CHARACTERS ARE PEOPLE AND WRITING CRAFT CLASS with Katherine McCord
START DATE: This class is currently closed.
DURATION: 5 weeks
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Using what Hemingway said about craft, that characters aren’t characters but people, and the metaphor of an iceberg—that in the story we only see the tip—the student will “unpack” the character/person through a series of writing assignments, exploration of craft, and responses to writing assignments by students (and the instructor). Students will get to know her character/person well enough to use what she’s written in class as she sees fit—as stories, in stories, or for stories that entail the character, now and in the future.
[Katherine McCord] is a remarkable poet whose work is certain and hesitant at once, compressed and expansive. She wants silence to speak as carefully as her words. She sees poetry in the purest sense, working toward pieces where important things aren’t merely described or reported but transformed. Katherine McCord is an artist, through and through, taking aspects of ordinary life and finding fear and wonder in them. ~ Marianne Boruch
A word journey mapped by a brilliant mind, the tour guide a masterful creative soul, Run Scream Unbury Save is propelling, intense, intuitive, transcending, gripping in its insights and inspiring in its caged bird sings. ~ Dianne Lancaster
The binding material here is a voice that flutters like a bird-heart, hurtling the gaze of the reader through the sky and dropping all pretense of packaged experience, opting instead for revelatory and intimate association. ~ Sonya Huber
The pared inscription, as well as the delicacy and discretion, of Katherine McCord’s debut collection, Island, are always deeply compelling and often breathtaking. The honorable simplicity of this work rewards us time and time again with both wisdom and delight. Quietly elegant, and as intimate as a whisper, this is a book to hold close in the silence of night. ~ David St. John
WEEKS AT A GLANCE:
Week One: Characters Are People: The Theory; Character’s Journal Entry
Introductions and welcome. This week, we will dive into discussion concerning the details of the theory that characters are people. Students may respond to and discuss the lecture as needed. By the end of the week, each student will email her written assignment, which is to complete a journal entry written by her character, and the class will provide feedback.
Assignment: Complete a journal entry written by your character. Respond to other students’ character journal entries. Digest the lecture and relate it to class writing as you see fit.
Week Two: Workshop; Description of Character’s Backpack, Briefcase, etc.
Discussion on workshopping—how to respond to student work and how this can relay writing growth. Students may respond and discuss the lecture as needed. By the end of the week, each student will email her written assignment, which is to complete descriptions of their character’s backpacks, purses, or briefcases, etc., and the class will provide feedback.
Assignment: Complete a description of your character’s purse, backpack, etc. Respond to classmates’ work. Digest the lecture and relate it to class writing as you see fit.
Week Three: Technique: Emotion Shown Through Action; Character’s Homework, Memo, etc.
This week’s lecture covers action, how the emotion of the student’s character is shown by action, and how those actions are starting to be understood via these writing assignments. Students may respond and discuss the lecture as needed. By the end of the week, students will their writing assignments, which will be to complete a homework assignment, memo, note, etc., written by their characters for group feedback.
Assignment: Write a homework assignment, memo, note, etc. written by your character and submit it for class feedback. Digest the lecture and relate it to class writing as you see fit.
Week Four: Description of Character’s Most Valued Possession; Writing Toward Heat
This week’s lecture discusses writing toward truth, heat, and the bottom dropping out. Students may respond and discuss the lecture as needed. By the end of the week, each student will email her written assignment to all, including the instructor, which will be to describe in detail her character’s most valued possession, and the class will provide feedback.
Assignment: Write, in detail, about your character’s most valued possession, and the class will respond. Digest the lecture and relate it to class writing as you see fit.
Week Five: Scale of Revision; Description of Character’s Memory
This week, we will discuss the scale of revision, how that can change, and conclusions. Students may respond and discuss the lecture as needed. By the end of the week, students will complete a detailed memory, in terms of how her character remembers it, and submit it for class feedback.
Assignment: Complete a detailed memory, in terms of how their character remembers it. Digest the lecture and relate it to class writing as you see fit. Submit the assignment to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers’ work as assigned.
Materials needed: All lectures and materials are provided by the instructor.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Katherine McCord has two books of poetry—Island and Living Room (prose poems)—a lyric essay memoir, My CIA; a poetry chapbook, Muse Annie; and a literary memoir, Run Scream Unbury Save, that was winner of the Autumn House Open Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. She has published widely in literary journals, such as American Poetry Review. Katherine has an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing. In 2011 and 2014, she won Maryland Individual Artist Awards (state grants in creative writing in poetry) and has won other awards or placed as a finalist, such as for the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize. You can find out more about her on www.KatherineMcCord.com.
COST: $150, which includes weekly assignments that will inform stories, be stories, or be a part of the student’s story; lectures by the instructor to inform those assignments, exploration of elements of craft, and individual feedback from the instructor.
BUY NOW: CHARACTERS ARE PEOPLE with Katherine McCord (5 weeks, starting 2/4/2019) Limit: 12 students. Early registration is recommended.
This class is now closed. Please check out our current schedule here.
Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. Just before class begins, she will e-mail you with instructions on how to get started.
Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
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