Upcoming Classes

 

Fall 2016 Writing classes and workshops

For beginning fiction writers, or experienced writers who find themselves struggling with mechanics, like point of view or narrative distance or basic stuff like how to structure a plot, I recommend the Univ. of Washington, Professional and Continuing Education Literary Fiction Foundations(WRI FIC 105 A, #158299). To find it go to www.pce.uw.edu/Certificatesthen search for Literary Fiction or search here:https://www.pce.uw.edu/program-finder?type=Certificate&term=literary%20fiction%20writing. Class runs ten weeks, Thursday nights starting 9/29 from 6:30-9:30 on campus.

Experienced writers looking to improve their skills and advance toward completing a novel or story collection would do better to chooseAdvanced Fiction Writing: Story Premise and Structure (WRI FIC 204 A #158937). Go to: www.pce.uw.edu/Certificates/Advanced-Fiction-Writing. This class also runs ten weeks, starts Oct 4, and runs on campus 6:30-9:30 Tuesday nights. This course is designed to meet the needs of both literary and popular fiction writers and will include readings from both and is based on the premise that the underlying structure of story and character is similar across genres.

If you’re looking for a one-off lesson on story structure check out EPIC Group Writers’s upcoming workshop. On Saturday, October 29, from 9:30 to noon at 108 5th Ave. S. in Edmonds, WA  at Coldwell Banker Bains I am teaching “The Art of Story Structure.” To learn more or sign up go towww.epicgroupwriters.com.

Please contact me at sdriscol@uw.edu if you have any questions.

 

 

Class runs Wednesday nights for six weeks, June 15th through July 13th,  with a final class on Aug. 3rd.  We will meet at the Phinney Neighborhood Center.  Please see details and registration information below. phinney neighborhood center

Summer 2016 Writing Seminar: “Scene and Story Structure: How to build Better Stories Through Scene.”  Every scene has an event. Every scene-event has a function in the story. A strong story structure can be built around key scenes.

In movies, the story depends on the fact that actions cause reactions. Scenes are required to demonstrate both. Writers of narrative prose would do well to remember that most of the time it’s the best scenes that make a story memorable. Passages of narrative summary move the story along. Explorations of a character’s inner thoughts and subtext encourage us to care more, to invest more deeply in the story and its outcome. But it’s the scenes that command our attention.

According to Jack Bickham, the question every novelist should be asking is: “How can I make sure the reader isn’t getting bored?” The best way to be sure? Build the narrative structure around scenes. This six-week course will start with a review of how to write scenes that maximize their dramatic potential. The course will then look at how to use scenes to build a story into a compelling action-reaction sequence (a story in which “something happens”).   Scene & Structure J Bickham

Each week the syllabus will include suggested writing assignments. Some will be drawn from What If (the 2010 Third Edition).  Everyone is invited to bring in one story or novel chapter for workshopping in the final two weeks.  There will be time for one or two pieces to be workshopped in each of the earlier weeks.

Required texts: 1) Night At The Fiestas,  a collection of stories by Kirstin Valdez Quade, Norton, 2015, ISBN: 9780393352214; 2) Ready Player One, a novel by Ernest Cline, Broadway Books, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-307-88744-3; 3) Best American Short Stories 2015; 4) Scene & Structure by Jack Bickham, Writers digest Books, 1993, ISBN: 9780898799064; and The Scene Book by Sandra Scofield, Penguin, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-14-303826-9.

Night At The Fiestas

Class meets: 6 Wednesdays, 7-9:30 p.m., June 15 through July 13; final class Aug. 3.

Where?: Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Room 6, Building A (Blue Building upstairs).  Call (206) 783-2244 for directions.

Cost: $250

To reserve a spot in the Phinney Neighborhood Center summer course, please mail a deposit of $50 to Scott Driscoll, 7716 Dayton Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103.  The deposit will be deducted from the course fee.  Early sign-up is encouraged.  Please send me an email at sdriscol@uw.edu to confirm that you are planning to sign up.

 

 

 UW Literary Fiction II Fall Intro class: Story Structure

Reg #149722 Course: WRI FIC 204 A

For more info: info@pce.uw.edu or 206-685-8936 or to register go to www.keeplearning.uw.eduUW Certificate Classescertificates.

Course Description: The fall class will focus on story structure: story premise, story design, and the five-focus plot structure.  Early in the course we’ll consider the shift from real-life events to structured dramatic story.  We’ll next examine non-linear forms of story telling that might employ an ironic narrator or an organizing principle based on something other than causally connected events.  In the second half of fall quarter, we’ll look at the conventionally plotted linear story arc and consider standard deviations.  Each week, we’ll do short in-class exercises aimed at exploring story design.

CLASS STARTS: Oct. 6 and goes to Dec. 15, meets Tuesday evenings 6;30-9 PM (no class Tues Nov. 11 due to Veteran’s Day).

REQUIRED TEXTS

Writing for Story by Jon Franklin; The Boys In The Boat, by by Daniel James Brown; The Writer’s Portable Mentor by Priscilla Long; Narrative Design by Madison Smartt Bell; Best American Short Stories 2014, edited by Jennifer Egan; and The Ocean at the End of the Lane , a novel, by Neil Gaiman.

 

 

UW Literary Fiction I: Intro to Literary Fiction

The Certificate on-campus Course Reg #149275 course: WRI FIC 105 A

To register, go to: http://www.pce.uw.edu/courses/literary-fiction-foundations/uw-seattle-fall-2015/

UW Certificate ClassescertificatesCourse dates: October 1 – December 10

Meets on campus Thursday evenings 6:30 – 9:30

Currently open for enrollment

Resources for WRIFIC105A:  Required Textbooks, websites, etcs.

  1. Writing Fiction, The Eighth Edition by Burroway, Janet, 2011, Paperback: ISBN: 978-0-205-75034-4
  2. The Best American Short Stories 2014, edited by Jennifer Egan, Houghton  Mifflin Harcourt: ISBN: 978-0-547-868868
  3. How Fiction Works by Wood, James, Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-3741-734-01

Course/Lesson Summary

Course description)
105  is designed to explore fiction writing as craft.  We will cover points of technique (plotting, character development, point-of-view, etc.), read from and discuss stories, and do occasional “sudden writings” in class to practice technique.  You’ll be given opportunities to bring in your own work for workshopping.  In the final class meeting, all participants will be expected to workshop a finished story (or novel chapter).  
Course learning objectives By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify writing techniques such as plotting, character development, and point-of-view;
  • Read stories and discuss writing techniques
  • demonstrate writing techniques in their writing
  • Complete a short story

 

 

 

 

How to Make The Best of Inciting Incidents” meets Thursday nights, 7-9, at The Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. The first class is Thursday April 30. The class runs consecutively for six weeks to June 11 (no class May 14 as the room is not available that night). To sign up, please go to this link:  : http://hugohouse.org/classes/course-catalog/?hh_course_genre=&hh_course_type=&hh_course_term=1079.

 

Official Course Description:     good-shepherd center
Any story that involves a quest – and that is most stories – starts with a disturbing event known to fiction writers and film-makers as the “inciting incident.” But, what does this event actually disturb? And why does it matter? And how do we gauge this? Answering these questions requires understanding the disturbance’s effect on a character’s deeply held beliefs or values. This class will examine inciting incidents from novels as well as short stories, from popular writers such as Henning Mankell to literary writers such as J. C. Oates and George Saunders as well as selections form the who’s who of story writing in recent Best American Short Stories. Students will produce their own story situation with an inciting incident in class and will be encouraged to bring to class an example of a story opening of their own to share. Outcome: students will learn to open their stories with a disturbing event that forces their character to react by embarking on a quest toward a goal.

 

The Importance of Value

Class runs Wednesday nights for six weeks, June 18th through July 16th,  with a final class on Aug. 6th.  We will meet at the Phinney Neighborhood Center.  Please see details and registration information below.

Summer Writing Seminar: “The Importance of Value.”  What will your characters do under pressure? How do you figure that out? How do you pass that understanding to the reader without bludgeoning them with a club labelled: this is my value?

It’s commonly understood that a story worth the journey will bring your character to a reversal. “Reversal” means change.  Profound change.  Irreversible change. Paradoxically, change must be measured by something that doesn’t change: value. Value doesn’t change. A character comes into a story with a deeply held value, or set of values.  The character’s relation to that value will either turn positive or negative, but the value remains constant.

How does “value” become predictive of behavior under pressure? A character is understood to be a walking bundle of desire, need, fear, an undergirding of repressed desire (subtext), and stakes (what is to be gained or lost). In this course, we will define how value interacts with each of the above five elements used to build character. We will examine each of these elements independently and consider tips for using this analysis to make your characters seem more consistent, authentic, and worthy of empathy, and to enhance your ability to predict what they will do under pressure.

Each week the syllabus will include suggested writing assignments drawn from What If (the 2010 Third Edition) designed to practice elements of narration.  Everyone is invited to bring in one story or novel chapter for workshopping in the final two weeks.  There will be time for one or maximum two pieces to be workshopped in each of the earlier weeks.

Required texts: 1) Bark Stories by Lorrie Moore, Knopf 2014, ISBN: 978-0-307-59413-6; 2) Everything is Illuminated, a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2003, Harper Perennial, ISBN: 978-0-06-052970-3; 3) Best American Short Stories 2013; 4) What If by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter,  Pearson Longman 2010 ISBN: 978-0-205-61688-6 (suggested text).

Class meets: 6 Wednesdays, 7-9:30 p.m., June 18 through July 16; final class Aug. 6.

Where?: Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Room 6, Building A (Blue Building upstairs).  Call (206) 783-2244 for directions.

Cost: $250

To reserve a spot in the Phinney Neighborhood Center summer course, please mail a deposit of $50 to Scott Driscoll, 7716 Dayton Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103.  The deposit will be deducted from the course fee.  Early sign-up is encouraged.  Please send me an email at sdriscol@u.washington.edu to confirm that you are planning to sign up.

Thanks.  Hope to see you this summer.  Scott

BEYOND THE FIRST 50 PAGES

When the Real Work Begins

Are you a fiction writer envisioning publication? Have a great idea that’s starting to unfold on the page? Not sure if the story really works? If you are ready to find out, we can help.

You’re invited!

 

BEYOND THE FIRST 50 PAGES: When the Real Work Begins is designed to help novel writers who are seeking publication to put their best work forward. This course focuses on story structure and character progression in novel-length fiction, and is best suited for writers who have a work in progress with a minimum of 50 pages drafted.

It’s all about story.

 

Publishing, and readers, expect more from writers than ever before. For a book to sell in today’s market, every novelist must carefully consider the architecture of their story – plot, pace, and progression.

There are no magic formulas, no keys guaranteed to unlock success. But there are four basic tests of a winning manuscript: Is the idea compelling and fully developed? Does the plot unfold in a series of meaningful events? Are the characters strong enough to carry the story to a pivotal moment? At the end, will readers feel the journey was meaningful?

Strong writing still matters.

A good idea is only the beginning – craft can make all the difference. Using the 5-focus story structure as its foundation, this course will help you assess where you are and what you can do next. By learning to utilize story-building and character development tools, you can enrich your writing and strengthen your book:

  • 6 Workshop Sessions: Through a combination of instructor review & feedback, targeted discussion, and skill-building exercises, this craft-intensive course is designed to strengthen and support your writing and creative process. Small group format encourages group participation.

 

OPTIONAL EXTRA SESSION – an additional 30-minute private student-instructor consultation session (including a read and evaluation of up to 50 manuscript pages of your current work in progress) is available for an additional charge of $50. An extra session will be scheduled following the completion of the 6-week course.

 

  • Proven Techniques & Tools: Learn how to assess and refine your approach using the Bare-Bones Analysis, Story Spine, and Character Cards
  • Professional Teaching Team: Work closely with three respected publishing industry professionals, experienced instructors and published writers.

Enrollment is limited! 

To ensure that everyone receives personal feedback and guidance, enrollment is limited to 9 participants. Contact us now to reserve your space!

BEYOND THE FIRST 50 PAGES: When the Real Work Begins

Dates:              6 Thursdays (February 6, 13, 20 and March 6, 13, 20 – no class 2/27)

*optional critique session date tbd

Time:               7-9 pm

Cost:                $375.00 (add $50 if also signing up for the optional private session)

Location:         Kenmore, WA 98028 (Specific Location TBA)

Registration Deadline: January 15, 2014

Registration is now open! For enrollment details and payment information, email us today at info@robertatrahan.com , or call (206) 491-0147.

 

Instructor Bios:

 

Scott Driscoll is an award-winning instructor with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, has taught creative writing for the University of Washington Extension for twenty years and makes his living as a freelance writer and teacher. Scott’s first novel, BETTER YOU GO HOME, was released by Coffeetown Press in October 2013. For more about Scott, visit his website: www.scottdriscollwriting.com

Jennifer McCord is a 30 year veteran of the publishing trade. Throughout her career, Jennifer has worked in nearly every aspect of the industry—as a writer, editor, instructor, and consultant. Jennifer lends her expertise in the book business to writers and publishers through her consulting and coaching business, Jennifer McCord Associates. Currently, she is also an Associate Publisher and publishing consultant for Camel Press and Coffeetown Press. Jennifer can be contacted at www.jennifermccord.com

Roberta Trahan is the best-selling author of the epic fantasy THE WELL OF TEARS (47North, September 2012) and has just completed the next book in the Dream Stewards series, THE KEYS TO THE REALMS (47North, May 2014). Her post-apocalyptic science fiction novella is now available through Amazon Publishing’s new digital-first short fiction imprint StoryFront. You can learn more about Roberta at www.robertatrahan.wordpress.com

Edmond’s Writers on the Sound Conference October 2013

scott wots (2)

Some of my upcoming classes for 2013                                                                                                                                                                         Summer Writing Seminar: “How Stories Are Told.” To really understand how stories, or novels, manage to get told requires asking the following questions: Who speaks? To whom? On what occasion? Who is doing the noticing? Who is doing the interpreting?  From what distance? To achieve what effect?

Old Town Square Church of Our Lady of Tyn0001

A common conceit among readers, critics, and even writers (who should know better) has it that the text contains nothing of the author.  The story exists as an independent phenomenon.  If we’re being honest, we know that getting a story told requires creating a “persona” to act as a go-between.  This persona becomes the author’s moderator, a figure behind the curtain who turns the controls, playing gradations on the above questions like a pipe organ.

In this course, we will compare “moderator” strategies.  Our models will include “true stories” taken from Gulag Survivors, to a celebrated novel written by an author whose Czech family was caught in the pressure cooker that was war-torn Eastern Europe, to American stories told at a seeming wide remove from catastrophic world events. This course will look at telling strategies on a continuum from barely any moderator present to a high degree of remove from actual events.

Each week the syllabus will also include suggested writing assignments drawn from What If (the 2010 Third Edition) designed to practice elements of narration.  I hope everyone will bring in one story or novel chapter for workshopping in the final two weeks.

Required texts: 1) The Visible World by Mark Slouka, Houghton Mifflin 2007 ISBN: 978-0-547-05367-7; 2) Gulag Voices by Anne Applebaum 2011, Yale University Press ISBN: 978-0-300-17783-1; 3) Best American Short Stories 2012; 4) What If by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter,  Pearson Longman 2010 ISBN: 978-0-205-61688-6 (suggested text).

Class meets: 5 Wednesdays, 7-9:30 p.m., June 26 through July 24 (6th class to be announced).

Where?: PhinneyNeighborhoodCenter, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Room 6, Building A (BlueBuilding upstairs).  Call (206) 783-2244 for directions.

Cost: $250

To reserve a spot in the Phinney Neighborhood Center summer course, please mail a deposit of $50 to Scott Driscoll, 7716 Dayton Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103.  The deposit will be deducted from the course fee.  Early sign-up is encouraged.  Please send me an email at sdriscol@u.washington.edu to confirm that you are planning to sign up.

THE FEAST OF CHARACTER–This spring 2013 Hugo House class (Saturdays, 10-noon, May 4 through June 8) will be devoted to experimenting with character development in fiction.  Along with learning to see character as “desire” mobilized toward a goal, we will consider the power of using “subtext,” “staging,” and “gesture”  to present character.  Finally, we will consider whether and when in realistic fiction it’s possible for a character’s reversal to include an epiphany.

INTRODUCTION TO MAGAZINE WRITING – This course builds on the techniques of the previous class, and includes analyzing magazines, learning different story structures, unlocking the secret of making your words flow,

Scott DriscollAuthor

Scott Driscoll
Author

polishing your prose and working with editors, and understanding the legal and ethical issues of magazine journalism. Five short- to medium-sized assignments and one longer (1,500 to 2,000 word story). $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE NONFICTION – “Just the facts” doesn’t have to be boring. Creative Nonfiction brings together the best of fiction and nonfiction writing. Through readings, written assignments and individual critiques, students will gain a practical grasp of dramatic scene, dialogue, character sketches and scene by scene construction. Class will discuss where to market work. Six assignments including a 1,500- to 2,500-word story and its revision.$500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

ADVANCED CREATIVE NONFICTION – This course builds on the techniques of the previous class, adding in medias res openings, first and third person points of view, creation of suspense, and further suggestions for publication. Six assignments in all, including a 1,500- to 2,500-word story and its revision. $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

INTRODUCTION TO FICTION WRITING – This introductory online fiction writing class teaches the process of writing from the ground up. Specifically targeted early writing assignments and readings help you get started with your writing. Later assignments provide you with the fundamental tools of narrative writing, including plotting, character development, and point-of-view. In the course of this fiction writing class, you’ll complete a story sketch, a story beginning, a plot chart, and a polished draft of a short story.Text: Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway. $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

INTERMEDIATE FICTION WRITING – This online course builds on the skills learned in the introductory class, combining readings and writing exercises to help you master the key elements introduced during the first course. Readings and critiques will allow you to gain greater control of your short stories. In this fiction writing class, you will continue to produce new work, develop editing skills and explore the subtler shades of the fiction writing craft such as scene and sequel, fictional time, narrative distance and plotting. Text:Points of Views. $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

And more at  The Writer’s Workshop

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