Six Fridays (once a month): March 20, April 17, May 15, June 12, July 10, Aug. 7th 7-9:30 p.m; Berkeley
$335 members/$365 non-members
“When we read writing we love, it transports us,” says instructor Elaine Beale. “We travel to other places, inhabit the minds of characters vastly different from ourselves. We are awed by beautiful language, perfectly crafted sentences, marvelously constructed plots. And our experience of the world and ourselves is enriched. As writers, we want our readers to be similarly transported.
“In order to write well, we need to read. But more than that, we need to read as writers. This means paying close attention to what it is in a novel or short story that makes it work. We need to look at the sentences to learn why the language is so evocative. We need to examine the images, metaphors, symbols and why they are so effective. We need to look at what makes the dialogue seem so ‘real’ and descriptions so vivid. And we need to examine the structure: how does a novel maintain momentum and what is it about a particular short story that leaves us thinking about it for days?”
This is a more advanced class for people who have been writing for a while and want to take their skills to the next level. You’ll engage in discussions about the work of accomplished writers. These discussions will provide jumping off points for in-class exercises. And you will also use what you learn from successful writers as you critique one another’s manuscript submissions. “Our goal will not be to copy the techniques of other writers,” says Elaine Beale, “but to learn how to make our own voices stronger.”
Elaine will be available between classes to provide some ongoing help to individual students via email. This once-a-month structure is specially designed to provide time for participants to read recommended readings and to work on their own writing.
Elaine Beale has taught creative writing for more than a decade. Her first novel, Murder in the Castro, was published in 1997, and her second novel is forthcoming from Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House, in 2010. In 2007 she was selected as the winner of the Poets and Writers California Writers Exchange Contest in fiction, and was also one of three finalists for the 2007 Penelope Niven Creation Nonfiction Award (Center for Women Writers, National Literary Awards). Elaine has a graduate degree in Education from the University of London (UK), and is a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing candidate at the University of British Columbia.