How to (Profoundly) Move Your Readers: The Craft of Developing Dramatic Emotions (with Junse Kim)


Junse Kim

Junse Kim

 

 

 

SUNDAYS, APRIL 3—MAY 1  |  One of the most difficult narrative issues in fiction writing is how to emotionally move your readers. Often, what we writers render on the page are concepts of drama meant to profoundly affect the reader, but it does not. In this five-week process class we will dissect the intricate concepts of how emotions are developed in fiction, and master how to recognize and apply narrative craft that develop dramatic emotions in ways that can move our readers.  These skills will be developed through in-class writing exercises and assignments, focusing on interior monologue, characters’ perceptions, creating motivations, and more.

This is a rare opportunity to take a class that was originally designed as a graduate level fiction writing course.

 Junse Kim is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Faulkner Short Story Award, and the Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing at Bucknell University. His fiction and creative nonfiction has been published in a number of literary journals, including Ontario ReviewZyzzyva, and Fourteen Hills. He teaches fiction writing at the MFA program at San Francisco State University.

Contact: junse6@gmail.com

Sessions: 5

Time: 6:30 pm -9:00 pm

Dates: Sundays, April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1

Course fee: $325

 

Truth in Fiction: How to Use History and Current Events to Deepen Setting in Your Fiction (with Meron Hadero)


Meron Hadero

Meron Hadero

Contact: mhadero@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 2

Time: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Date: Saturday, January 30 & Saturday, February 20

Course fee: $150

 In this class, we’ll look at fiction narratives that successfully build setting through history, politics, current events, and that generally capture the zeitgeist of a period. We’ll explore what works, what doesn’t, and what challenges a writer faces in this kind of world-building. Approaches to research and analysis will also be discussed as useful tools for the fiction writer.

Meron Hadero is a graduate of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan (M.F.A.) and an assistant editor at The Offing focusing on micro prose. Her fiction has appeared or will soon appear in The Missouri Review, Boulevard, The Offing, and The Normal School (online). Meron has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ragdale and the World Affairs Council in Seattle, has worked as a research analyst for the President of Global Development at the Gates Foundation, holds a J.D. from Yale Law School (Washington State Bar), and earned a B.A. from Princeton in history.

Writing the Short Story (with Glen David Gold)


Glen David Gold

Contact:glenxgold@gmail.com 

Number of sessions: 8

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Date: Tuesdays, January 12, 19, 26; February 2, 9, 16, 23; March 1

Course fee: $525

Jealous of the glittering jewel of a small, precisely-timed short story? Or amazed at the entire world fit into 5,000 words and bursting at the narrative seams? The way short stories work—when they work—is mysterious but not impossible to crack. There are ways to enhance the almost alchemic way a writer can engage a reader’s imagination. This workshop will bring out the best in your prose, considering factors like structure, elision, and the “racetrack” theory—and above all managing the interplay of empathy and intellect that all great short stories traverse. The focus of this workshop will be similar to the novel-writing class, with one huge exception: the curious question of what it means for a manuscript to feel “complete” will be on our minds.

This eight-week workshop runs on the traditional M.F.A. model: you will turn in short fiction up to 5,000 words for your fellow students to critique constructively, based on the understanding that we are all trying to make the work the best version of itself it can be. Be prepared to write a brief (less than one page) critique of each manuscript and to speak up in class discussion. Our goal is to figure out how each story ticks, and to open up possibilities you hadn’t discovered on your own of how to improve and polish your story.

Each workshop will discuss two to three students’ manuscripts, depending on enrollment. Before class starts, I’ll ask two volunteers to turn in work to be discussed during the first workshop, and I will disseminate the Rules of Engagement for how to approach the manuscripts. During the first workshop, we’ll make up a schedule so that people can turn in work earlier in the semester — or later. In your heart, you already know if you’re an “earlier” or “later” person.

It’s likely I’ll find examples of published short fiction that we will analyze until they fall into little pieces, so we can make them explain to us how they work.

Glen David Gold is the author of the international bestselling novels Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside. His short fiction, essays, journalism, and memoir have appeared in McSweeney’s, Playboy, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Tin House, and Zyzzyva. He’s written comic books for DC and Dark Horse, and podcasts for The Thrilling Adventure Hour and Welcome to Night Vale. His three-volume memoir, I Will Be Complete, is forthcoming from Knopf.

Intensive Novel Writing (with Glen David Gold)


Glen David Gold

Contact:glenxgold@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 8

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Date: Wednesdays, January 13, 20, 27; February 3, 10, 17, 24; March 2

Course fee: $525

When you’re working, there is an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. One of them is telling you the work is great; the other is telling you it’s terrible — but which is which? There is no place better for a novel to go from good to great than in a room of concerned, interested, contrary, helpful people who all agree that for the evening per week we meet that fiction writing is the most important thing you can do. This eight-week workshop runs on the traditional M.F.A. model: you will turn in a novel excerpt of up to 5,000 words for your fellow students to critique constructively, based on the understanding that we are all trying to make the work the best version of itself it can be. Be prepared to write a brief (less than one page) critique of each manuscript and to speak up in class discussion. Our goal is to figure out how each story ticks, and to open up possibilities you hadn’t discovered on your own of how to improve, continue, and finish your book.

Each workshop will discuss two students’ manuscripts. A week before the first class, I’ll ask two volunteers to turn in work to be discussed during the first workshop, and I will disseminate the Rules of Engagement for how to approach the manuscripts. During the first workshop, we’ll make up a schedule so that people can turn in work earlier in the semester—or later. In your heart, you already know if you’re an “earlier” or “later” person.

You may get a chance to submit a second manuscript (of 3,000 words), schedule permitting.

Glen David Gold is the author of the international bestselling novels Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside. His short fiction, essays, journalism, and memoir have appeared in McSweeney’s, Playboy, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Tin House, and Zyzzyva. He’s written comic books for DC and Dark Horse, and podcasts for The Thrilling Adventure Hour and Welcome to Night Vale. His three-volume memoir, I Will Be Complete, is forthcoming from Knopf.

Screenwriting Workshop (with Xandra Castleton)


Xandra Castleton

Xandra Castleton

Contact: xcastleton@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 8

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Date: Mondays, February 8, 22, 29; March 7, 14, 21 (no class Presidents’ Day), 28; April 4.

Course fee: $540

This course provides clear guidance on the fundamentals of successful screenwriting within an open and encouraging workshop format, and is designed to accommodate all levels. Weekly writing exercises, readings, and script analysis will demystify the mechanics while guiding each writer toward the most compelling aspects of their screenplay idea or work in progress. Writers will learn how to use the rules of screenwriting structure, character development, scene writing, etc, in order to apply them to their particular original vision for a screenplay without losing the sense of originality and emotional truth that rules sometimes inhibit. We will make the rules work for us, even if we bend them a bit.
There will be weekly exercises and viewing and reading assignments, some of them optional so that each writer can focus available time and energy on the work of writing. Readings addressing theme, premise, character, structure, and the basis for satisfying dramatic action will be drawn from a variety of screenwriting textbooks, including The Screenwriter’s Bible, Making a Good Script Great, and Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting, and will include interviews and articles featuring noted screenwriters. Students will complete the course with a working outline of 3-5 pages and 5-10 pages of a screenplay.

Xandra Maria Castleton is a Emmy Award- winning writer and producer whose scripts have served as the basis for films that premiered at festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, AFI and Rotterdam. Her dramatic comedy, Full Grown Men, starring Judah Friedlander, Alan Cumming, Debbie Harry, and Amy Sedaris won the Sundance Channel Audience Award. She recently co-created a series called Stand Up Planet for Pivot TV. Xandra has an M.F.A. in Cinema and is represented by the Gersh Agency.

Finish That Story and Send It Out! (with Jenny Bitner)


Jenny Bitner

Jenny Bitner

Contact: jennybit@yahoo.com

Number of sessions: 6

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Date: Wednesdays, January 13, 20, 27; February 3, 10, 17

Course fee: $395

Do you find yourself stuck at the beginning of writing stories and never finishing them? Or never getting around to taking that final step of sending them out for publication? In this class for students with some writing experience (including former Grotto students), we will go deeper into finishing our work and sending it out for publication. We will learn how to edit our own work, develop buddy relationships for sending things out, and explore markets for our work. I will give written and in-class feedback on your stories. Take that final step and start sending your work out, because a story in the drawer will never be read.

Jenny Bitner’s short stories, articles and flash fiction have been published in Best American Nonrequired Reading, PANK, The Sun, Men’s Health, Utne Reader, The Mississippi Review, Writing That Risks and Fence magazine. She has an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Virginia.

This Year I Will Write More: Create a Writing Habit in 2016! (with Jenny Bitner)


Jenny Bitner

Jenny Bitner

Contact: jennybit@yahoo.com

Number of sessions: 2

Time: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Date: Saturday, January 16 & Sunday, February 7

Course fee: $190

Have you read about writers who write every day and felt envious of them? Well, I did, too, until I decided to create a daily writing habit. I had tried to do it alone and couldn’t (even after 20 years of writing). In order to create my habit, I hired a creativity coach to check in with every day for a few months. It worked! So, I decided to create a class that gives you the accountability to get started and also draws on my training as a hypnotherapist to channel the unconscious to help you. In this class we will draw on research on the psychology of creating habits, use the power of the unconscious through hypnosis, and create a support structure to help you create a new writing habit. There will a group hypnosis in the first class, daily accountability posts to a Facebook group, frequent emails from the teacher, rewards, writing dates, and a “call a lifeline” option. We will meet in person on the first and 21st days, with optional coffee-shop writing meetings on the second and third weekends. If you really want to create a writing habit in your life, join us and let’s do it!

Jenny Bitner’s short stories, articles and flash fiction have been published in Best American Nonrequired Reading, PANK, The Sun, Men’s Health, Utne Reader, The Mississippi Review and Fence magazine. She has an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Virginia. She is a certified hypnotherapist.

Gesture Writing: What Writers Can Learn from Artists about Capturing Life on the Page (with Rachel Howard)


Rachel Howard

Rachel Howard

Contact: rachel.howard@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Date: Saturday, March 12

Course fee: $88

Would you like to get more life in your writing? In this practical workshop based on the hit New York Times Draft column, you’ll learn to think as visual artists do, then use your notebook to “sketch” scenes, chapters, and whole book outlines. Capturing the vibrancy of life on the page means moving your brain out of “information organizing” mode, into an intuitive way of finding subtle organic connections. Artists practice this way of working through “gesture drawing.” Many of the best writers practice this way of working through “sketching” in their notebooks–and I don’t think they could achieve the richness of their writing any other way. If you’ve never worked like this, the results will likely surprise you. If you’re ready to move past rambling “morning pages” and leave lifeless “information processing” behind, this class for writers of fiction and narrative nonfiction will show you a new way.

No drawing experience required!

Rachel Howard is the author of The Lost Night: A Daughter’s Search for the Truth of Her Father’s Murder, which the New York Times described as “enthralling.” Her personal essays and fiction have appeared in Gulf Coast, Zyzzyva, and many other journals. She received her M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College, and later served there as Joan Beebe Teaching Fellow and Interim Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing. She is a part-time artist’s model, and saw her own writing improve tremendously as she absorbed art instruction while posing.

Fabulist Worlds: Exploring a New Genre (with Jenny Bitner)


Jenny Bitner

Jenny Bitner

Contact: jennybit@yahoo.com

Number of sessions: 6

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Date: Tuesdays, February 2, 9, 16, 23; March 1 & 8

Course fee: $395

Many contemporary writers are playing with the boundaries of what is real and what is magical. Writers like George Saunders, Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, and Aimee Bender combine elements of fantasy and reality in their works. Speculative fiction, magical realism, slipstream—there are many names for the school of writing that blends the ordinary world and the mythic. In this class we will read writing in this new genre and write our own fabulist stories. There will be daily writing prompts and weekly writing assignments to help you blend the imaginary and the real to uncover deeper truths.

Jenny Bitner’s short stories and articles have been published in Best American Nonrequired Reading, PANK, The Sun, Mississippi Review, The Fabulist, Writing That Risks, and Fence magazine. She is working on a fabulist novel about a woman who has a child with an alien. She has an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Virginia.

Said and Unsaid: The Intersection of Character and Dialogue in Fiction and Memoir (with Laurie Ann Doyle)


Laurie Ann Doyle

Laurie Ann Doyle

Contact: doyle.l@berkeley.edu

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Date: Sunday, March 13

Course fee: $95

Is dialogue meant to reveal or conceal? In this one-day hands-on intensive, you will learn how dialogue in fiction and memoir actually accomplishes both, revealing your characters by what is said and not said. We’ll read work by masters of dialogue, examining how artfully crafted speech, gesture, and silence help you not only develop character, but generate tension and subtext, and move the plot forward. You’ll learn how to take full advantage of your characters’ expressive tics, favorite phrases, and utter withdrawal to build an immersive world for the reader. You’ll have the chance to free-write dialogue yourself, trying on different personas of talkative, quiet, and completely uncommunicative characters, with the opportunity to share what you’ve created in a supportive atmosphere. There will also be plenty of time to address your questions and concerns. My goals for this class are for you to come away with concrete strategies for creating a variety of kinds of dialogue, and to experience for yourself what most writers like to keep secret: dialogue can be a whole lot of fun.

Laurie Ann Doyle is the winner of Alligator Juniper’s National Fiction Award, as well as nominations for Best New American Voices and the Pushcart Prize. Her stories, personal essays and poems have appeared in Jabberwock Review, Arroyo Literary Review, Dogwood Journal, Under the Sun, and many other literary journals. World Gone Missing, her new book of short stories, is short-listed for Livingston Press’ fiction award, and a story from the collection appears in their Fall 2015 anthology. She earned an M.F.A. at University of San Francisco and has had the pleasure of teaching writing at UC Berkeley since 2007. www.laurieanndoyle.com