Sunday, August 31, 2014

Teaching Point: A Perfect Scene

We talk a lot about scenes in the craft classes.  It mystifies and perplexes us.  Many are so used to the busy patter of their thinking, they mistake that for a scene or think they can write:

Jerry walked into the room and sat down.  (Two passive verbs by the way) .... and then go into a long run of back story, exposition and never get back to the fact of Jerry in the room, or for that matter tell us what Jerry looks like, moves like, etc. 

A scene is a moment in time, when something happens.  One moment.  One thing.  It's active.  It moves on action.  You address what is happening in that moment and if you give back story...IF...it's about what is happening in THAT moment with the character.  Context...brief.  If you give exposition or go into internal spaces, again, it's brief.  A hint.  A flavor.

This poem by the truly brilliant Sherman Alexie does it all.  Look at his description of what happens and the percentage that is his own thinking in his own head. 

Crow Justice by Sherman Alexie

As I pump gas, a flock of crows passes
Overhead. Then another flock arrives,
And another, and a third, fourth, and fifth.
Jesus, the sky itself is made of crows,  (this is voice)
And they’re louder than the nearby freeway.  (5 lines of pure description of the moment)
Could this be a family reunion? 
Maybe these dark birds are planning for war.  (this is contemplation, his thinking)
Then, with one great hush, the flock goes silent,
And separates into living currents,
And forms winged rivers around a mid-air
Island of three quickly deserted crows.
Why? I don’t know at first, but then one bird,  (writer enters again with a tiny question)Much larger than the rest, breaks from the flock,
Quickly followed by other large, fast birds,
And leads a mass attack on the lost crows
And snap-snap-snaps their necks, and as they fall,
Tears them in half. As the crow-pieces hit
Hot pavement, the flock, as one, celebrates,
Yes, they celebrate, And I realize (he could have used description here to show me, reader, what crow celebration looks like, sounds like, but okay...we forgive this because, well, he's Sherman Alexie)
That I saw a public execution.
A murder of crows, indeed, but what crimes,
Among the crows, are punishable by
Death? I can’t begin to understand crow
Morality, Hey, I don’t want to try,  (now his summation of the the moment, in his own head)
But justice, like time, flies and flies and flies.


Look at the pacing, the percentages here.  25 lines.  9 lines are his thoughts in reaction to the moment he's shown us.  And only one is about "life."  That is a perfect way to gauge your own story telling.  9 out of 25 is about 1/3 of internal, the rest is external and pure reportage of ONE moment.


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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday PM Craft Class: FULL

"Thank you so much - you are a wonderful instructor, you should know this as many times as you've heard it. As a very old teacher I love your touch with people." ~ Helen

This page is for all the students in the PM Craft Class at The Attic.

This is an approval based class, meaning you need to check with me before signing up.  At this time, the class is full but to be wait listed, please send 1) References from previous workshops 2) A representative sample of your writing 3) Your background as a writer to jennifer@jenniferlauck.com.  I also like writers in this class to have taken The Bones of Storytelling.  You can do this online or attend prior to attempting to take this class. 

If you need to switch your reading time with another writer, please let Cloie know. 


Class 1:  Thurs, Sept. 18 @ 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Reading Assignment: Chapter 13 in Story by Robert McKee
Readers:  Carrie, Marla, Elyse, Nancy

Class 2:  Sept. 25 @ 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Reading Assignment: The Life She's Been Missing by Greg Ames (Drop Box)
Readers:  Becky, Cloie, Marilyn, Sara, Audrey 

Class 3:  Oct. 2 @ 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Reading Assignment: Chapter 14 in Story by Robert McKee
Readers: Barbara, Bridget, John, Gail

Class 4:  Oct. 9 @ 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Reading Assignment: Ch. 1 to InZanesville by Jo Ann Beard (Drop box)
Readers:  Everyone

Class 5:  Oct. 16@ 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. 
Reading Assignment: Chapter 9 in Story by Robert McKee
Readers:  Carrie, Marla, Elyse, Nancy

Class 6: Oct. 23 @ 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Reading Assignment: Beautiful Ruins Chap 1 & 2 (Drop Box) 
Readers: Becky, Cloie, Marilyn, Sara, Audrey 

Class 7:  Oct. 30 @ 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Reading Assignment: Chapter 10 in Story by Robert McKee
Readers:  Barbara, Bridget, John, Gail

Class 8: Nov. 6 @ 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Reading Assignment: Ch. 1 Goon Squad (Drop Box)
Readers:  Everyone


Reference texts: 
Story by Robert McKee (REQUIRED) 
Tell it Slant by Brenda Miller
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker
Screenwriters Problem Solver by Syd Fields
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
The Elements of Style by Strunk/White
The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman
Philip Lopate on Writing Personal Essays



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Thursday AM Craft Class

"Thank you so much - you are a wonderful instructor, you should know this as many times as you've heard it. As a very old teacher I love your touch with people." ~ Helen

This page is for all the students in the AM Craft Class at The Attic. We are in the midst of taking registration and are nearly full!  We begin on Sept. 18th at 10:30 a.m. Get your spot OR get on the wait list.  If you are already signed up, get a jump by checking out the schedule (under construction) and the recommended reading.  Virtual Option, click here.

Class Detail:  Writers pre-create and share a two page essay with a beginning/middle and end to hone your craft skills weekly.  3 to 4 writers will also workshop 5 pages each week and that schedule will be posted by Sept. 10.  Last, each class has a craft teaching including an essay you will pre-read to discuss. 

My goal, in this class, is to teach you all I know about crafting fine scenes via the incorporation of dialogue, sensory details, character development and forward momentum of action.  It is also my intention to give you basic information about plot, structure and character, from a readers view point, so you can better shape your ideas to read the reader.


Sept. 18 - Class 1
Reading Assignment: Jess Walter Two Page Essay (Sent via email 8/21)
                                       Critique Chapter (Sent Via Email 8/21)
Two Pg. Essay Assignment (500 words)
Readers: Celia, Courtney, Joy, Susan G.

Class 2
Reading Assignment: Ch1. Eduard Tulane (Drop Box)
Readers: Savannah, Nicole, Marlo, Sandra, Janice

Class 3 
Two Pg. Essay Assignment (500 words)
Readers: Natalia, Terri, Kim, Susan S., Charlotte

Class 4
Reading Assignment: The Fine Art of Sighing by Bernard Cooper
Readers: EVERYONE

Class 5
Two Pg. Essay Assignment (500 words)
Readers: Celia, Courtney, Joy, Susan G.

Class 6
Reading Assignment: Ch. 7, Claire Bidwell Smith, Rules of Inheritance
Readers: Savannah, Nicole, Marlo, Sandra, Janice

Class 7
Two Pg. Essay Assignment (500 words)
Readers: Natalia, Terri, Kim, Susan S., Charlotte

Class 8
Reading Assignment: Burl's by Bernard Cooper
Readers: EVERYONE

Required Text:
Tell it Slant by Brenda Miller    


Reference texts:  Click on Links or Order Books
Philip Lopate on Writing Personal Essays
Keep it Short by Danny Heitman
Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
Screenwriters Problem Solver by Syd Fields
Story by Robert McKee


SUGGESTED PROGRAM:  Scrivener (free download for 30 days). 

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beach Retreat


August 21-24, 2015



This workshop is an annual event on the Oregon Coast and is open to a dozen writers.  It's a fun, inspiring, power workshop with lots of writing and lots of learning.  Writers come from around the world and end up bonding to become lifetime friends. Don't miss it. Plus, Jennifer will be breaking out her most advanced interpretation of the story pyramid, giving much needed insights about plot, structure, character and scene. 

There will be two days of intensive teaching, from 10-4 with a break for lunch and two days of broken teaching, in the AM and the PM, leaving you time for writing/revision and for resting your mind as you stroll the wide, long beach of Manzanita or hike the narrow, steep trails up Neakahnie Mountain.   You will also have private meetings with Jennifer on your project and will be workshopping with the entire group!

DATES: August 21-24
TIMES: Aug. 21 &23, 10-1 & 4-6:30
Aug. 22 &24 10-4 p.m. (Snacks, tea, coffee provided)
COST: $375.00

Payment Options
ADDL DETAILS: You are responsible for your travel and your accommodations. Great places can be recommended, just ask me at jenniferlauck@gmail.com.

Spindrift Sunset Surf Ocean Inn Inn at Manzanita Coast Cabins Sunset Vacation Rentals * THERE ARE NO REFUNDS ON DEPOSITS OR WORKSHOP TUITION ONCE PAID.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday AM Bones of Storytelling Class


You gave us so much great information during these short 5 weeks. Your input in class was a huge help and it gave me a lot of solid insight into how to build a good story. I especially liked the class you taught on structure, your W diagram showed me very clearly how poorly laid out my plot was. Yikes! I have a lot of work to do and am busy re-writing my manuscript. ~ Barbara


Welcome to the page for participants in the Fall, Wednesday AM Bones of Storytelling Class.  We begin Sept. 17th at 11 a.m., and are in the midst of taking registration.  Click Here.  If you are signed up, get a jump on this terrific class by taking a look at the required books listed at the bottom of this page. 

My goal in these ten weeks is to teach concept, theme, plot, structure, character and setting AND, for you to walk away with a plan for writing a solid first & second draft.  Everyone who takes this class loves it.
  

Sept. 17 ~ Class 1:   Concept, What If Questions & Theme Discussion  

Class 2:  Plot Discussion

Class 3:  Structure Discussion

Class 4:  Character Discussion

Class 5:  Setting Discussion

Class 6-10:  Workshop full projects- TBA

Reference texts: 
Story by Robert McKee (required)
Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker (required)
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (required)

Tell it Slant by Brenda Miller
Screenwriters Problem Solver by Syd Fields
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri
PROGRAM:  Scrivener (free download for 30 days). 
Punctuation Basics (link--print please) 

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Wednesday PM Bones of Story Telling Class

"I'm so happy I signed up for this class. You have blown me away with your enthusiasm and passion. Wow, can't wait to dig in and do the work." ~ Michael T. 
 
Welcome to the page for participants in the Fall, Wednesday PM Bones of Storytelling Class.  We begin Sept. 17th at 5:30-7:30 and are in the midst of taking registration.  Click Here.  If you are signed up, get a jump on this terrific class by taking a look at the required books listed at the bottom of this page. 

My goal in these ten weeks is to teach concept, theme, plot, structure, character and setting AND, for you to walk away with a plan for writing a solid first & second draft.  Everyone who takes this class loves it.
  
Sept. 17 ~ Class 1:   Concept, What If Questions & Theme Discussion 

Class 2:  Plot Discussion

Class 3:  Structure Discussion

Class 4:  Character Discussion

Class 5:  Setting Discussion

Class 6-10:  Workshop full projects - TBA

Reference texts: Story by Robert McKee (required)
Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker (required)
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (required)

Tell it Slant by Brenda Miller
Screenwriters Problem Solver by Syd Fields
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri
PROGRAM:  Scrivener (free download for 30 days). 
Punctuation Basics (link--print please) 

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Sunday, August 03, 2014

Do You Read? Edit? Consult?

 
Developmental Evaluations:  You've finished your manuscript and need a sharp, strong reader to take in the larger picture.  My goal is to help you get that book agent ready. With 30 years of storytelling behind me, including my current teachings on structure, plot, character development, I am a terrific reader with a strong sense of story flow.  I think way outside the normal constructs and can see what you are trying to create by this kind of read.   I accept eight manuscript submissions a year.  Evaluations are $2500.00 and are $125.00 an hour for a 20 hour developmental read.  I will read your entire project, looking at the whole of it and create a 20 pg. response for you to revision and re-structure.  We have a one hour follow up call on this, to talk through what I've seen in your work.  You will leave inspired with new possibilities for your redraft.  

Consults:  This is for the writer who needs some individual insight.  You submit pages.  15 minimum.  I read, make light edits and we talk through some of the issues I see in the work.  I provide handouts, teaching, advice and homework!  $125.00 per consult with a minimum of a three session commitment. 

NOTE:  In 2014/15, I'm booked up on a writing project of my own and  can only take a small number of consults and developmental evaluations.  Please write to me with a representative sample of your work, and I'll let you know if I can take you on.  

Email Jennifer@jenniferlauck.com.


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Monday, February 24, 2014

Virtual Advanced Writing Class



Jennifer Lauck Mp3 download with handouts
 
This is advanced class is as good as taking a teaching with me in person.  In seven hours, this series covers the necessary tools you need to be a fine storyteller. 1) Structure. 2) Scene. 3) Characterization. Over three separate sessions, all downloaded to your listening device, you will learn through exercises and by listening to the evolution of the students in the program. Students love this class.  It's on your schedule but it also feels like you are in a live class. 

"I want to thank you for an amazing class. I took copious notes and could barely settle my brain down to fall asleep. I woke up 5:30 this morning with memories of my early childhood. I jumped out of bed (I usually hit snooze at least three times) and started to write. You have inspired me. Yet again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
   —Beth
 
"I went outside after class with you, sat in the sunshine and thought about how thankful I am for you and your teaching. I always feel like I can move mountains after your class. I am starting to understand a little more each time. You are so inspiring."
   —Anglea

COST: $150.00


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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Virtual Structure Class


Bones of Story Telling Class via online formatting

Learn concept, theme, plot, structure and character. Walk away with a plan for writing your next draft.

Learn and practice: 

  •  The seven basic plots 
  •  Three/four and five part structure systems
  •  Story concept and theme
  •  Seven character types



Learn how to map your story on the W structure chart and the expanded pillar chart. Learn how to sharpen your story to impact agent, editor, publisher and reader.
Stop wasting precious time writing in circles. Learn how to get out of that 50-150 pg. slump. I'll show you how creativity and advance planning can work together in your process. Save yourself years of confusion, wasted time, frustration and rejection. Leave this class with clarity, knowledge and a plan to finish (and publish) your novel, memoir and/or short story/creative non-fiction collection.

Class 1: Concept & Theme discussion
Class 2: Plot discussion—Seven Basic plots and how your book fits in this form. And why!
Class 3: Character studies within Seven Basic Plot base and the model of Joseph Campbell archetypes
Class 4: Structure—W Charting
Class 5: Charting your What if ?'s on the W and the value of Setting
You will leave these 5 weeks with a very important understanding of what your WHOLE project is about and have a full map to follow as you get through the next draft.

COST: $195.00 (Paypal or check)






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