Summer Session at the Grotto now open!

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Lindsey Crittenden

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Jun 17, 2014, 4:07:49 PM6/17/14
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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.


Summer Classes start June 22, 2014.  Check out our Summer Session classes at http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/current-class-roster, or scroll down to Note four.


Note one: Writing tips from our teachers
From Susan Ito (Revision Boot Camp: Circuit Training Your Manuscript, 1 session July 20, and Beyond Poop and Puberty:  The Practice and Pitfalls of Writing About Parenting, with Tomas Moniz, 1 session August 23)

Next time you revise a draft, try printing it out and then cutting it into distinct scenes or sections. Lay them all out on the floor or a big table. Try arranging them chronologically. What does that do to the story? See what it feels like to start with various opening scenes - how does that impact the story? Notice how the story changes when scenes, or flashback/backstory sections are re-arranged within the whole. It can make a big difference to reveal information about a character’s past early in the story versus later on. Laying an entire story out before you, and physically manipulating the various sections, can allow you to do true “re-vision” - seeing your writing again in a whole new way.



Note two: Our latest favorite book on writing 
From Maw Shein Win (The Accidental Find: Looking for Poetry in Unexpected Places, 1 session August 10)

A few writers' resource books for poets and prose writers that I have found particularly inspiring over the years are Finding Your Writer’s Voice, A Guide to Creative Fiction by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall; The Triggering Town, Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing by Richard Hugo; and The Poet’s Companion,A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux. 

One book which may not be as well known is Writing the Life Poetic, An Invitation to Read & Write Poetry by poet Sage Cohen. It has eighty concise sections that offer "explorations of the poetic life and craft." Some of the titles include "Learn a Foreign Language (Or Create Your Own)," "Mixing Media: The World as Your Canvas," and "The Alchemy of Doing Nothing." The book gives helpful advice about submitting your writing, building an audience, blogging, and running a reading series. I also go back to the writing prompts and questions at the end of each chapter when I feel stuck. An excellent read for poets.



Note three: What we're reading now
From Jenny Bitner (Fabulist Worlds: Writing Magic Realism, 6 sessions starting June 19, and Sex on the Page, 1 session June 28)

Lydia Davis most recent short story collection Can’t and won’t is her seventh collection. Davis is one of those rare and amazing writers who has made a name for herself almost exclusively by her short stories. Put her in the category say of Alice Munro or Raymond Carver. And as with any great storywriter, her stories are unmistakably her own, often seeming more like meditations or essays, which explore the subtleties of the human mind and the complexities of the mundane. One story, focusing on the narrator trying to sell a rug at a fundraiser and then changing her mind and never deciding if she wants to keep it or sell it, highlights the places our minds go to when we dont even realize that we are obsessively thinking.   Nothing is too trivial or everyday to write about for Davis.  In this way, her writing has transcendence because the beauty of life is in those small seemingly insignificant details--the sock of an ex-husband left at our house, a small gift of ceramic seals given by a now dead sister.  Although there are many lovely pieces in this collection, I find her very short pieces less satisfying and this book is filled with many of them. For someone unfamiliar with her work a more natural place to start and a stronger read would be The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis.

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:

How to (Profoundly) Move Your Readers: The Craft of Developing Dramatic Emotions with Junse Kim (5 sessions, starting July 13)

Developing Your Comedic Voice in Prose with Zahra Noorbakhsh (6 sessions, starting July 13)

The Accidental Find: Looking for Poetry in Unexpected Places with Maw Shein Win (1 session, August 10)

Revision Boot Camp: Circuit Training Your Manuscript with Susan Ito (1 session, July 20)

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


Mondays:

Blogging for Beginners with Meghan Ward (4 sessions, beginning June 23)

 

Tuesdays:

Screenwriting Workshop with Xandra Castleton (8 sessions, beginning July 8)

Arts Reviewing 101: How to Be a Smart, Sensitive Critic, Online and In Print with Rachel Howard (3 sessions, beginning July 8)

 

Wednesdays:

Mastering the Personal Essay with the Masters with Rachel Howard (9 sessions, starting July 16)

5-Week Blogging Workshop with Meghan Ward (5 sessions, starting June 25)

 

Thursdays:

Fabulist Worlds: Writing Magical Realism with Jenny Bitner (6 sessions starting June 19, no class July 3)

 
Saturdays:

Sex on the Page with Jenny Bitner (1 session June 28)

Short Story Bootcamp with Elizabeth Bernstein (1 session June 28) Email ebern...@aol.com

Gesture Writing: What Writers Can Learn from Artists about Capturing Life on the Page with Rachel Howard and David Tallitsch (1 session, July 12)

How to Write Riveting Scenes with Steve Almond (1 session, on July 19) – free exclusive DIY book from author if taken with How to Create an Irresistible Narrator

How to Create an Irresistible Narrator with Steve Almond (1 session, on July 19) – free exclusive DIY book from author if taken with How to Write Riveting Scenes

The Art of Losing: Finding the Words For What’s Gone with Lindsey Crittenden and Monica Wesolowska (1 session, July 19)

The First 10 Pages of Narrative Nonfiction with Julia Scheeres (1 session, July 26)

Writing Your Hero’s (or Heroine’s) Journey with Sasha Cagen (1 session, August 2)

Beyond Poop and Puberty: The Practice and Pitfalls of Writing About Parenting with Susan Ito and Tomas Moniz (1 session, August 23)


Weekend Workshops:

How to Write Riveting Scenes with Steve Almond (1 session, on July 19)

How to Create an Irresistible Narrator with Steve Almond (1 session, on July 19)

Revision Boot Camp: Circuit Training Your Manuscript with Susan Ito (1 session, July 20)

The First 10 Pages of Narrative Nonfiction with Julia Scheeres (1 session, July 26)

Writing Your Hero’s (or Heroine’s) Journey with Sasha Cagen (1 session, August 2)

The Accidental Find: Looking for Poetry in Unexpected Places with Maw Shein Win (1 session, August 10)

Beyond Poop and Puberty: The Practice and Pitfalls of Writing About Parenting with Susan Ito and Tomas Moniz (1 session, August 23)

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


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 lindseyecrittenden@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.
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