Live-remote classes for writers with novels-in-progress
March 20, 2020 § Leave a comment
Working on a novel? Not too late to join me for these live-remote classes, part of Grub Street’s acclaimed Novel Revision Series!
March 21, 2020. Genre, Concept, Premise, Theme – in which we’ll come up with answers to an essential question: What’s your novel-in-progress “about”?
April 18, 2020. Dramatic Structure & Narrative Drive – in which we’ll explore the hidden structures common to all good novels and the secrets to creating a page-turning read.
Keep tabs on all my upcoming classes and events here.
New piece on rule-breaking for writers up at GrubWrites
March 28, 2018 § Leave a comment
“There’s an unwritten rule that dreams have no place in fiction. Perhaps you’re aware of it. No? Then maybe you haven’t taken enough workshops. It’s pretty high on the list of fiction-writing no-nos.”
Click here to read my thoughts on why fictional dreams AREN’T actually forbidden, and other thoughts on why breaking the rules is an essential skill for writers . . .
Fall Writing Classes at GrubStreet and the Brattleboro Literary Festival
August 28, 2015 § Leave a comment
Very excited for this fall’s fiction classes. At Grub Street, I’ll be teaching four installments of a brand new eight part Novel Revision series. If you’re working on a novel, it would be great to have you in Boston for a class! Here’s the link. Check ’em out!
To kick off this year’s Brattleboro Literary Festival on Friday, October 2, I’ll be joining two very talented fellow writers, my Grub Street colleague Howard Axelrod and my good friend and local Salonista shaman, Suzanne Kingsbury, in offering these exciting workshops. For a podcast of a radio interview with Festival director Sandy Rouse and yours truly discussing the workshops, click here. If you’re planning to be anywhere near Vermont on that day—and it’s a great time to be here—I highly recommend that you take one!
Spring novel writing classes at GrubStreet
March 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’s been a great experience working with seven talented aspiring novelists in my 10 week Novel in Progress course this winter. I find that focusing in on particular aspects of craft of fiction is immediately beneficial in terms of one’s own work, and even more so in the long term, because it leads to greater fluency and range as a writer.
For these reasons, and because I very much enjoy teaching, I’ve agreed to offer yet another 10 week Novel in Progress course on Thursday evenings beginning April 9th. If you’re near Boston and working on a novel, join us! We have a lot of fun. And if my current students are any indication, you will make great strides on your project.
If you’re interested but can’t commit to 10 weeks, your can join one these intensive, one-off classes:
Voice and Dialog in Historical Fiction (Saturday, March 28, 10-5)
Crafting the Killer Novel Opening (Saturday, April 11, 10-5)
The Lost World: Harnessing the Power of Descriptive Prose in the Novel (Wednesday, June 17, 6-9 PM)
Click here for the full details on all my GrubStreet courses.
What Novels Can Do That Movies Can’t
January 10, 2015 § 1 Comment
In anticipation of the 10 week novel class I’m teaching at GrubStreet this winter, I have a little piece up at The Grub Daily called “What Novels Can do that Movies Can’t, and Why We Need to Keep Writing Them.” Here’s an excerpt:
“One of the great things about being alive in the twenty-first century is the abundance of good movies – and, lately, of good and even great TV series. But the happy truth is, even in this environment, novels are holding their own. This may be due to what novelist and writing teacher John Gardner referred to as the “vivid, continuous dream” of fiction, which is more than a writing workshop cliché.”
Read the whole post here.
Winter writing courses at GrubStreet
December 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Well, I must say I had fun this fall teaching several day-long classes on the writing craft at GrubStreet. It’s nice to have an excuse to spend more time in Boston, and GrubStreet students tend to be well educated, well read, open-minded, serious about writing, and eager to learn their craft. In this environment the learning experience definitely runs both ways. There’s something wonderfully inspiring about spending a stretch of time geeking out about craft with a bunch of other literary-minded introverts, and I believe it’s essential for a practicing novelist to keep educating himself in the analytical aspects of the craft. That’s exactly what teaching these classes does for me — and if I can help other aspiring writers get closer to their goals in the process, that’s certainly an excellent bonus.
I’m very much looking to teaching two more GrubStreet classes this winter. The first is a ten-week novel-writing class, in which we’ll be discussing many different aspects of the craft, including structure, scenes, dialog, characters, language, voice, point of view, image systems, backstory, the opening, and more, in addition to generating quite a bit of in-class work of either the first draft or the revised variety. The second class is a day-long affair focused on voice and dialog in historical fiction. So, Boston area writers, if any of this intrigues you, I urge you to take the leap! (And feel free to contact me if you have questions or doubts.)
Fall writing courses at GrubStreet
September 5, 2014 § 1 Comment
Hey everyone, I’m pleased to announce a new series of day-long workshops on the writing craft that I’ll be conducting at Grub Street in Boston. If you’re not familiar with this organization and you live anywhere in a 100 mile radius, you really ought to check it out. My experiences with Grub Street have been overwhelmingly positive. It’s a magnet for blazingly creative people following all kinds of interesting paths in writing, and their classes are top-notch in terms of providing inspiration and the ongoing work every writer must do in honing the craft.
Click on the titles to read full descriptions and logistical info. I’d love to see you in Boston!
September 26, 2014: Opening the Historical Novel
October 31, 2014 (Halloween!): Harnessing the Dark Side: Suspense, Resonance, and the Archetypal Shadow in Fiction
November 1, 2014: Reaching for the Sublime: Image Systems in Fiction
December 5, 2014: Cracking your Sentences Wide Open
New historical fiction article up at The Grub Daily
July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
My two part writing craft article, “Narrative as Time Machine: Five Tools for World Building in Historical Fiction” is now up at The Grub Daily.
The article grew out of a talk I gave at Grub Street’s fantastic Muse and the Marketplace conference in May, 2014, and analyzes key excerpts from great historical fiction novels such as The Age of Innocence, The English Patient, Cold Mountain, The King Must Die, and more. If this sounds interesting to you, click here. Hope you enjoy it!
Historical Fiction talk at Grub Street’s Muse and the Marketplace 2014
May 1, 2014 § 2 Comments
Very excited to be heading down to Boston tomorrow morning for Grub Street’s annual Muse & The Marketplace conference. I don’t attend many writing conferences, but I’ve been lucky enough to have participated in this one for the last two years and it’s very, very good. Grub Street is somehow able to attract such a smart and friendly crowd of writers, agents, editors, and various others associated with this business of putting words on paper to enrich and enliven our world.
Also exciting: this year will be my first as a presenter, or “Special Guest,” in the official parlance. I’ll be giving a talk called “Narrative as Time Machine: The Art of World-Building in Historical Fiction.” The talk will feature excerpts from some of my favorite works of historical fiction, including Edith Wharton’s classic The Age of Innocence, Mary Renault’s The King Must Die, James Welch’s Fool’s Crow, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, and Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. Very much looking forward to it!
While there, I’ll have a chance to run a couple of works-in-progress by a few agents and editors, and, perhaps most exciting of all, I’ll be bringing along (and giving away) several advance readers’ copies of my new novel, Will Poole’s Island, which has an official release date of August 15, 2014, and which, ahem, can now be pre-ordered on Amazon. Wish me luck!