Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How I Write: Classes and other Resources

It's been a great and productive summer. We've been to, I'm waist deep in a work-for-hire project, and I'm querying my first novel!  I can't believe we're at our tenth installment of the How I Write series, brainchild of Ansha Kotyk.  A group of writers are writing about how we write – scheduled for Wednesdays through August.  Please check back weekly. And click here for the list of all the writers participating and links to their blogs.

This week we're talking about classes we've taken, and resources we've used.  Where do I start?

I haven't taken a ton of writing classes, but what I have taken has been great. Keep in mind, you don't have to spend a ton of money, enroll in an MFA program, or travel out of your living room to take a great class.

1. Rose's Colored Glass -- I took a plotting class with these ladies and it was great.  Great excel charts to use (best dig them out for the WIP, me thinks).  Very affordable.
2. WriterU -- a wonderful resource of great online classes--very affordable.  The class I took was on rhetorical devices w/ Margie Lawson.  Fab-U-Lous.
3. Kinship Writers In-session. Boston area writer's resource. Critique session with nine attendees and a local industry pro (in our case, in February, 2010, Lauren MacLeod of Strothman Agency spent the day with us).  Less than $100 for the day. Fab-U-Lous times Awesome.
4. SCBWI--workshops and conferences.  Well worth the money.  Do it.  And pay for a critique.  I go to my regional annually.  The workshops are high quality, networking is stellar.
5.'ve got to mention it, even though it's over for this year.  Bookmark the site, and go next year if you didn't this year.  FREE. And made of Awesome. :)
5. Don't sneeze at a regular 'ole critique group--can be as good as a class.

Reading books on craft can also be helpful--thought I have to say I work better in the classroom, even if it's virtual.  I mentioned books last week--I think I was a week early.  Here they are again, my favorite craft books, er, I mean books on craft (doesn't 'craft books' sound like I'm going to whip out the origami or knitting needles?  But I digress...)

1. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
2.The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler
3. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
4. Novel Metamorphosis by Darcy Pattison

Writing is a craft. It is something that can be learned, improved, perfected, enhanced.  But you have to practice your craft.  Take a class. Read a book. Google "how to write a novel" if you have to.  Join a critique group. Go to a conference. I promise you will learn something. :)


Alicia Gregoire said...

Kris - is Rose's Colored Glass all online? I couldn't figure it out from the website.

Kris said...

Hi Alicia! I believe it's all online. The class I took was a combo of "lectures" in downloadable form, and a yahoo group for discussion. They had great handouts for character development and plotting exercises.

Alicia Gregoire said...

Great. Thanks for the info!

Ansha said...

Great info as always Kris. We share the same enthusiasm for the same resources.
*waves Hi to Alicia!*

Julie Musil said...

I have got to read "Writing the Breakout Novel." I keep hearing about it! Loved "Plot & Structure," too.

You're right, doing these little things help. I learn so much from others!

Lisa Gail Green said...

Oooh, GOOD LUCK querying!! That's an awesome, huge step forward!