TEACHING

In my classes, students, as apprentices acquiring a craft, read and discuss writing by master authors. Practicing with prompts and exercises, they discover by doing. In work-shopping, they learn from each other. At the end, they are equipped with skills to continue working on their projects.

UPCOMING CLASSES:

Reader’s Digest Minnesota Writing Workshop, Saturday, February 11, 2017, 8:30 am—5:00 pm, at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront, 11 East Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55101. http://minnesotawritingworkshop.com/

A special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop. A day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome.

I will teach the workshop, The Art and Craft of Memoir, in Block One: 9:30-10:30: Whether you’re beginning to write or revising for publication, delving into research or incorporating narrative style, material will be offered on topics pertinent to your current project. We’ll read from master memoirists to learn how they develop character, setting, and dialogue; tense and time (flashback, flash forward); scene, summary, and reflection. We’ll employ these bedrocks of memoir in crafting our own artful stories.

I will also critique memoir submissions from attendees. Faculty member Marge Barrett, a published memoir writer, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.

Spring Term 2017 Class, The Art of Memoir: A Melange of Fact and Story, Saturday, May 13, 9:00 am—4:00 pm, The Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415, 612-215-2579.
 
Whether you’re beginning to write or revising for publication, delving into research or incorporating narrative style (attending to characters, scene, dialogue), material will be offered on topics pertinent to your current project. In this workshop for beginners or experienced writers, we’ll practice what we learn from master memoirists—and each other—on how to craft captivating true stories. Bring a bag lunch; we’ll eat while we write and break as needed. $3 copy fee payable to teaching artist.
 

WORKSHOPS: An experienced leader, I enjoy directing seminars or workshops for students of all ages, writing groups of all types, and book clubs of all styles.

EDITING AND CONSULTATION: I edit and critique manuscripts for writers of all levels. Working in consultation with the author, I offer feedback and suggestions for changes to craft and structure, charging $50 – $75 hour, depending on specific needs and time constraints.

Podcast of the Loft’s first Short-Short Salon https://writersblock.loft.org/2013/01/28/1928/short_short_recap_with_audio

 Blog on The Writers’ Block of The Loft Literary Center: Why Write Creative Nonfiction? Posted on Fri, Aug 28 2015 9:00 am by Marge Barrett

Creative nonfiction is a difficult but rewarding genre. It’s a challenge to find a topic that grabs your attention and then to write about it in a way that engages your readers. After a number of drafts, you need to make decisions whether to do further research or to seek interviews in order to support or enliven your story with more or different facts. And always there are the big questions: What to put in? What to leave out? When is it finished?

The reward is in the telling of thoughts and experiences that enchant and change readers, stories that instruct and strike empathetic chords, following in the footsteps of master storytellers, Virginia Woolf, Joan Didion, Meghan Daum, James Baldwin, Dave Eggers, David Sedaris. There’s a great sense of accomplishment in becoming the writer who creates a personal essay or a memoir combining story and fact, blending the two into an enthralling harmony.

There’s a mixing of genres too. Like the fiction writer, you develop character and setting, plot and point of view. A compelling voice “sings,” using detail, description, and dialogue.

The creative nonfiction writer also utilizes elements of poetry—particularly in meditative and lyrical essays—focusing on image and metaphor, the diction of words and the rhythm of sentences. All braid together.

You create like a painter: find your writing idea (the artist in search of a subject); use your voice (choosing a medium); discover the joys of observation and imagination (beginning to sketch); focus on people and places (portraits and landscapes); shape the writing (blocking out the space with lights and darks); add finishing touches (filling in the details); revise and polish (putting the work in a frame).

You conduct like a musician, deciding how to begin, where to add notes and tones, when to crescendo or to soften, and how to affectively end, leaving your reader satisfied, grateful for your expression.

You present a piece of art for others to enjoy, esteem, emulate. A great feat, worthy of time and effort.