Saturday, August 14, 2010

For Those of You Who Are Wondering but Are Too Shy to Ask

I've received several questions about the September Structure workshop, and thought it made sense to address them here, too.

I'm a new writer. Can I take your class, or will it be too advanced for me?

No, I don't think it's too advanced for a beginner. It will flood your brain with information, but it's information you can use right now to make your writing better, and none of it is conceptually difficult. And you need at least a fundamental understanding of structure to shape a book, so in that way, it's perfect for new writers.

But it is a lot of material. A lot. My whole goal in this course is to take abstract concepts (Aristotle's notion of magnitude, for example), and show you how to translate that to real scenes and plots and characters. So it's very practical, and for that reason alone, it would be great for a new writer.

My advice to the new writer, though, is to hang onto the lessons and revisit them in a year or two. What's important to you in the early stages is not what will be important to you later. Today you might be wrestling with conflict and causation. Tomorrow, it might be sequencing and logic. The workshop addresses a broad range of structure concepts, some of which might be more worthwhile later. (But it sure won't hurt you any to get exposed to these ideas early on.)

I've published six books. Will there be anything new for me to learn in this class?

Experienced writers like the structure workshop because, even if they know these theories, they don't always know what to do with them. I mean, it's one thing to say that events must have a certain magnitude. It's another to know how to evaluate your writing for magnitude and change it where necessary. (I've been working on the magnitude lesson today, which is why this is on my mind.)

And if you've had little training in literary theory, but still manage to pull together publishable books, this class might provide you with a new understanding of your instinctive approach to your work. Perhaps you already "get" the mechanics of character shifts in some deeply intuitive way. This workshop will give you the tools and the vocabulary to manage your draft structures in a more thoughtful way.

Are there still spaces left?

Yes, a few, but not many. I want to keep this class size fairly small because it's intensive. I've done it in person for years, but never online before now, and I'm not sure how that will affect the Q&A. But if we keep it fairly intimate, I'll know that I have ample time to handle whatever arises, and nobody will be shortchanged.

I don't understand what this workshop will be about. What is structure?

Take the class and find out. :)

It's going to be a great workshop. I've given this one in person a million times over the past two decades, and believe me, people walk out of it armed for battle. This isn't just academic theory blah blah blah, and there will be a lot of step-by-step explanations of how to handle different structural concepts when working on real manuscripts.



Anonymous said...

I am trying to pay for the course, but Paypal does not like my most-definitely-valid-used-everyday credit card. Is there some other way I can pay for the course(preferably with my card, but I'm open to other options)?

Thank you.


Victoria Kerrigan said...

I also wouldn't use Paypal, so if there is another option, that would be helpful.

Also, is it real-time? Will it matter that I'm on the other side of the world?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know a bit about the structure of the workshops:

'Class' frequency


writtenwyrdd said...

I'd also be interested in the course, but I can't do it real time. How will it be set up? I can use all the help with structure I can's what bogs me down every time in the middle of the work.

Edittorrent said...

@Gal I'm far from a paypal expert, but I think you can use routing info from a bank account, too. Maybe we should get Alicia in here to answer. She knows more about paypal.


Edittorrent said...

@Victoria Time zones shouldn't matter. Everyone who signs up will be subscribed to the course loop. Lessons will be emailed over the loop, and Q&A will also be directed over the loop. Lessons will probably post morning and evening, though much depends on my schedule and how well the class does.


Edittorrent said...

@Anon See response to Victoria. Also, yes, there will be exercises, discussion questions, that sort of thing. Some of the exercises will be for your own personal use rather than for class work. There's a lot of material to cover in 2 weeks, so we don't want to get too far deep into exercises.


Edittorrent said...

@writtenwyrdd It will be real time in that it will go for two weeks, and not real time in that it's written lessons and email Q&A. I thought about doing videoconferencing or even some simple audacity files, but I think this method will be better for now. When people are scattered around the globe as the writing community is, real time is not an easy thing to manage.


writtenwyrdd said...

Thanks! It sounds like a great opportunity.

writtenwyrdd said...

FYI I just signed up!

Edittorrent said...

Gal-- Re: Paypal-- if it won't take the credit card, hmm. I'm not sure there's a way around that. I've had that happen with eBay (which is owned by paypal or vice versa), and couldn't figure out what was wrong.

Generally if you have online banking, you can electronically send the money to a bank account-- you could get the bank account # and info from Theresa.

Victoria, yes, that's why we don't do it in Chat. What's a sensible time in Chicago might not be so sensible in London! Better that everyone do it at his/her own convenience, hence that old-fashioned technology of email.

We were sitting around wondering today how we managed before the Web. "Mail. Remember that?"

writtenwyrdd said...

Hi Theresa, I haven't used PayPal much, so I'm wondering if I need to do anything more to sign up. The money went through according to PayPal, but you don't have my information, I don't think?

I got dumped out after the payment was processed, which may have been our system being glitchy.

Should be under D Frazier or email of writtenwyrdd AT live DOT com