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!
The Building Blocks of Story – 4 week craft class
Oct 27 – Nov 17, 2019
@ Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop
In this class, we’ll look at details within specific craft elements: setting, worldbuilding, character, and structure. For each, we’ll examine 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 the elements of your work in the best and most cohesive way. There will be no workshop element to this class, but we will do in-class writing exercises to create our own details, either based on a current work in progress or with the intention of building a new piece upon them.
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
January & October 2018
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.