Follow our flowcharts to find out what classes to take that start in April, and also May and June!
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Is plot something you can, well, plot? How does one cope with the various tone shifts and surprising changes of direction that happen when writing a novel? And how does one know which cuts to a novel are the right ones during a revision? In this exercise class, we’ll test our assumptions about our novels, with a particular focus on structure. Whether you’ve been working on your novel for years or are just starting one, you’ll be challenged to envision your work in new ways and shake up your process.
Your life is a story with drama, meaningful relationships, and unique insights. Whether you’re writing for self-exploration, publication, or to create a family legacy, this seminar helps you craft, create, and publish your memoir. From self-discovery to publishing, Peterson gives you the structure, editorial insights, and writing tools to turn your life into a story that inspires others. Writing exercises,workshop setting, and nourishing, constructive class critiques — join our writing community and tell your story. Meeting once a month, there are twelve spots total in this course.
Course meeting dates: April 19, May 24, June 21.
No critique, no workshop – just a day dedicated to putting words on the page. This class is focused solely on generating new work, be it scenes or chapters, for essays or poems. Over the course of four hours, we’ll write from six different prompts with short breaks for sharing.
Faulkner said, “Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can’t, and then tries the short story which is the most demanding form after poetry. And, failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing.” Countless other writers would argue the same — that short stories, requiring tremendous economy of language and gesture, are harder to write than novels. Through a combination of workshop/critique and close readings of the best contemporary short stories, we’ll explore the elements of craft required to compose a fantastic short story. Workshop experience required.
Though a disastrous practice in medieval medicine, the concept of balancing the humours can cure many writing woes. We will examine the use of humor in prose and figure out how (and when! and why!) to use humor within a more serious enterprise. We’ll dissect several famously funny pieces and then attempt to replicate the techniques we discover, such as using humor to illuminate and enrich a piece’s themes. Some exercises will borrow from sketch comedy writing techniques; all will be useful whether you already use humor or are looking for ways to expand your emotional range of a single piece or your voice as a whole.
We will consider the concept of bewilderment by examining how it is acted out in poems — either through syntax, accessing the duende, leaps into the unconscious, or simply circling around what is unsaid, unknown, unrealized. We will look for those moments in which we begin to stutter and stumble when talking about our poems — or when the poems themselves stutter — for these are the thresholds beyond which is the unknown, beyond which is the white space on the map. Please bring in a poem (not your own) that contains some aspect of bewilderment for you, with 16 copies to pass around.
At its best, tension is not the leaping-out-from-behind-the-door jolt that moves a narrative forward, but a much less visible rhythm of positive and negative values and valences, at every level: story arc, scene, sentence, even word level: a shimmering electrical current of positives, negatives, and neutralities. Bring some samples of your work (remember, good writing is specific writing), and we’ll examine them for tension, then discuss. Extra credit: In your work, please be versed in the differences between lie and lay, further and farther, etc.!
Poets, said Wallace Stevens, are the priests of the invisible. This class introduces the elements of prose narrative to those who’ve dealt in that invisibility and would like to branch out. Through short readings and lots of generative exercises, you’ll learn about building character, establishing setting, and using imagery to create conflict, stakes, and tension between human beings, be they wizards, accountants, or astronauts. In the process, you’ll bring your poetic talents to bear on all aspects of the storyteller’s art.