Searching for an inspiring craft class to get your writing mojo flowing?
I teach a variety of writing classes and workshops each semester, and would love for you to join me! I bring over a decade of experience as published writer, editor, freelancer, and coach, as well as a contagious love of books, reading, and the craft of writing, to all of my classes.
Come learn with me!
Details, Details: Striking a Balance between the Forest and the Treets
April 18, 2020
10:30am – 5pm
@ Grub Street, Boston
“Caress the detail, the divine detail.” –Vladimir Nabakov
Details are the bricks with which a writer builds a story. Without the right details, a piece of writing lacks immediacy, clarity, and charm. But you can have too much of a good thing! Overloading your work with unnecessary details—even beautiful ones—can slow down the plot and distract readers.
So, how does one balance the necessity of detail with the overall arc and structure of a piece of writing? What, exactly, comprises a perfect detail?
In this craft seminar, we’ll look at a variety of examples and discuss how, where, and why details work, or don’t. We’ll discuss what’s too much and what’s not enough, how “good” and “bad” details usually depend on context, and how to decide if a detail is pertinent to a piece or not. We’ll spend some time discussing how detail influences the reader’s perception of the work as a whole, and how to make sure the details you choose inform your stories in the best way possible.
Finally, we’ll play with creating some of our own details, so bring a short piece-in-progress to work with.
Registration Info Coming Soon
The Arc of a Story
Pioneer Valley Writer’s Workshop
In this 4-week craft class, we’ll take a deep look at structure. The first class will focus on beginnings, the second class on middles, the third class on endings, and the fourth class on the overall arc of a story. Over the course of the four weeks, we’ll consider how beginnings, middles, and endings play out in a variety of short pieces, both fiction and nonfiction, linear and non-linear, traditional and experimental. And as we cover the main components of structure, we’ll also touch upon character development, dialogue, and details, and how these aspects influence the trajectory of a story. Each class will include discussion of craft elements, readings that illuminate the subject at hand, and writing prompts. Open to prose writers of all levels.
Mastering the Art of Dialogue: From Blah Blah Blah to He Said, She Said
Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop
Ever get the sneaking suspicion that characters are talking at you? Ever muddle through a conversation on the page that feels stiff, false, speechy, or preachy? Ever wonder if a writer lifted a conversation verbatim from a real-life scenario? Ever question why some dialogue livens a story while other dialogue bores? Ever struggle with how to get more than two characters talking without confusion? Ever want to use dialogue to convey important details and illuminate plot but don’t know where to begin? Writing dialogue is an art form unto itself. It takes its first cue from daily conversation, but it also requires a deft hand and a smart ear to move out of blah blah blah and into a skillful volley.
In this craft class, we’ll discuss how to master the art of dialogue. We’ll start with how dialogue functions in writing and why some dialogue feels natural and other dialogue stiff. We’ll look at some examples of dialogue and discuss what is successful and what isn’t. We’ll spend some time talking about the art of listening, which is intimately related to writing effective dialogue. Finally, we’ll try our hands at some fun exercises to get your he said, she said juices flowing.