Elliot Lake Summer Arts
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|Writing - Instructor: Elizabeth Creith|
|3 days $150 Wed Aug 22 to Fri Aug 24|
This workshop is aimed at getting participants to write at least one story, whether fiction, creative non-fiction, humour or memoir. The goal is for everyone to have one first draft or partially polished draft, along with an understanding of how to get the story in your head onto the paper, and what to do with it from there.
We’ll talk about making time and space to write, and various ways that writers approach a work, whether it’s a limerick or a three-volume novel. We’ll talk about planning and “pantsing”, research, outlines, and other tools that writers use, or don’t, to get the work done.
We’ll also talk about memoir, fiction, creative non-fiction and humour, how they overlap, and some things to think about when writing them. We’ll do a few exercises to loosen up the writing muscles and play with the differences in the four forms.
We’ll use games and prompts to get some ideas going. Everyone will have at least three to choose from for the writing part of the workshop.
We’ll work on an elevator pitch for one or two of those ideas. The elevator pitch is what you use when someone asks what your story is about. Writing an elevator pitch can help solidify the storyline, or show you where it still needs work. It also ensures that when you are asked about your writing, you will sound clear, confident and succinct. We’ll be writing these for two of the ideas we came up with and then reading them in the group for feedback.
Characters are vital to story. Plot is important, but it has to come from the action of the characters. Passive ones who are pushed around by events are not engaging. We’ll spend time brainstorming about what our characters need to be and get some notes down.
We will be writing in the group, using an outline or whatever tools you need. There will be resources (dictionary, thesaurus, some reference books) available. We will aim for a rough first draft by the end of day 2. Writing time will be interspersed with time for stretching, coffee, lunch, Q&A and coaching on technical aspects of the craft. There will be a quick readaround on the afternoon of Day 2. If you have finished your first draft, there will be 15 minutes of one-on-one after “school”. If you have not finished your first draft, your homework is to finish it for the morning.
On Day 3 we will be working on feedback and polishing. The group will divide into smaller groups to read and give feedback on each other’s stories. There will be a tipsheet on feedback and critique. Has everyone finished their first draft, however rough? Is anyone having a problem with a particular area? Is there something the group as a whole needs help with?
Anyone who has not yet had a one-on-one will get one today.
We will be rewriting and polishing today. There will be tips on how to polish a story, and feedback from the group discussions.
We will also talk about publication; periodicals and books, self-publishing and the conventional system. There will be resources for markets and possiblities for publication, and some tips on what to do. If there is time, we will also talk about grants. Before the end of the third day there will be a final Q&A.
Participants should bring:
- pens, paper to write on (looseleaf, scribbler, bound book (whatever you feel most comfortable writing on). No electronics, please.
- dictionary or thesaurus if you have one and want to bring it
- if you have a particular mug, mascot, shirt, sweater that you like to have while writing, please bring that, too
If you have a story idea or two, jot it down and bring it along. It can be fiction or something from your own life. If you don’t have any ideas, don’t worry. There will be lots of ideas.
Your level of writing experience is not important. Whether you have publication credits, a bottom-drawer novel, or no experience at all but want to write, this course will have something for you. All I expect is that you are willing to write, to give and receive feedback, and to respect the confidentiality of the group.
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