February 12, 2020
$315 | 8 Weeks
Have you ever wondered about that almost magical ability that some writers seem to have to weave tales of romance, adventure, suspense, comedy, and/or horror? Whether writing fiction or memoir, these writers know how to connect with their readers so as to cause their spines to tingle, their hearts to stop, their minds to expand, their fantasies to soar, and their bellies to rock with laughter.
Is this ability a gift? Or can any writer learn to create these kinds of stories?
In this workshop, we approach storytelling as an art form that you can learn if you’re willing to surrender your misconceptions about what makes a good story. Some of you may think it’s all about voice. Others would swear that it’s about a plot that moves. This is misconception #1. The truth is it’s about both—voice and structure.
We will break the art of storytelling down into practical techniques and strategies that will work like magic when applied to the page, but which will be invisible to the reader. You’ll learn how to put your creative ideas into a form, whether your stories fit more naturally into fiction or nonfiction, how to find the most effective voice and/or viewpoint, how to craft suspenseful scenes so that they move a story forward, how to create story people with real emotions so that readers will care about them, how to structure a story, and finally how to connect with your reader.
Week One: Finding, Sorting, and Focusing your Story Ideas
Where to find ideas; sorting through ideas to find the best ones; story starters; how you start your stories; whether to write fiction or nonfiction; crafting your theme so as to focus your story.
Assignment: To come up with five ideas and explore those ideas, using a list of criteria to be provided.
Week Two: Structuring the Plot and Scenes /Creating the Setting
Outlining your story; choosing and exploring your setting; crafting scenes that move the story’s action; writing interesting scene sequels that connect your scenes.
Assignment: To outline your story, using the scene/sequel structure.
Week Three: Allowing Organic Voice and Viewpoint
Exploring all of the potential viewpoints for your story: choosing the only viewpoint approach for the story you want to tell; discovering your voice.
Assignment: To choose two viewpoints and write a brief scene using each one
Week Four: Creating Your Cast of Characters and their Dialogue
Creating your cast of characters—real or fictional; creating realistic protagonists and antagonists; telling your truth about real people when they’re still alive; crafting effective dialogue; developing your characters’ motivation so that we believe them; where and when to use flashbacks so that they don’t stop the story action.
Assignment: To create your cast of characters and write a brief description of each; to write a more in-depth profile/scene (dialogue) of your protagonist and antagonist
Week Five: Exploring Your Characters’ Emotions
Exploring the depth of human emotions for your characters; using the Enneagram to show the differences in character motivations; developing humorous characters for the comedic story; creating the emotion to fit the various story types; horror, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, action adventure, suspense thriller, mystery, mainstream, literary, and young adult.
Assignment: To write a scene of motivation from your protagonist’s point of view, determined by the type of story you’ve chosen to write
Week Six: Using Suspense and Tension to Surprise the Reader
Building the suspense in your story; tips for heightening the tension; pacing your story so that it ebbs and flows in a natural way, surprising your reader.
Assignment: To write a brief scene of action that includes both tension and suspense
Week Seven: Putting the Elements Together/The Opening Scene
Putting all of the elements of storytelling together so as to create a work of art; how to know when a story is working or not; what to look for when trying to fix a story that’s not working.
Assignment: To write the opening scene/chapter of your story, whether novel, short story, or memoir
Week Eight: Crafting the Query Letter and Marketing your Story
The power of story to connect with readers; final charge for the confirmed storyteller; marketing your story to the right audience.
Assignment: To write a query letter and your intention for your writing, going forward