The Writer’s Studio-workshop

A place where students retain artistic control, stylistic decision making and personal authority over their own work.

Progress to a final draft is accomplished through personal effort, fun discussions, reflection on the writing process and participating with sympathetic souls.

Authors writing novels in the real world produce drafts for their novel-in-progress; in the writer’s studio-workshop, apprentice authors write drafts of fiction ‘as if’ a fiction career already existed for them. Participants do not write theoretical practice exercises.

Write like a Career Author

fountain pen creativityApprentice authors work with the values and mind-set of a career author. During the workshop, an apprentice lives the fiction career lifestyle.

Write from Your Inner Passionhearts

Workshops let apprentice authors float in the creative juices of their own artistry. The apprentice engages in a full-range of the craft processes used to create a publishable novel including: choosing a genre, crafting a plot, developing characters and authoring scenes that sizzle.

Build Your Own KnowledgeImagination

Students create their own knowledge base through making personal artistic decision that directly serve the needs of his/her novel-in-progress. While the teacher presents a range of craft details and techniques, the student learns by choosing among them to produce and structure his/her own artistic work.

Work With a Community

Writers-Workshop croppedDiscuss your project and the writing life with others, the group reflects on the means, methods and experiences of writing like a career novelist.

Artistic skills have, through thousands of years, developed in studios, or ‘schools’ where an apprentice began the road to mastery by painting, sculpting, throwing pottery and other artistic endeavors in the company of other students led by an instructor who could provide guidance.

Make 2014 the Year You DO IT!!

Walking Dead: Case Study

Holy Wicked Walking  Zombies!

Child zombie cropped

Little girl zombies — too shocking !!

The Walking Dead has everything that good visual storytelling demands! It has elegant writing, excellent acting and fantastic production values. During the fourth season of the series, it attracted an audience of more than 16 million viewers for some of the episodes (2013-2014).  In fact, this post-apocalyptic horror drama is a bona-fide monster success. And that makes it a good subject for our workshop to  study because film and TV  begin with scripts –  scripts that were created by a writer like you.

Lesson #1:   Study the Accomplishments of Successful Writers

Because great story-tellers use a tool-box of similar  underlying techniques, and because it is faster for us to view a film than it is  to read a novel, this workshop occasionally uses examples of films to analyze  great writing and some techniques of the fiction craft.

Fiction is Fun

..always leave your key characters in jeopardy and leave your readers/audience with burning questions about key characters…

Wimberley Writer’s Workshops focus on commercial genre fiction – we read books or watch film written by the master storytellers out there in the marketplace. Yes, there are literary masters, but this class is about writing for commercial genres.

Common advice for beginning writers is to go read the NAME BRAND WRITERS in your particular genre — don’t know what your genre is?  The class introduces genres. Brand Name Writers are the authors who always show up on Sunday’s New York Times bestseller list.  Their books are shelved at the front of Barns & Noble’s bricks & mortar stores. Also,  watch blockbuster films and popular TV in your genre to capture a sense of what audiences love right now.

Then as your understanding of the fiction craft advances, you will be able to pick out the tricks of the trade used by the authors and scriptwriters. You will also start to notice the good, the bad and the ugly! Even when the ugly is so good you love it. Reference: the recent cult fee-nom: Sharknado and Sharknado 2: The Second One.  Both movies are total send-ups of The Walking Dead with internal nods to Jaws.

Captain Quint

Captain Quint (played by Robert Shaw) was a counterpoint to the other good guys…he was a bad good guy.

How does Sharknado accomplish that? To begin with, it starts with a ridiculous premise: tornadoes pick up sharks in the ocean and rain them down on people – and the sharks don’t die out of water! Holy moly!!! Air breathing sharks who just want to eat people! Kind of like zombies, the living dead,  who just want to eat people. And in Sharknado, now and then, a character will recreate a ‘moment’ from Jaws – example: one of the girls has terrible scars on her leg (of course, the film makers must show skin  ;-) . She tells a story of shipwreck and how the sharks circled the survivors floating in the water and how ‘one six-year-old girl’ was pulled from the sea.  The reference is to Robert Shaw’s wonderful moment in Jaws, when  as Captain Quint, he tells his story of surviving days in the ocean after the Independence was torpedoed in World War Two.

Sharknado shows how Walking Dead could have been a failure: ridiculous premise, stupid characters, no significant redeeming features.

So why is Walking Dead a giant success? Answer: it has mastered the underlying craft of storytelling.

 Writers Workshops examine film and TV as well as novels

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