JUNE Grotto Class Bulletin

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Lindsey Crittenden

Jun 14, 2016, 5:03:39 PM6/14/16
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Class Bulletin

Summer classes are in full swing at the Grotto.  Take a summer fiction workshop to jump-start your story or novel.  Hone your craft with a class on sentence style and editing. Learn how to write about science (while having fun).  Get feedback on up to 125 pages of your memoir.  Learn how to craft a winning book proposal.  And much more!

Check out all our top-ranked offerings — all taught by published professionals — at https://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/upcoming-classes/ or scroll down to Note Three.  

Note One: Writing Tips from Our Teachers

From Constance Hale (Crafting Truth: Research and Reporting for All Genres, 6 sessions starting Tuesday, July 12)

Metaphor—especially one made through verbs rather than nouns—is invaluable in character descriptions. George Packer, in a New Yorker article about the U.S. Senate in 2010, shows how quickly a verb can render a personality:  Observed from the press gallery, the senators in their confined space began to resemble zoo animals—Levin a shambling brown bear, John Thune a loping gazelle, Jim Bunning a maddened grizzly. Each one displayed a limited set of behaviors: in conversations, John Kerry planted himself a few inches away, loomed, and clamped his hands down on a colleague’s shoulders. Joe Lieberman patted everyone on the back."

Packer’s participles (shambling, loping, maddened) do as much work as his nouns (brown bear, gazelle, grizzly). In John Kerry’s planting himself, looming, and clamping his hands down, the verbs just take over.


Go sit in on a political rally or a city council meeting. Watch as different people enter and take up position. Observe carefully what they do—whether they grimace or smile, jostle with shoulder bags or briefing books, acknowledge the audience or stay lost in thought. Freewrite a paragraph recording what you see. Now rewrite the paragraph paying special attention to physical movements through the verbs. Can you use verbs to turn a metaphor? (Of course, those of you wanting to stay away from politics this season can apply the same technique while sitting in traffic court, at a concert, or at the family dinner table.)

Note Two: What We’re Reading Now 

From Yukari Kane  (The Art of Interviewing, 4 sessions starting Wed., July 13)

I'm starting work on a new book, and it helps to see how other authors have told similar stories, so my reading list this summer focuses on books that might inspire me structurally and thematically. To see how a journalistic story might be woven with personal narrative, I am looking at Atul Gawande's Being Mortal and Siddhartha Mukherjee's latest The Gene: An Intimate History. For examples of how to weave different unrelated stories of the same theme, I'm reading Mary Roach's new book Grunt and re-reading her first bestseller Stiff. For thematic inspiration, some of the books on my list include Mary Shelley's classic Frankenstein and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. Shelley's book is particularly interesting because she wrote it when she was just 18 years old. I've been doing a lot of thinking about why the book has endured through time. 

Note Three: Upcoming Classes

Classes are listed in chronological order, by date of first session.  For full descriptions and to enroll, click on each class or go to http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/upcoming-classes for the complete catalog.

Saturdays, June 18-July 9
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Tues., June 21-July 19
6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Thurs., June 23-July 14
6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Wed., July 13-Aug. 3
6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Sat., July 23 & Aug. 23
10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 21
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Note Four:  News & Updates

If you are receiving this newsletter twice, please be patient as we move to a new e-mailing system.  We will never use your email for anything other than Grotto correspondence you have requested.  To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to grotto-class-no...@googlegroups.com.
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We love hearing from you!  Send your news, feedback, & suggestions to Lindsey Crittenden at lindseyec...@gmail.com 

Thanks for reading!

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