August Class Bulletin

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Lindsey Crittenden

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Aug 13, 2014, 4:47:52 PM8/13/14
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Class Bulletin
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.

Fall Classes are underway!  Check out our terrific fall lineup—courses start September 14—at  http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/current-class-roster, or scroll down this Bulletin to Note four.

Note one: Writing tips from our teachers
From Louise Nayer (Building a Great Memoir: The Nuts and Bolts, 2 sessions, Sept 14 & Sept 21)

Great memoirs transport us to the world of the senses: a childhood room where a small wooden box filled with marbles sits proudly on a table by the bed—or to a beach in Cape Cod where children made seaweed necklaces. Most of us, at least those who are sighted, focus primarily on details seen through the eye. However, the other senses—sound, taste, smell and touch—add a tremendous amount to memoir.  What does the marble from the box feel like in a child’s hand? What does the seaweed necklace smell like? How do the waves sound when they crash on the beach?  
Try closing your eyes and listening to sounds—the buzz of the electric light or the shuffling of paper. Paying attention with all the senses will help create a richer and more layered world of memories.


Note two: Our latest favorite book on writing
From Elizabeth Bernstein (The Pang in Your Heart: A Short Story Workshop, 6 sessions beginning Sept 15)

Sometimes our best reads on craft come by way of fiction, as Elizabeth Bernstein discovers in Joshua Ferris’s recent novelThen We Came to the End.

Most writers know that the point of view you choose has a huge impact. A small, emotionally intimate story is usually told in the first person; an epic, action-driven story is more often told in the third. But what about the second person? It’s a tricky POV, because if it’s not done seamlessly it can be distracting. When it works, it’s a choice that can liven up a story — infuse it with surprise and create instant bonding between the reader and the protagonist, because they are one and the same: “You knew Reggie would be different from the moment you met him.” 
A point of view you almost never see is second person plural: “We.” Joshua Ferris breaks this ground with his wonderful novel, Then We Came to the End. It’s set in an advertising agency in the era of corporate downsizing, and really, what other point of view is there in cubicle culture besides a herd mentality? We all race for the free bagels in the kitchen; we all covet that cubby with the window view. Ferris’s POV choice brings that perspective into stark relief and underscores his ideas. Try swapping out POVs in your own work, and see how everything changes.


Note three: What we're reading now
From Julia Scheeres (Scene by Scene, 6 sessions, beginning September 25)

I just finished Deep by James Nestor. Perhaps because I've spent time on the beach this summer, I found his book especially thrilling. It follows scientists who are probing earth's last frontier—the deep ocean—and the stuff he discovers is plain nuts.   A few nuggets: whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away, sharks that swim in straight lines thousands of feet below the ocean's surface, seals that can hold their breath for 80 minutes, florescent creatures that proliferate at the sea bottom.  But the coolest thing is that our fishy origins allow us humans to learn echolocation, as whales do, and hold our breath for minutes at a time to dive to greater and greater depths. Nestor does all this and more, but readers can experience his sometimes perilous adventures from the comfort of their beach chairs.

Note four: Our Summer Classes & Workshops
For full descriptions, and to enroll, 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, August 24)

Building a Great Memoir: The Nuts and Bolts with Louise Nayer (2 sessions, Sep 14 & Sep 21)

Creating the One-Person Show with Zahra Noorbakhsh (8 sessions, beginning Sep 28)

Getting Published: The Secrets of Structure and Self-Editing with Laura Fraser (1 session, October 5)

Developing Your Comedic Voice in Prose with Zahra Noorbakhsh (6 sessions, beginning October 5)

Social Media Madness with Meghan Ward (1 session, October 12)

Why Love What You Will Lose: Writing Through Grief with Genine Lentine (1 session, October 12)

Gettin’ on the Gravy Train: How to Win a Writing/Reporting Fellowship with Vanessa Hua (1 session, October 26)

Spiritual Writing Workshop with Lindsey Crittenden (2 sessions, beginning October 19)

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

 
Mondays:

Blogging for Beginners with Meghan Ward (4 sessions, beginning September 15)

The Pang in Your Heart:  A Short Story Workshop with Elizabeth Bernstein (6 sessions, beginning September 15)

Advanced Blogging Workshop with Meghan Ward (6 sessions, beginning October 13)

Truth, Lies and Storytelling: A Users Guide to Writing Memoir with Zoe FitzGerald Carter (4 sessions, beginning October 13)

 
Tuesdays:

Mining For Songs: a Lyric Writing Workshop with Monica Pasqual (6 sessions, beginning September 9)

Demystifying Mystery: How to Plant Clues for Your Investigator (and Reader) to Uncover with Joe Clifford (5 sessions, beginning September 16)

The Book Biz, from A to Z (featuring six guests from the Grotto) with Constance Hale (6 sessions, beginning September 30)

The Art of Change: A Poetry Incubator with Genine Lentine (4 sessions, beginning October 21)

November Novel Marathon — NaNoWriMo or Not with Janis Cooke Newman (4 sessions, beginning November 4)

 
Wednesdays:

Mastering the Personal Essay with the Masters with Rachel Howard (8 sessions, beginning September 24)

Advanced Fiction Workshop (by invitation only) with Janis Cooke Newman (13 sessions, beginning September 10)

Life into Literature: A 4-Week Intensive with Laura Fraser (4 sessions, beginning October 1)

Fabulist Worlds: Writing Magical Realism with Jenny Bitner (6 sessions, beginning September 17)

 

Thursdays:

Pushing the Boundaries: Experiments in Writing with Jenny Bitner (6 sessions, beginning October 16)

Scene by Scene with Julia Scheeres (6 sessions, beginning September 25)

How to Write a Novel (And Not Stop Half-Way Through) with Janis Cooke Newman (6 sessions, beginning October 2)

Screenwriting Workshop with Xandra Castleton (8 sessions, beginning September 25)

 

Saturdays:

Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wicked Good Prose—$60 bucks, six hours, your own book with Constance Hale (1 session, October 4)

Characters Talking: How to Craft Great Dialogue that Lives on the Page and Moves Your Plot with Seth Harwood (2 sessions, October 25 & November 1)

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


Weekend workshops:

Character Development, Motivations & Dialogue: Thinking Like an Actor with Zahra Noorbakhsh (1 session, August 24)

Spiritual Writing Workshop with Lindsey Crittenden (2 sessions, beginning October 19)

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


Note five: Hearing from you
We’d like to hear from you.  What would you like us to include in the Grotto Class Bulletin?  What classes would you like to see offered at the Grotto?  What books about writing have been particularly useful for you?  Send your thoughts/comments/kudos & complaints to Lindsey Crittenden at lindseyec...@gmail.com 

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