Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bones of Storytelling - 2017

You are such an amazing teacher. I am experienced and published, but when I came home I immediately started revising my novel. First chapter? Gone. Plot points? There. Heroine taking charge? You bet. You worked your ass off...we writers sure appreciate it. ~ Sue Lick

This class is the result of five years of study on story.  I've broken down the parts into simple sections with exercises to help you learn how to understand and apply each part to the whole.   Concept, theme, plot, structure, character, antagonistic forces, and setting.  You will learn to organize your fiction or creative non-fiction with the reader in mind.  You will leave with examples, handouts, and tools to fine two your current draft or create your first!


Fri:  6:00-9:00     Concept & Theme

Sat: 10:00-4:00    Plot and Structure

Sun: 10:00-4:00   Character, Antagonistic Forces, Setting

Books and Prep for Class:  

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.
Story by Robert McKee
The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker
13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley (for the particularly ambitious!) 

Please dig in and read about Concept, Theme and Structure, in Story Engineering. Read about the seven basic plots in Booker.  Read Chapter 14 in Robert McKee.  If you go as far as getting the Smiley book, read A Novel of your Own PI & II.  

If you DO NOT want to invest in these books, please don't worry. I'll have my copies, hand outs, and you can share with others.  Also, if you are balking at pre-reading, DO NOT WORRY! This suggestion is for those who want to get a jump on the class.  

Write a summary of your project and a bio on yourself. Tell me what you are trying to create, what has thwarted you, and what your writing goals are. Also include some background on yourself. Please do not stress about this exercise.  Just do your best! 


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Monday, October 10, 2016

Publishing Workshop - Spring 2017

Holly Lorincz - Visiting Instructor

I met Holly a couple years back when she was a young agent and long time editor.  I was impressed by her poise and focus.  I invited her to teach to a group of students I was working with and found she was generous, open and kind.  Honest and ambitious too.  

She presented again at The Blackbird Studio on June 4th and talked about preparing manuscripts for agent and editor review.  She will return in Sept. for a repeat performance of her class, Preparing Your Work for Submission, and she'll do an advanced course as well, for those who are ready to work their first chapter and query letter. 

How to Get Plublished - Spring 2017

Advanced Publishing Workshop - Spring 2017

Holly is a professional editor and owner of Lorincz Literary Services. She works with debut and bestselling authors, publishing houses, and the MacGregor Literary Agency, where she agented for three years. Holly's also an author, ghost writing a range of published books, from memoirs to novels to prison survival handbooks, and is the published author of her own, hilarious novel, Smart Mouth, which is optioned for a TV series.  

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Sunday, October 09, 2016

30 Week Studio Classes: 2016/17

The Studio specializes in long term literary studies.  This is an immersion group that provides support and depth studies.  From Sept. 2016 to May 2017, we meet each week for three hours:

Studio writers read a selection of books chosen by the group, attend literary lectures, listen to podcasts by nationally known writers, and study together.  We workshop with focus on the various complexities of the literary arts including scene, structure, character development, arc, antagonistic forces and progressions.  We'll also have a mini poetry track this year, with Jenn Foreman, and this is to help break into deeper emotions within our prose.

The Studio is a committed group who support each other by setting goals, sharing the details of their full length projects, and by being there during the ups and downs of the creative process.

Studio I (first year) 
Tuesday/11:30-2:30 (CLOSED)
*Audio class option available.  See below.  

Studio II (second year)
Thursday/11:30-2:30 (ONE SPOT OPEN)

Studio III (third/fourth year)
Thursday/6:00-9:00 (CLOSED)

Studio I Audio Options:

Option 1:  Each week, from Sept. 13 to May 30th, you receive a three hour audio class and can follow the homework and readings at your own pace, and level of interest.  You are basically attending the class at the level of an observer.  Cost:  $600.00

Option 2:  Each week, from Sept. 13 to May 30th, you receive a three hour audio class and can follow the homework and readings at your own pace, and level of interest.  And, you can submit pages to me, personally, ten times over the year.  I will read those pages, provide written feedback and send them back to you.  We can discuss the feedback on the phone, or on Skype, and this is a twenty minute session.  Cost:  $1250.00

If you are interested in participating in a 2016/17 Studio's at audio level or are interested in taking a spot as an observer, please contact me right away.  jclauck@gmail.com.  If you would like to be on the wait list for 2017/18, please let me know.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Jennifer Lauck - Studio Director/Instructor

Jennifer Lauck - Director

I created The Blackbird Studio for Writers after 30 years of studying with teachers like Tom Spanbauer (Dangerous Writers), and Diana Abu Jaber (PSU), and in the literary programs of PSU, Montana State University and Pacific Lutheran University.  I have a BA in journalism, an MFA in creative writing and have taught for more than fifteen years in private workshops, seminars and conferences like AWP, the Literary Arts in the Schools program.

The name Blackbird comes from my first book, and from the Beatles song that tells us to: Take these broken wings and learn how to fly.  That's what we do at this school.  We take what might seem like a a broken mess, and help you compile it into something that will fly.

I'm a consummate student.  I love to learn.  And, I love to learn with people who are open, inquisitive, proactive and focused.  If you are that kind of person, you'll love it here. The Studio is welcoming, cozy, and empowering.

I offer three 30 week classes: Studio I, Studio II and Studio III.  I also consult, long term, with four writers a year, and help a handful of writers via one one one consults.  Please click on the links below, read more.  I look forward to helping you on your writing journey.

Teaching Availability:  

2)  Studio I, Sept. 13 - May 20, 2016-2017, Tues. 11:30-2:30 - CLOSED (Audio available!)  

3)  Studio II, Sept. 15 - May 20, 2016-2017, Thurs. 11:30-2:30 - CLOSED 

4)  Studio III, Sept. 15 - May 20, 2016-2017, Thurs. 6:00-9:00 - CLOSED

NOTE:  Taking apps for 2017/18, submit interest to jclauck@gmail.com

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Welcome New Instructor (Poetry, Prose, Screenwriting)

Matthew Minicucci - Instructor

Matthew Minicucci has just moved to Portland and is a pearl of a man!  I'm so happy and honored he'll be teaching at The Studio in the fall of 2016.

Matt is the author of two collections of poetry: Translation (Kent State University Press, 2015), chosen by Jane Hirshfield for the 2014 Wick Poetry Prize, and Small Gods, forthcoming from New Issues Press in 2017. He is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Wick Poetry Center, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received his MFA. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from numerous journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2014, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, and The Southern Review, among others.

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

What I'm Reading

2015/16 Reading List 

Last academic year I posted my reading list.  You can find 2014 by clicking here.  This is my list for this academic year.  I post as I go.  

  1. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng*
  2. The Color Purple by Alice Walker*
  3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (3rd time)***
  4. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson (audio)
  5. The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent 
  6. The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman
  7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2 times)*
  8. The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Steig Larsson (audio)
  9. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante*
  10. The Girl in the Spiders Web by David Lagerkrantz (audio)
  11. The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante*
  12. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante*
  13. The Year of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante*
  14. The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante
  15. The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante*
  16. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson  (3 times)*
  17. Troubling Love by Elena Ferrante
  18. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  19. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy**
  20. Sophie's Choice by William Styron
  21. The Crossing's by Cormac McCarthy**
  22. Cities of the Plains by Cormac McCarthy
  23. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  24. Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
  25. Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
  26. Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout*
  27. Olive Kittridge by Elizabeth Strout (3 times)*
  28. Amy & Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
  29. Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout*
  30. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
  31. The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky *
  32. The Railway Man by Eric Lomax**
  33. An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
  34. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  35. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullars 
  36. Sutree by Cormac McCarthy
  37. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  38. Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender 
  39. Sparrow Reader by Sparrow
  40. H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald 
  41. Beloved by Toni Morrison*
  42. Smart Mouth by Holly Lorincz
  43. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  44. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
  45. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Klegg
  46. The Orchard Keeper by Cormac McCarthy
  47. Nora Webster by Colm Toiban
  48. Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy
  49. The Gardener's Son by Corman McCarthy
  50. The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong
What are you reading?  

Leave a comment, share your thoughts on why you loved (or detested) a book. 

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Jennifer Foreman - Poet in Residence

Jennifer Foreman - Poet in Residence

I came across Jenn Foreman at a workshop in the spring of 2015.  Right away, I was dazzled by her authentic, and transparent way of being and creating.  She is one of those fearless writers who inspires fearlessness in people around her.  She graduated from Texas Woman's University with a degree in social work, and has been published in The Sun, Timberline Review, and Voice Catcher.  Right now she's at work on a memoir and a collection of grief poems.  

After inviting Jenn to teach a one day workshop at The Studio, I was blown away by her compassion, knowledge, and bawdy good humor.  She is a rare gem.   

To study with Jenn is a memorable and life changing experience.  She holds space for her students to be vulnerable and honest.  She teaches poetry at the most practical, accessible way I've ever seen too! This fall she will be teaching poetry forms in our studio classes and I look forward to her offering more advanced poetry classes.  TBA!  

Jenn's always available for consults on poetry and prose.  For details, contact me at Jclauck@gmail.com.

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