Fees are listed at the end of each course
description. For further information about Next Level Workshops
or to apply, please contact Barbara
When it comes to publishing fiction, good isn’t nearly good enough. The market is so competitive that beginning writers cannot hope to be published, or midlist writers to continue being published, unless their work is outstanding. Writers must be able to edit their own work in order to reach that standard. Yet, despite a plethora of books and courses on writing fiction, there are almost none on the essential art of self-editing.
The Next Level Workshop on Revising Fiction is based on a method developed by Barbara Rogan over the course of 8 novels. It involves a series of edits, each focusing on a different aspect of the work. Since there's no point fine-tuning scenes that may not make the cut, students look at the big-ticket items first: the arc of the story, where it begins and ends, pacing and tension. Another session will deal with subplots by reading only those scenes in which the subplot takes place. Writers will also consider the themes of their stories, which often emerge at some point in the writing process, and what can be done to strengthen and clarify those themes.
The next major item is characterization. Students look at character arcs by reading only those scenes in which each major character appears, to ensure the character is constantly motivated and evolving. Secondary characters are also scrutinized: Are they doing their jobs, earning their keep?
At that point participants are ready for some fine-tuning. A separate reading isolates dialogue; another looks at description and setting. Each scene is evaluated as a thing in itself: Is it pleasing, is it shapely, does it start and end in appropriate places, does the ending draw the reader further on? The final edit (and the only one most unaided writers do) is a sentence-by-sentence edit for language and style.
Participants must have a finished draft of a novel or a body of short stories. This can be a first draft or a tenth—the object in this workshop is to bring your work to the next level, whatever that level is. Participants undertake to critique their classmates’ work and will receive critiques from them as well as from Barbara. Revising Fiction is intensive and requires a significant commitment of time. But the reward is commensurate with the effort, for students invariably emerge from this course with work that is far more polished and coherent than their previous versions.
Class size is limited to 8, and applicants are asked to submit writing samples. There are seven sessions in the course, spaced two weeks apart. Tuition is $795 USD; returning students receive a 10% discount. Students who enroll but decide that the course is not right for them can withdraw and receive a refund of the full tuition less the registration fee, provided they do so within two weeks of the start date. The next session of this class will begin in 2015. To apply, or for additional information, please contact Barbara Rogan.
The Novel Workshop is for writers with at least 25,000 words of a novel written. This course contains no fixed lectures but lots of critiquing and discussion of craft arising directly from the participants' work. In each of five sessions, participants post up to 5000 words to be read and critiqued by Barbara Rogan and the other writers in the group. Novelists will be asked to provide synopses of their works-in-progress, and the workshop will address the overall shape and coherence of each envisioned work. But the focus of this course will be on the student’s actual writing, and on the crafting of strong, effective scenes, because if writers can produce one compelling scene after another, they can produce stories and novels.
The critiques in this workshop will be most helpful for writers who’ve progressed far enough in their stories to have a good grasp on their characters and plot trajectory. In the earliest stages of a novel, when it is still largely unformed and highly malleable, critique can do as much harm as good. But for writers who are pretty sure of where they want to go with their stories and just need some help getting there, this workshop will provide that boost.
Class size is limited to 8, and applicants will be asked to submit writing samples and short synopses. There are five sessions in the course, spaced 3 weeks apart. Tuition is $700 USD; returning students receive a 10% discount. Students who enroll but decide that the course is not right for them can withdraw and receive a refund of the full tuition less the registration fee, provided they do so within two weeks of the start date. The course will be offered again in 2015. To apply, or to be notified of upcoming courses, please contact Barbara Rogan.
ONE GOOD SCENE
Whether filmed, staged, or written, scenes are the basic building blocks of all stories. Fiction is like a pearl necklace, with a series of scenes strung on a chain of narrative. Any writer who can write one good scene after another, choosing the appropriate scenes to tell the story and ordering them for maximum effect, can produce a creditable story or novel. Far too often, however, aspiring writers undertake these longer compositions before mastering the basic unit: hence this workshop, which focuses on the writing of one good scene at a time.
All the modes of writing that go into fiction also factor into the composition of scenes. In this workshop, we focus on each aspect individually, as well as their integration into a seamless, shapely whole. Topics will include setting, characterization and motivation, action, conflict, point of view, interior monologue, structure and style. The final session is devoted to plotting, so that students can apply what they’ve learned about writing the scene to a short story or novel.
ONE GOOD SCENE consists of six one-week sessions. Like all Next Level Workshops, this one is intensive and requires a significant commitment of time, but since the class is on-line and asynchronous, the time can be at the student’s convenience. Participants should be prepared to undertake weekly writing assignments, peer critiques, and participation in class discussion. All student work will be critiqued by Barbara as well.
Class size is limited to 10. Tuition is $395 USD; returning students receive a 10% discount. Students who enroll but decide that the course is not right for them can withdraw and receive a refund of the full tuition less the registration fee, provided they do so within one week of the start date. The next workshop is scheduled for the fall of 2015. To apply, or for additional information, pleasecontact Barbara Rogan.