The weather is trying to confuse us here in the Texas Panhandle. We've had so much rain in the past week that I feel as if I live in Oregon or Washington State instead of the Great Plains. I'm not complaining--I love this sort of moody weather. And my backyard looks like the Garden of Eden! All the flowers and bushes are gorgeous and lush.
I want to tell you about a class I'll be teaching next month at Amarillo College. We'll meet every tuesday night from September 30 through November 18. If you live in Amarillo or the surrounding area and you think you might benefit from what I'll be offering, I hope you will join me. Go to the Amarillo College website under 'Continuing Education' to register. The course is called JUMPSTARTING YOUR CREATIVITY, under 'Writing' in the class schedule, course code CWP-1010-1001 (74499).
Tell any of your friends or family that might be interested, too. The tone of the class will be very relaxed and fun, aimed at folks that have always wanted to write stories but aren't sure how to start. (People who already write but are either stuck or would like to delve deeper will benefit, too.) The course is designed to stimulate creativity and inspire imagination through a series of writing exercises and class interaction. We'll focus on finding your writing “voice,” opening your mind to ideas, and using those elements to build a story. And I'm leaving plenty of time open for students to read work aloud and receive feedback.
Here's a little of what we'll be covering, class-by-class:
Class #1 Getting Started
a. Discuss class content and format
b. Getting Started – what students need in order to begin to make writing a part of their lives. (Pen and paper, a place to write, privacy, desire, determination, patience, etc.)
Class #2 Where Do You Get Your Ideas? (The question published writers are asked the most)
a. Finding ideas in your own life experiences. How to tap into personal memories, fears, joys, etc., to generate ideas. Discussion and in-class writing exercises.
b. Finding ideas in lives and experiences outside of your own. How to recognize hidden ideas in magazine and newspaper articles, overheard conversations, etc. Discussion and in-class writing exercises.
Class # 3 Ideas, Part 2
a. Starting with a character: How to spark ideas through people-watching—training your mind to ask questions about the people you see everyday. Discussion and in-class writing exercises.
b. Starting with an event or situation: How to spark ideas by training your mind to ask questions about a place, scene, situation or event. Discussion and in-class writing exercises.
Class # 4 Ideas, Part 3
a. Sensory details: Sparking ideas through use of the five senses. Discussion and in-class writing exercises.
b. Student readings from all prior class exercises.
Class #5 Story Building
a. Using “brainstorming” to develop an idea into a storyline.
b. Discussion and exercises. Student reading as time allows.
Class #6 Story Building, Part 2
a. Using “freewriting” to develop an idea into a storyline
b. Discussion and exercises. Student readings as time allows.
Class #7 Writer “Voice”
a. What is it? Discussion.
b. How to find and develop it. Discussion and exercises.
c. Student readings as time allows.
Class # 8 Putting It To Use
a. Discussion about the importance of finding the methods that best suit the individual writer, making writing a habit, and how to use the information learned in the class to move to the next step—i.e., writing a short story, memoir, novel, etc.
Hope you can join us. I'm really looking forward to the sessions and meeting a lot of new writers. Should be fun!
Happy reading and writing,