Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Workshop intensive in June


Next month I'm teaching the one really intensive workshop I do all year, five full days at the West Texas A&M Writers Academy. I wanted to post about it because if you're looking for some serious hands-on help with a book or script, this is the one.

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June 9-13, 2014

West Texas A&M University and the Office of Continuing Education are pleased to host the annual WT Writers' Academy (WTWA) on our campus. Join us for daily classes, afternoon critiques and seminars. On-campus housing available for $25/night.

For info and to register, or call 806-651-2037.

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Usually when I do a workshop it's a day-long interactive lecture  that I give to a large class - sixty to several hundred people - in which I review the Three-Act, Eight Sequence Structure and other general film writing techniques that are invaluable for authors, and then start with Act I and go through all the story elements I talk about here and in the workbooks, one sequence at a time.

Which is a great overview, and I answer a lot of individual questions and use lots of examples, but it's by necessity a very general class.

At the Writers Academy,  the class size is limited to twelve people and we can go through everyone's stories one sequence, even one story element, at a time.  I love being able to be this hands-on (at least, for a limited time!)  and it's really remarkable to see writers at very different levels and at very different points in the writing process pull their ideas into coherent, complete and exciting story outlines in just five days.

At first you can see some people in the class are so focused on their own stories that they don't pay any attention to the other writers as they talk about their stories - they just scribble notes on their own stories until it's their turn to talk.  But by the third day or so it's starting to sink in that listening to OTHER people's stories, and brainstorming to solve SOMEONE ELSE'S story problem, is actually helping them become better writers. And you can see the lightbulbs go on - that it doesn't matter that other people in the class are writing in different genres - that story structure applies across the board, and comparing stories in different genres actually gives you a better understanding of your own genre.

I hope that one thing the class shows people is that to get good at telling stories you have to actively practice story structure, spitballing story problems, comparing story solutions.  I hope it shows people that you have to fall in love with - not just writing, but STORY.

It's always a fantastic class, and I'd be happy to answer questions about the class either privately or in the comments, for anyone who's interested.

- Alex


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Screenwriting Tricks for Authors and Writing Love, Screenwriting Tricks for Authorsare available in multiple formats, $3.99 and $2.99.


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