“Building a Story,” my new five-week workshop

Hi everyone. How are you? Surviving? Possibly looking ahead and wondering how, when all’s said and done in this pandemic era of so much upheaval and reckoning, life will be different? Hard to say. Hard to know.

One thing that seems certain already is that storytelling —by artists in all forms—is alive and well and even thriving. What stories are you turning to for comfort or revelation or laughter these days? What stories are you telling your partner, your friends, your family and your children?

What are the stories you’re telling yourself? Those are the ones that most interest me.

Maybe windows are blowing open in your mind the way they are in mine. Times when everything feels unsteady and in flux lead to new artistry. Being scared is a good thing for an artist. Fear and uncertainty can propel you into the work in ways that complacency can’t. (I spent the winter writing poems that shock me with their fierceness.)

It’s all interesting, a friend of mine once said about life. Even when everything sucks, I’m just so interested to see what will happen. These words speak to me as a creative writing teacher. It never fails to stun me what happens in the alchemy of a creative writing room. Give a roomful of humans the same ten minutes and the same prompt, and listen to the ten wildly different stories that emerge.

Finding and nurturing someone’s creative spark is a privilege and honor, and as a teacher it’s what I most love. Over the years students have asked me to teach multi-week sessions as well as my one-day workshops and I’m happy to say that I’m finally doing it. Welcome to “Building a Story,” a five-week creative writing workshop offered, via Zoom, for the first time ever.

Dates and time: Wednesday evenings, May 19-June 16, 2021.
Time: 5-8 pm, CST. (Feel free to bring your dinner to class!)
Enrollment: Limited to eight.
Cost: $400 via Venmo, Paypal, Cashapp or personal check. Venmo: @Alison-McGhee-1. Paypal: alison_mcghee@hotmail.com (be sure to use the “send to a friend” option). Cashapp: $mailizhen.
Questions or to register: Email me.

This five-week class is designed for both fiction and memoir writers. (Poets might also find it useful, but I don’t recommend it for picture book writers.) Each week will focus on a different, essential craft of good storytelling, from character development to dialogue to narrative arc. We’ll examine both published work and class submissions.

Participants are welcome (but never required!) to share their work with the class as a whole, and everyone will receive weekly detailed feedback from me.

Bonus: I’ll send out a weekly writing prompt for the month following class.

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