I am a junkie for workshops, classes, seminars and anything remotely academic. There are two that have been particularly important for me as I learn the craft of writing.
In Person Workshop: Saturday, May 12, the Calgary Association of RWA presented Michael Hauge in an all day workshop Story Mastery.
My head is still spinning from all the information. My brain feels like I’m hungover but it’s from the influx of new terms and ideas.
Michael has a well developed story structure that he explains using video clips and anecdotes from his experience in Hollywood. He also used examples from some of the novels in the room as well as some of the authors he has collaborated with. Best of all, he spoke knowledgeably and intelligibly about romance novels - a feat that some consultants haven’t mastered.
For me there were two aha’s that will make my prep work for the next novel easier. First let me say that I am a pantser - I really have no idea of what is going to happen before i write. But I always know the backstory and my characters really well. After yesterday I have some new terms (essence and identity) to use in figuring out those characters and their character arc.
The second thing that was key for me will be used in editing the first draft: a story structure that is totally logical and easy for me to understand. I’ve taken many workshops and sometimes the story structure given is so complicated I can’t work through it. Sometimes it’s not intellectually right for me (which means I can’t get my head around it). And sometimes it’s so far from my experience that it makes me yawn.
Not this one. And everyone at our table agreed - this method of approaching a story made it a lot easier to get it right the first time.
Well done, Calgary RWA and Michael Hauge. Saturday was an interesting and informative day and I can’t recomment this workshop enough.
Online Workshop: In August of last year I took 21 Steps to Fog Free Writing from Don McNair. Don taught us more about ‘writing tight’ in that workshop than any other editing class or program I’ve taken. It was succinct, direct and full of examples and worksheets to practice what we’d learned. He was available and answered questions promptly. Best of all, with all the worksheets he provided, we can go back to review and hone our skills.
Don is teach a Master Class June 11-22, "Editor-Proof That First Chapter"at www.WriterUniv.com. Based on my experience with his first class I’m going to be there. I’m sure it will be excellent.
I am an academic at heart. I love classes and educational opportunities. I am often frustrated at conferences because a one hour session does not allow instructors to get into the depth of any topic. But if you’re looking for information on how to structure a story for major impact, spend the money and hear Michael Hauge. If you’re looking for an improvement in your ability to write clearly, watch for Don McNair. Both experts in their field and both very nice men.
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