Writing

Thursday, Aug 7, 2014
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A Writer’s Circle: Encouraging Feedback and Advice for Writers

August 7, 2014 to August 21, 2014 — 06:00 PM to 08:00 PM Instructor: Coleen M. Paratore

Led by prolific author and inspirational teacher Coleen Murtagh Paratore, each class time will be equally divided among participants and when it’s “your turn” you may use your minutes as you wish: get critiques of a first page or chapter, feedback on a book idea, help with a title, advice on publishing, answers to questions that are blocking you — whatever will help you move forward with your writing. Come write away and be inspired in an encouraging atmosphere. Troy native and resident Coleen Murtagh Paratore is the award-winning author of 17 books. Her publishers include Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Scholastic Press. Her latest publication is FIREFLIES: A Writer’s Notebook (for all ages), pub date 1-20-14, Little Pickle Press. Check out her website: www.coleenparatore.com

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014
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Writing What You Know

September 10, 2014 to October 15, 2014 — 06:30 PM to 09:30 PM Instructor: Marion Roach Smith

Flannery O’Connor said that anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life. She’s right, of course. But writing about yourself and your crazy (or not-so-crazy) family can be the big vein, if you’re ready, or the brick wall, if you’re not. This course will help you dig among your stuff and get it down on paper in some interesting, funny, enlightening, compelling, readable and possibly saleable way. Let’s go. It’s there for the mining. Marion Roach Smith is a former New York Times staffer, author of four mass-market books, and commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Suggested reading for the class is her book, The Memoir Project, A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life (Grand Central, 2011).

Monday, Sep 15, 2014
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Writing the Contemporary Poem

September 15, 2014 to November 3, 2014 — 07:30 PM to 09:30 PM Instructor: Susan Comninos

What makes a poem contemporary? Is it awareness of the public sphere? Inclusion of brand names? Creation of a conversational voice? Explore what it means, and how, to write contemporary poetry with local published poet Susan Comninos. During an eight week reading and writing course, together we’ll learn, through discussion and exercises, how to repurpose cliches; create “observational” poetry that lends itself to seeming humor and depth; and work on verse forms that counter-intuitively free us up to surprise both ourselves and our readers through self-imposed boundaries. Come prepared to write and participate.

Susan Comninos holds a B.A. in English from Cornell University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Michigan. Her poetry has appeared in Subtropics, TriQuarterly, Quarterly West, The Cortland Review, Tulane Review, Nashville Review, Lilith, Tikkun, Literary Mama, J Journal: New Writing on Justice and Gastronomica, among others. In 2010, she won the Yehuda Halevi Poetry Contest run by Tablet magazine. She lives in Guilderland.

Thursday, Sep 25, 2014
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Food Writing 101: From Plate to Page

September 25, 2014 to October 30, 2014 — 05:30 PM to 08:30 PM Instructor: Steve Barnes

Join Steve Barnes, restaurant columnist for the Times Union and author of the popular Table Hopping blog, for a six-week exploration of writing about food, from the way it tastes to its role in our lives. Sometimes just fuel for our bodies, food more often nourishes us emotionally as well, and since we experience it primarily through taste and smell, senses rooted in primal parts of our brain, food connects us profoundly to our past, our families, our memories and our experiences. The class will cover writing about food in a variety of ways, including but not limited to memoirs, essays, descriptive features and criticism.

Saturday, Sep 27, 2014
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Fact to Fiction: Crafting Your Story into Story

September 27, 2014 — 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Instructor: Coleen M. Paratore

Do you have a personal story you’ve been thinking of writing as realistic or historical fiction, memoir, or other genre? More than a decade ago, I began writing a coming-of-age piece about a girl in a troubled family in 1970’s Troy, NY. While therapeutic, it read like a weepy diary entry. I asked a noted author: “should I keep writing it like this or wait until I can craft it into fiction?’ The one word reply was: “wait.” That was good advice. My novel Dreamsleeves (Scholastic Press) is the result. If possible read the book so we will have a common ground for our discussion of character, plot, setting, and other topics. I will then lead us through several simple but powerful write-and-share rounds aimed at getting us closer to the heart of the story, an essential goal. Writer, teacher, and inspirational speaker Coleen Paratore is the author of 19 books. Visit her website: www.coleenparatore.com

Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
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Exploring Point of View

September 30, 2014 to October 7, 2014 — 06:30 PM to 08:30 PM Instructor: David A. Salomon

In literature, the author’s point of view is the lens through which the reader looks at the world, therefore coloring everything taken in from that angle. This two-week workshop will explore the wide variety of available points of view in writing fiction. We will look at examples and then do some experimenting ourselves.

Friday, Oct 3, 2014
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Master Class: Memoir with Marion Roach Smith

October 3, 2014 to June 5, 2015 — 01:00 PM to 04:00 PM Instructor: Marion Roach Smith

Book in a drawer? Book in your head? If you are ready to work hard, this once-a-month, three-hour Master Class will get that book finished by summer, 2015. Beginning in the fall, 2014, the Arts Center will again offer a Master Class in writing memoir. Those who sign up will agree to write and finish a book-length memoir by the end of June, 2015. The group will meet once a month from October, 2014 through June 2015. There will be one division of the class, meeting the first Friday or the month. The placement of the students in the classes is up to the discretion of the teacher, though special consideration can be made for some students.

Admission to the Master Class series is by application. The deadline for submission of that application is September 1st, 2014

To be considered, please submit to the Arts Center a double-spaced, typed letter including a one-paragraph proposal of your book project by answering the following question: What is your book about? Please also include a writing sample. This sample should not exceed five double-spaced pages and may be either a stand-alone essay or a fragment of a longer work.

A prerequisite for application to the Master Class is completion of the regular Writing What You Know course taught at the Arts Center. This prerequisite may be met by prior attendance at a weekly class or the one day class entitled Memoirama. Requests for any exceptions to this prerequisite must accompany your application and will be made based on the judgment of the instructor.

Students should purchase and read the textbook “The Memoir Project, A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life,” by Marion Roach Smith, available at Amazon.com, The Market Block Books, The Book House and elsewhere. Please send your application no later than September 1, 2014. Replies will be sent out by September 15th, 2014.
Include the following in your application:
Name
Address
Phone number
Email address
One paragraph book description
Writing Sample
SASE, if you want the sample returned

Applications should be sent to:

Marion Roach Smith
c/o The Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River Street, Troy, NY 12180. Please note: Required reading for the class is The Memoir Project, A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life (Grand Central, 2011).

Saturday, Oct 4, 2014
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Fireflies: A Writing Workshop

October 4, 2014 — 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Instructor: Coleen M. Paratore

The best ideas surprise us like fireflies on a summer night. Through writing prompts and insightful questions, we will travel to the firefly fields inside our own minds and hearts where the sparks that ignite our most powerful writing are waiting for us to claim them. We will write and share in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, and you will leave with a jar full of firefly ideas, inspired to write what only you can write. Prolific author Coleen Paratore’s 18th book, FIREFLIES: A Writer’s Notebook debuts this summer.

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014
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Novel Writing 101 with Elizabeth Brundage

October 21, 2014 to December 16, 2014 — 06:00 PM to 09:00 PM Instructor: Elizabeth Brundage

Writing a novel can be like exploring a foreign city without a map. There are many distractions, unexpected delays, unforeseen disruptions. It can be easy to lose your sense of direction. So many of us have a novel inside of us, we just don’t know how to start. This workshop will explore the dynamics of the novel writing process, beginning with the terrifying question: what is it about? For writers with some fiction writing experience, we will explore the various elements that comprise the form, such as characterization, voice, story and structure. By the end of the class, you will have a solid understanding of where your book is going and have gained the fundamental skills to continue working on it on your own.
Elizabeth Brundage is the author of three novels, A Stranger Like You, Somebody Else’s Daughter, and The Doctor’s Wife. Her short fiction has been published in Witness, New Letters, and Greensboro Review, among others. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she received a James Michener Award, and earned her BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She attended the NYU film school and was a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. She has taught at a variety of colleges, most recently as a Visiting Writer in Residence at Skidmore College. Her new novel has just been completed.

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014
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Writing What You Know

October 29, 2014 to December 17, 2014 — 06:30 PM to 09:30 PM Instructor: Marion Roach Smith

Flannery O’Connor said that anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life. She’s right, of course. But writing about yourself and your crazy (or not-so-crazy) family can be the big vein, if you’re ready, or the brick wall, if you’re not. This course will help you dig among your stuff and get it down on paper in some interesting, funny, enlightening, compelling, readable and possibly saleable way. Let’s go! It’s there for the mining.

Thursday, Nov 6, 2014
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The Art of the Interview

November 6, 2014 to December 18, 2014 — 06:30 PM to 08:30 PM Instructor: Michael Eck

Whether writing your first magazine piece, a personality profile for your blog or the Great American Novel, at some point you will be interviewing subjects to add color, quotations and anecdotes to your writing. Just as you can’t write incisive non-fiction without expert input, you can’t write convincing fiction without genuine voices. Finally take the leap and interview your grandmother about her childhood, or pursue a dream by tracking down a celebrity chat. Individual weeks of this interactive class will cover basic interviewing skills and concepts; how to develop and pace questions; methods of notation; writing up the results; ethics and editing; and using and publishing interview materials. Students will have the opportunity to interview each other and guest speakers. Freelance writer Michael Eck (Albany Times Union, Amazon.com, Billboard, Los Angeles Times Syndicate…) has 30 years of experience in the art of the interview. He’ll teach you how to get them talking. An audio recording device is suggested, but not required.

Saturday, Nov 8, 2014
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Fireflies: A Writing Workshop

November 8, 2014 — 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Instructor: Coleen M. Paratore

The best ideas surprise us like fireflies on a summer night. Through writing prompts and insightful questions, we will travel to the firefly fields inside our own minds and hearts where the sparks that ignite our most powerful writing are waiting for us to claim them. We will write and share in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, and you will leave with a jar full of firefly ideas, inspired to write what only you can write. FIREFLIES: A Writer’s Notebook, her 19th book, is in stores now. Visit her at www.coleenparatore.com

Monday, Nov 10, 2014
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Poetry: The Spoken Word

November 10, 2014 to December 15, 2014 — 06:30 PM to 08:00 PM Instructor: Victorio Reyes

Spoken word poetry is a phenomenon that has swept the nation for more than twenty years. Poetry itself has been an oral tradition since its inception, and inherently contains food for the ear; rhythms, rhymes, assonance and alliteration. This hybrid workshop incorporates elements of performance as well as creative writing. Students will learn the mechanics of writing poetry for performance while also preserving the art for the page. If you are interested in acting, hip hop, spoken word, poetry, or just improving your public reading skills, this class is for you. All levels of experience are welcome.