4-Session Workshop Series

by C.D. Mitchell

Dump the Junk and Make Your Writing Shine!

Saturday, October 3, 5:00 - 6:00 pm EDT

Session One:  

Elevating Prose by Varying Sentence and Paragraph Structures

Coordination, Subordination, Appositives, and Parallelism.



As a beginning writer I always felt all I had to do was tell a great story and someone could edit my prose into something perfect. Editors do not do that.  And the way you write is a vital element of your identity as a writer. As an editor at a literary magazine I could tell within the first page if a writer was seasoned or novice. A writer never wants to be marked as a novice from the first page of their work. In this workshop we will look at varying sentence structures using subordination and coordination. I will talk about the proper use of appositives and double--dashes and parallelism. I will address varying paragraph lengths and structures and using one sentence paragraphs and even fragments. Love a good fragment.  And other sentence level machinations or tropes. I will give an example of some writing we will use and each participant will be asked to select 5 pages of their own writing and use highlighters to highlight certain sentence structures within.


The desired outcome of this section will be to allow participants to recognize elements of great prose they may have taken for granted and never realized were the intentional efforts of great writers. Recognizing these prose practices will allow participants to elevate their own prose and develop their own unique style of crafting the words we create. These efforts then become unconscious habits. 

Saturday, October 10, 5:00 - 6:00 pm EDT

Session Two:

Small Craft Warnings

from John Dufresne

John Dufresne ended one of his books on "How to Write a Novel in 90 Days" with a chapter titled "Small Craft Warnings." We will have a handout of these warnings and go over each one. Once again participants will be asked to select a different 5 page sample of their own writing to search  for these unique mistakes we make as writers. 

The desired outcomes of this workshop will be to educate participants about these common mistakes writers make and to help participants identify, correct, and avoid making these mistakes within their own prose.

 

Saturday, October 17, 5:00 - 6:00 pm EDT

Session Three:

Writing with Verbs and Nouns

Eliminating "Be" verbs, adverbs, and repeated words.
 


Participants will be encouraged to write using verbs and nouns. They will be given a handout and asked to use different colored highlighters to identify all active and nonactive verbs in a writing sample I will provide. Participants will be asked to do the same within a 5 page sample of their own writing. They will then be given the opportunity to re-write those 5 pages eliminating all nonactive verbs--be, being, been, would, could, is,  am, was, were--and replacing them with active verbs.

The desired outcome of this workshop is to allow participants to develop the habit of writing using active verbs and solid nouns and to all but eliminate a heavy reliance on adverbs. By examining the writing of recognized prose masters, participants will realize these are conscious efforts of great writers and will learn how to apply these techniques to their own writing. Many times the application of these techniques is as simple as changing one word. Other times a whole paragraph or even a page may be re-written.    

 

Saturday, October 24, 5:00 - 6:00 pm EDT

Session Four:

So you want to write Creative Nonfiction?

Here we go.
 


Participants will be given samples of creative nonfiction from my own writing. I will discuss what creative nonfiction is and is not. I will recommend some great examples of creative nonfiction work for participants to read and enjoy, and we will do a writing exercise I submitted to the text book "Tuscaloosa Writes This" where writers participating in the exercise are encouraged to write a short piece asking a question for which they do not know the answer. I will identify outstanding creative nonfiction works and craft texts.

 

The desired outcome of this workshop will be to allow participants to understand the nature of creative nonfiction and to allow them to write the genre with confidence. My own prose improved when I started writing creative nonfiction simply because I could tell my own stories in my nonfiction rose and finally start being creative in my fiction prose. 

A Note from C.D. - For purposes of this workshop, participants are asked to select three different pieces from their own writing—fiction or creative nonfiction—and print off the first 5 pages. You will also need a set of different colored highlighters.  It truly doesn’t matter how many different colors you have, as long as you have at least 2, but I would recommend 5 or 6.  We will be highlighting specific contents of your work and looking at those highlights to identify habits—both good and bad—and potential areas for revision. I would also recommend printing the handout (available soon) if possible as it would be easier to perform the highlighting on paper, although many of you could likely highlight identified passages with your computer.

Want to know more about C.D. Mitchell? Click here.

 SWA Members:

$35   (for all four sessions)

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$60   (for all four sessions)

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Registration

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Please note: We must have your email address in order to send you a link for the Zoom meetings.

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