The Writer’s Tool Belt: Practical Tips for Fixing Your Fiction
$45.00 – $90.00
This course is part of our 2021 Spectacular Summer Seminar Festival (SSSF) and will be held via Crowdcast. The fees from ABC’s adult writing workshops subsidize our free writing programs for kids, whose work is collected in a yearly anthology, and pay our adult workshop instructors. A limited number of seats in each class are reserved for scholarships, which cover 100% of tuition-fees and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome, and we especially encourage BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ writers to apply.
If we set out to build a chair from scratch we’d need to take measurements, gather materials, ready a work space and, of course, have our tools ready. So why do we as writers balk at looking at our work through a practical viewpoint? Don’t we call it the craft of writing after all?
“This character seems a little flat,” or “This space doesn’t feel lived-in, you know?” or “I don’t believe what she’s saying here,” or “This story doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.” If you’ve ever been in a workshop, chances are you’ve heard phrases like these, and even if you haven’t, we’ve all thought these kind of thoughts about our own work at some point or another. In this class we will push preciousness aside and reach for the tools all writers have at our disposal as we think about how to address those pesky little problems. We will examine common issues all writers face, with plot, character, dialogue, setting, tension, pacing, relatability, believability, and we will learn to reach for the right tool to start tackling it. Sometimes it’ll be a hammer, or a sander, sometimes even a sharp knife.
We will read some pieces as examples of great craft, and put what we’ve learned into practice in a set of writing prompts. By the end of this two hour seminar we will all be more confident every time we finish a first draft, or get comments back from a reader, knowing that our tool belt is always somewhere in our garage, waiting for us to get it out.
Students who register with the Seminar + Book option will receive Issue 68 of American Short Fiction, which features Alejandro’s short story “The Hands of Dirty Children,” later collected in Best American Short Stories 2020.
This Austin Bat Cave adult writing seminar is open to writers of all levels and will be recorded.
About the Instructor