Announcing Our Spring Classes!

53 views
Skip to first unread message

Janis Newman

unread,
Mar 19, 2014, 4:56:38 PM3/19/14
to Grotto Class Notes
Class Notes
Welcome to our monthly e-newsletter including tips about writing, what we're reading now, our favorite books about writing, and the latest news about our classes.

Spring has arrived -- and so has our amazing schedule of Spring Classes! We've got tons of new offerings, in addition to our usual weekly and weekend classes in fiction, nonfiction, memoir, novel-writing -- everything you're looking for to get your writing on track after the winter doldrums. Check out all of our Spring Session classes at http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/current-class-roster, or scroll down to Note four.

And, don't forget Regreturature: When good writers start bad, our annual -- and extremely hilarious -- evening of writing that shouldn't see the light of day. This year, our Grotto readers will be joined by Adam Johnson, the current Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction. Join us on Thursday, March 27, at the Verdi Club. Doors open at 7 pm, show at 8 pm.  For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/events/502108166567933/.


Note one: Writing tips from our teachers
From Janis Cooke Newman (How to Write a Novel - And Not Stop Half-Way Through, beginning April 23 ) 

Every now and then at the Grotto, we have a local author join us at lunch as a guest. Not too long ago, Anthony Marra, author of the wonderful (and critically-acclaimed) novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena stopped by. We asked him to describe his revision process, and he told us that one of his tricks was to completely re-type everything. "You really find all the awkward phrases and sentences you don't want," he said.

Grotto member and novelist Joshua Mohr (The Art of Compelling Dialogue, April 27) said he tried it, and it completely changed his writing for the better. I myself have always done this. You really know if something is worth keeping in your writing, if you're willing to type it over again.

 
Note two: Our latest favorite book on writing 
From Julia Scheeres (The First 10 Pages, beginning May 1)

One of my go-to books on creative nonfiction is Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University. It contains pearls of wisdom from today's best writers on everything associated with the creative nonfiction profession. This includes guidance on the big questions -- how to find and recognize a good story  -- to more practical matters, such as whether to tape record interviews or not. 

More than 50 writers offer their best tips, including Tom Wolfe on finding the "emotional core" of a story, Gay Talese on writing about private lives and Alma Guillermoprieto on telling the story and telling the truth. The book is perfect for memoirists and journalists alike. Whenever I'm stuck or frustrated with a project, this is the book I turn to again and again for inspiration.


Note three: What we're reading now
From Rachel Howard (Memoir II: Intermediate/Advanced Memoir Workshop, beginning April 14, and Mastering the Personal Essay with the Masters, beginning April 16)
 

I try to maintain a balanced reading diet, so to speak: A little bit in several different genres, and especially a book of poetry or book on poetry--I don’t personally write poetry, but regularly ingesting it reminds me to stay attentive at the closest level to language.  Right now I’m reading James Longenbach’s The Virtues of Poetry, and it’s pushing me to think more about the subtleties of rhythm in my sentences.  

In memoir, I’m reading Isak Dinesen’s classic Out of Africa, another lesson in rhythm.  I like to always be reading one or two books that take me inside another writer’s practice and demystify the work of revision.   Right now those books are Learning a Trade, which collects the working notebooks of fiction writer Reynolds Price, and the letters of Chekhov.  

And of course, you always have to have one fun read!  Right now, that’s the second book of Italian writer Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Trilogy, The Story of a New Name.  It’s about two childhood friends, one brilliant but forced to marry young, and one allowed to continue in school.  But in a way it’s really about the violent male culture they’re both trapped in.  It’s biting, juicy, textured, and epic.  Needless to say, I highly recommend all these books!


Note four: Our Spring Classes & Workshops

(Find full descriptions click on each class or visit http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/current-class-roster.)

Sundays:

Character Development, Motivations & Dialogue, Thinking Like an Actor with Zahra Noorbakhsh (1 session, March 16)

Creating the One-Person Show with Zahra Noorbakhsh (8 sessions, beginning March 23)

How to Write a Novel: Super Condensed Version with Janis Cooke Newman (1 session, Sunday, March 30)

Building a Great Memoir: The Nuts and Bolts with Louise Nayer (2 sessions, on March 30 and April 6)

Short Story Bootcamp with Elizabeth Bernstein (1 session, on April 13)

How to (Profoundly) Move Your Readers: The Craft of Developing Dramatic Emotions with Junse Kim, (5 sessions beginning April 20)

Change Your Life, Change the World: Writing & Meditation for Activists & Educators with Faith Adiele (2 sessions, beginning June 8)

Building a Great Memoir: The Nuts and Bolts with Louise Nayer (2 sessions, beginning June 1)

Kickstart Your Short Story with Ethel Rohan (1 session, Sunday April 27 or May 4 or May 18)

Harnessing a Cloud, and Other Challenges of Spiritual Writing with Lindsey Crittenden (2 sessions, on June 8 & June 15)

The Art of Compelling Dialogue with Joshua Mohr (1 session, on April 27)

Mondays:

Pushing the Boundaries: Experiments in Writing with Jenny Bitner (6 sessions beginning April 28 – No class Memorial Day)

Finding Your Story with Gerard Jones (6 sessions, beginning April 28)

Memoir II: Intermediate/Advanced Workshop with Rachel Howard (8 sessions, beginning April 14)

Tuesdays:

How to Write a Novel (and Not Stop Half-Way Through) with Janis Cooke Newman (6 sessions, beginning April 23)

Your Personal Odyssey: Explore & Tell Your Story with Faith Adiele (6 sessions, beginning April 1)

Developing Your Comedic Voice in Prose with Zahra Noorbakhsh (6 sessions, beginning April 22)

Screenwriting Workshop with Xandra Castleton (8 sessions, beginning April 29)

Wednesdays:

Personal Essay: The Universal In the Particular with Laura Fraser (3 sessions, beginning March 5)

Mastering the Personal Essay with the Masters with Rachel Howard (9 sessions beginning April 16)

Thursdays:

Tell and Show with Frances Lefkowitz (1 session, on March 13)

No padding: the E-single Memoir with Laura Fraser (6 sessions beginning April 17)

The First 10 Pages (Nonfiction) with Julia Scheeres (8 sessions, beginning May 1)

Finding your Best Literary Agent with Chelsea Lindman (1 session, April 17)

Saturdays:

Yoga for Writers with Mark Morford (1 session), March 15

The Art of Losing: Finding the Words For What’s Gone with Lindsey Crittenden and Monica Wesolowska (1 session, on March 22)

Gesture Writing: What Writers Can Learn from Artists about Capturing Life on the Page with Rachel Howard and David Tallitsch (1 session, on March 29)

How to Write Quirky, Weird, Fabulist, Surrealist, Magical Realist Short Stories with Ali Eteraz, (1 session, Saturday April 26)

Writing the Crime Fiction or Thriller Novel:Practice Makes Plot Perfect with Seth Harwood (2 sessions, Saturday April 26 & Saturday, May 3)

Writing the Ancestor with Lyzette Wanzer (1 session, this class is offered twice: Saturday May 10 & Saturday June 7)

Edit Yourself: Tools & Tactics for Revising Your Own Drafts with Frances Lefkowitz (1 session, on May 17)

Character Development, Motivations & Dialogue, Thinking Like an Actor with Zahra Noorbakhsh (1 session, Saturday May 17)

Short Story Bootcamp with Elizabeth Bernstein (1 session, on June 7)

Weekend Workshops:

What We Talk About When We Talk About Stealing: Using Existing Models to Craft Short Fiction with Lindsey Crittenden (2 sessions, on March 8 & March 9)

How to Write a Novel: Super Condensed Version with Janis Cooke Newman (1 session, Sunday, March 30)

Kickstart Your Short Story with Ethel Rohan (1 session, Sunday April 27 or May 4 or May 18)

How to Write Quirky, Weird, Fabulist, Surrealist, Magical Realist Short Stories with Ali Eteraz, (1 session, Saturday April 26)

The Art of Compelling Dialogue with Joshua Mohr (1 session, on April 27)

Writing the Crime Fiction or Thriller Novel:Practice Makes Plot Perfect with Seth Harwood (4/26 & 5/3)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Stealing: Using Existing Models to Craft Short Fiction with Lindsey Crittenden (2 sessions, on May 3 & May 4)

Writing the Ancestor with Lyzette Wanzer (1 session, this class is offered twice: Saturday May 10 & Saturday June 7)

Edit Yourself: Tools & Tactics for Revising Your Own Drafts with Frances Lefkowitz (1 session, on May 17)

Character Development, Motivations & Dialogue, Thinking Like an Actor with Zahra Noorbakhsh (1 session, Saturday May 17)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Food: Food Lit with Faith Adiele (1 session, Saturday, May 31)

Harnessing a Cloud, and Other Challenges of Spiritual Writing with Lindsey Crittenden (2 sessions, on June 8 & June 15)

Short Story Bootcamp with Elizabeth Bernstein (1 session, on June 7)


Note five: Hearing from you

We'd like to hear back from you. What would you like us to include in Grotto Class Notes? What classes would you like to see us offer at the Grotto? What books about writing have been particularly useful for you? Send your thoughts/comments/kudos & complaints to the Grotto Class Czar at janiscookenewman@gmail.com


Note six: Subscribing & unsubscribing
And of course, if you'd like to opt out of Grotto Class Notes, you can always do so at http://groups.google.com/group/grotto-class- notes, just click on Edit my membership, and then Unsubscribe. 


Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages