Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bones of Storytelling - Audio Class

Every time Jennifer opens her mouth, I learn something!  
~ Eddie Leuken

This is a truly extraordinary audio class that will change everything about the way you think about writing and your own work.  You buy it, you receive the files with audios, handouts and instructions, and you start learning! Beginner to advanced, all who take this class are blown away.  You will leave 100% clear about what needs to happen to finish your novel, essay, short story or memoir. Learn how and why to reach the reader. Leave empowered with tools to finish a quality draft. 
  
You will learn: 
  • The seven basic plots
  • Three/four and five part structure systems
  • Story concept and theme
  • Seven character types
  • The four dimensions of antagonism
  • How to find your controlling idea as a result of the climatic action

Let creativity and advance planning work together.  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.

COST: $350.00
OR: Send me an email, jennifer@jenniferlauck.com and I'll get you an address to send a check.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thursday AM Bones of Storytelling

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

Fall registration is open now.  A new term begins Thurs, Sept 17 at 11 a.m.  Click here to sign up.   

With this fine, and powerful class, my goal is to teach you all the bones of story from concept, theme, plot, structure, character and setting.  I also promise to help you walk away with a plan for writing a solid first & second draft.  Everyone who takes this class loves it. 
  

FALL PROGRAM OUTLINE 

Sept. 17, Class 1:  Concept & Theme 

Handouts:  
Concept and Theme
Butler Dreamstorming

NOTE:  You must wait for handouts to download from Dropbox, then click OPEN on far right corner for PDF., or printing will not work.  

Sept. 24, Class 2:  Plot

Handouts: 
Seven Basic Plots
NOTE:  You must wait for handouts to download from Dropbox, then click OPEN on far right corner for PDF., or printing will not work. 

Oct. 1, Class 3:  Structure & W 
Handouts:
W & Structure (email)

Oct. 8, Class 4:  Setting and Character 
Handouts:  
Booker on Character  Pg. 241 - 275 & Chap. 18
Brooks on Character  Pg. 61-85 & 106-115
McKee on Character  Pg. 144 - 159

Oct. 15, Class 5:  Setting/The Antagonist
Handouts:   
McKee Chap. 14 on Antagonist
Setting Sketch Sheet
McKee on Setting and Structure

Oct. 22-Nov. 19, Class 6-10: 
Advanced Concepts as applied to your personal project  & presentations.  TBA


Reference texts for craft and additional recurses:
Tell it Slant by Brenda Miller (Creative Non-Fiction)
The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick (Creative Non-Fiction)
From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler
Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
Screenwriters Problem Solver by Syd Fields
Story by Robert McKee
Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri Keep it Short by Danny Heitman (Click on link)
Debra Gwartney on Memoir  (click on link) 
Philip Lopate on Writing Personal Essays  (click on link)
Cultivations of Kindness Meditation (for self acceptance): Click here 
Scrivener (free download for 30 days)
 

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Methods of Writing: Memoir & Fiction

"Amazing class, amazing teacher!  Thank you!" ~ Gayle Morris

This is a workshop based, lab style writing class where you learn how to hone your lived experience into a well told story.  Since we are culling our teaching from literature, fiction writers are welcome and will learn as much about craft as the memoir writer.  You will be reading your work out loud, creating new work from prompts, and studying the essay, the short story and chapter excerpts of published work.

We meet Tues nights from 5:15-7:15 p.m.  This is a terrific class for the writer who has had some experience with their craft and needs a community, as well as mentorship.  You will leave class inspired and energized.

Fall 2015 registration is now open. Click here to save your spot!

Class 1: Sept. 15
Pre-reading: Critique Articles and 500 word essay samples.  
Intros, hellos, process of class, discussion of text.

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 words total. Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins.  Bring 16 copies please.  
 
Class 2: Sept. 22
Pre-reading: The Farm by Joanna Macy/Scene Handout

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins.  Bring 16 copies please (copy service at corner next to New Seasons).

Class 3: Sept. 29
500 Word Essay Prompt:  One thing that reminds you of something else.  Reminders.
Pre-reading: Live Through This by Debra Gwartney (see web site below)

Workshop Readers: 
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please.

Class 4: Oct. 6
Pre-reading: The Liar's Club by Mary Karr

Workshop Readers:
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins.  Bring -- copies please. 

Class 5: Oct. 13
500 Word Essay Prompt:  The Mirror
Pre-reading: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
Workshop Readers: 
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please. 

Class 6:  Oct. 20
Pre-reading: The Breeze by Joshua Ferris
Workshop Readers: 
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please.

Class 7: Oct. 27
500 Word Essay Prompt: Where are you?  The Eight Step Essay Revised
Pre-reading: Showing vs. Telling

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins.  Bring 16 copies please.  

Class 8: Nov. 3
Pre-reading: Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please. 

Class 9: Nov. 10
500 Word Essay Prompt: Loss and Gain

Pre-reading: Figment by Elizabeth McCracken

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please.

Class 10: Nov. 17
Pre-reading: Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Workshop Readers: 
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please.


Reference texts for craft and additional resources:
Tell it Slant by Brenda Miller (Creative Non-Fiction)
The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick (Creative Non-Fiction)
From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler
Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
Screenwriters Problem Solver by Syd Fields
Story by Robert McKee
Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri Keep it Short by Danny Heitman (Click on link)
Debra Gwartney on Memoir  (click on link) 
Philip Lopate on Writing Personal Essays  (click on link)
Cultivations of Kindness Meditation (for self acceptance): Click here 
Scrivener (free download for 30 days)



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Craft of Writing (AM) Fall

"I've studied all around Portland, but you are simply the best.  You're practical, kind and have extraordinary skills managing large groups.  I felt safe, AND I felt like you cared.  Thank you!!"  ~ Carole Wright

The Craft of Writing Class (AM)  11:00 to 1:00 p.m., is an intermediate/advanced level course for the writer of memoir, fiction, short story and essay.

We read extraordinary published writing, and work on the elements of craft that include:

Scene development
Sensory immersion
Authentic voice development
Plot
Structure
Character development
Cultivation of the antagonistic forces that swirl within and without.

You will read your work aloud, you will create new work, and you will be supported in a kind, generous and warm atmosphere of professional courtesy.   You will leave this class informed and inspired!

Space fills fast!  Sign up now.  Click here. 

FALL TERM OUTLINE: 

Class 1: Sept. 15
Pre-reading: Critique Articles and 500 word essay samples.  
Intros, hellos, process of class, discussion of text.

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 words total. Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins.  Bring 16 copies please.  
 
Class 2: Sept. 22
Pre-reading: The Farm by Joanna Macy/Scene Handout

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins.  Bring 16 copies please (copy service at corner next to New Seasons).

Class 3: Sept. 29
500 Word Essay Prompt:  One thing that reminds you of something else.  Reminders.
Pre-reading: Live Through This by Debra Gwartney (see web site below)

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please.

Class 4: Oct. 6
Pre-reading: The Liar's Club by Mary Karr  

Workshop Readers:
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins.  Bring -- copies please.  

Class 5: Oct. 13
500 Word Essay Prompt:  The Mirror
Pre-reading: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Workshop Readers: 
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please. 

Class 6:  Oct. 20
Pre-reading: The Breeze by Joshua Ferris

Workshop Readers: 
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please.

Class 7: Oct. 27
500 Word Essay Prompt: Where are you?  The Eight Step Essay Revised
Pre-reading: Showing vs. Telling

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins.  Bring 16 copies please.  

Class 8: Nov. 3
Pre-reading: Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please.  

Class 9: Nov. 10
500 Word Essay Prompt: Loss and Gain

Pre-reading: Figment by Elizabeth McCracken

Workshop Readers: TBA
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please.

Class 10: Nov. 17
Pre-reading: Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Workshop Readers: 
This is a 1250 word submission.  Double spaced, 12 point font, New Times Roman with one inch margins. Bring 16 copies please.


Reference texts for craft and additional resources:
Tell it Slant by Brenda Miller (Creative Non-Fiction)
The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick (Creative Non-Fiction)
From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler
Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
Screenwriters Problem Solver by Syd Fields
Story by Robert McKee
Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri
Keep it Short by Danny Heitman (Click on link)
Debra Gwartney on Memoir  (click on link) 
Philip Lopate on Writing Personal Essays  (click on link)
Cultivations of Kindness Meditation (for self acceptance): Click here 
Scrivener (free download for 30 days)

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Monday, August 10, 2015

52 Weeks 52 Books - 2014/15 Reading List

 

From August to August, I set myself the challenge to read 52 books.  
With repeats, I made it to 55 and it wasn't that hard. 
Okay, okay, Anna Karinina was very hard.  
Otherwise, it was a wonderful year. 

Here they are, in order of consumption:

1.     To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee – Done (2x)
2.     Illuminations, Mary Sharratt – Done
3.     Snow Falling on Cedars, David Gutterson – Done
4.     A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley – Done
5.     Girl with the Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier – Done
6.     Virgin Blue, Tracy Chevalier – Done
7.     Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See, Juliann Garvey - Done
8.     The Reader - Done
9.     Peace Like a River - Done
10.  Look at Me, Jennifer EganDone
11.  Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward  - Done
12.  Lolita – Done
13.  The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh – Done
14.  Jane Eyer, Bronte – Done
15.  Liar and Spy Rebecca Stead – Done (YA)
16.  Kira-kira, Cynthia Kadohata – Done (YA)
17.  Three Times Lucky, Sheila Turnage – Done (YA)
18.  The End of the Affair, Graham Green – Done
19.  All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr – Done 
20.  All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr – Done again!
21.  Persuasion, Jane Austin – Done
22.  Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austin - Done
23.  Wuthering Heights, Bronte –  Done
24.  Life After Life – Kate Atkinson – Done
25.  Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence  - Done
26.  The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – Done
27.  The Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd – Done
28.  Wednesday Wars - Gary D. Schmidt – Done
29.  About Grace, Anthony Doerr - Done
30.  The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd – Done
31.  The History of Love – Done (2x)
32.  Annie John by Jamaica Kincaide  – Done
33.  Ordinary People by Judith Guest– Done 2x
34.  A Tale for the Time Being- Ruth Ozeki – Done
35.  Okay for Now (YA), Gary D. Schmidt  – Done (2x)
36.  The Descendants by Kali Hemmings – Done
37.  Siddartha – Done (2x)
38.  Countryman of Bones by Robert Olen Butler - Done
39.  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Done
40.  Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith - Done
41.  We Live in Water by Jess Walter – Done
42.  Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat - Done
43.  10th of December, George Saunders - Done
44.  Tinkers by Paul Harding- Done
45.  Thunderstruck by Elizabeth McCracken (shorts) – Done
46.  Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro (shorts) – Done
47.  Little Women Louisa May Alcott Done
48.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Done
49.  Behind the Scenes in the Museum by Kate Atkinson - Done
50.  Go Set the Watchman by Harper Lee - Done
51.  A Gesture Life  by Change Rae Lee - Done

GO READ!

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Thursday, August 06, 2015

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 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. Email me for the costs and availability. 

Consults:  This is for the writer who needs some individual insight.  You submit pages.  5000 word max (double spaced).  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:  I give priority to current students.  Please send me an email to discuss or speak to me after/before class. 

Email Jennifer@jenniferlauck.com.


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Tuesday, September 02, 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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Monday, July 22, 2013

Structure in 18 Words

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. 

One day ___. 
Because of that, ___. 

Because of that, ___. 

Until finally ___.

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