into compelling narratives and explore the different approaches to getting them on the page.
We’ll do writing exercises to jumpstart the creative process, read craft essays and published stories to stir up our imaginations and even play some games designed to free up our thinking. Students will also have the chance to share their writing in workshop sessions. We’ll discover some tips and tricks to take us from wondering what to write about to wondering what to write about first.
This class is designed for writers of all skill levels and across genres, from first timers to those who are looking for their next project.
Week 1: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. Every great piece of literature starts with a blank page, but it doesn’t stay blank for long. In the first session, we’ll talk about where we get our ideas and how we turn them into stories. Then, we’ll think about beginnings to stories, studying the opening lines from a variety of short fiction, novels and essays.
Week 2: What Have I Gotten Myself Into? Sometimes starting a piece is easy, but then we lose our way. We’ll look into how we keep up the enthusiasm for a story, and power through the hard parts. In doing so, we’ll look at some of the craft elements of a narrative. We’ll try some writing exercises that take us out of our comfort zones and illustrate different potential approaches to storytelling.
Week 3: When to Read the Map, and When to Fold It Up and Put it Away. Some writers are meticulous planners, and some just wing it. We’ll look at the pros and cons of outlining vs. “pantsing” and the ways we can take the strengths of each method and apply it to our own processes. We’ll also look at some of the “rules” of writing and when we can break them.
Week 4: “All that David Copperfield Kind of [Stuff].” Point of View can be one of the most important decisions one must make in building their stories. We’ll discover how POV is not just limited to 1st vs 3rd person, but goes deeper into choices of interiority and narrative distance. We’ll also look at the different voices we use in our writing, both authorial and character-driven.
Week 5: If at First You Don’t Succeed… Finishing a first draft is an accomplishment to be proud of, but for most of us, that’s just the first step in the process. We’ll explore techniques for revision and discuss the different approaches we can take at both the macro- and micro-levels.
Week 6: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love What I’ve Written. In the final class, we’ll concentrate on ways to develop good writing habits that will enable us to take the energy we’ve generated in this class and keep it going. We’ll delve into what it means to be a writer and examine what we’re really trying to accomplish in our work.
THIS IS AN IN-PERSON CLASS. Please review our vaccination policy. If you register for class, we’ll follow up and request proof of vaccination before confirming you in the course.
StoryStudio Chicago is pleased to offer 2 discounted spots to anyone who would like financial assistance to take this class. Please email us at email@example.com to learn more and claim a spot.