Image from Kitsune Noir
It's time to register for a new season of Grub Street classes! I know I haven't passed along much interesting stuff to you lately on that front, but that's just because the Ten Weeks, Ten Stories class really just doesn't lend itself to summarization: either you did the homework and got the in-class feedback, or you didn't, you know?
In the summer, however, I will once again be taking some seminars, and those usually provide quite a lot of good material for blogging. I'll also be taking some week-long intensive courses, which I've never done before. Here's my upcoming class list:
- Unruly Fictions with Tim Horvath
Monday-Friday, July 12-16th
In this intensive version of the popular weekend seminar, we'll look in particular at works that have been dubbed "experimental," flagrantly challenging the conventions of narrative order and logic, cause and effect, plot and characterization, time and space. In several cases, they don't even look like stories. By trying out the exercises in this class, you will stretch yourself and explore some unconventional narrative modes. But this class is by no means geared exclusively toward those who already find themselves drawn to the literary avant-garde. The guiding assumption is that all writers can benefit from the ways in which such work galvanizes our minds and our pens, uncovering latent potential in whatever work we are already doing. By trying out everything from stream of consciousness to Oulipean games, montage to typology, you'll get fresh vantage points on your characters and storylines already in progress, whether in your mind or on the page.
- From Revision to Submission with James Scott
Monday-Friday, July 19-23rd
Intended for the writer who needs a final push to submit their work, this class provides one last objective look to make certain that the writer is in the best possible position for publication. The first half of the class will be a revision workshop, focusing on the art of sanding down, smoothing out, and touching up the writing. The second half will help students discuss and find markets for their work. The last class will partially be devoted to assembling submissions and celebrating finished pieces.
- Funny is the New Deep with Steve Almond
Tuesday, July 27th
Contrary to popular belief, writing funny doesn't mean sacrificing depth. On the contrary, for most literary writers the comic impulse is inextricably linked to tragedy. In this informal class, we'll look at the work of Lorrie Moore, George Saunders, and others, in an effort to learn how you can be funny and break hearts while doing it.
- Why Your Manuscript Was Rejected (also with Steve Almond)
Tuesday, August 3rd
If you're like most writers, you've gotten lots of rejections. Like, maybe even one earlier today. The big question in the mind of all of us is: WHY? Why didn't you take my brilliant prose? Is something WRONG with you? In fact, there is a reason your piece was rejected, and probably several. In this intensive and often incoherent seminar, Steve Almond (man of a million rejections) will provide a cogent summary of mistakes writers make, both in fiction and non-fiction prose. Among the topic's we'll cover: disorienting the reader, wandering plots, canned dialogue, and the ever-popular flowery prose. Taking this course virtually guarantees that you will NEVER BE REJECTED AGAIN. At least until such a time as you send out more work.
- Crafting the Villain with KL Pereira
Monday, August 23rd
Some of the best and most memorable characters in literature are villains, rough and tough monsters, sly and sexy femme fatales, and naughty and deceitful oligarchs. They unnerve and excite us, sending a chill down our spines, and striking fear into our hearts. Yet when creating our own villains we often fail to overtly acknowledge the complexity and moral ambiguity that compels them to cause mayhem, delegating their motivation to a need to cause evil for evil’s sake and resulting in two-dimensional baddies. In this one-day seminar we will discuss traditional and non-traditional villains, why they are an essential part of any juicy tale, and how we can develop truly sinister and captivating characters that will antagonize, needle, and provoke even the bravest reader.
ALSO! I will be out of town for two weeks at the end of June, but I will not be leaving you in the lurch! I am in the process of selecting some guest bloggers for you, and at least one of them will be hosting a BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST so you'll want to check that out for sure.
Don't I sound organized? Now, where are all my socks...?
What have you got planned for the summer?