Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Here! The Writewell Academy for Wayward Writers

by Lucy Marsden

If you liked the March post on Anchor Scenes for Story Structure, then have I got an announcement for you.

New York Times bestselling authors Jennifer Crusie and Lani Diane Rich, who separately are powerhouses of story craft awesomeness, have come together to offer the Writewell Academy for Wayward Writers, an online series of video-lectures, .mp3 downloads, and printable workbooks for anyone excited about the possibility of developing a really strong foundation for writing Craft “In Your Own Time, In Your Own Home, In Your Pajamas (Or Whatever).”

What a motto. And here’s a clip from Writewell:

The free introductory lecture, which provides an overview of the Academy in a Kenote slideshow download, also allows people to download an .mp3 audio file, and a .pdf Notebook, thereby previewing the course information, the delivery style of Crusie and Rich, and the formats in which the content will be delivered. After that, each 30-minute course (organized at the 100-Level, 200-Level, and 300-Level) is available for $10.

I downloaded both Rich’s Introduction to Discovery, and Crusie’s Introduction to Conflict. The links were available immediately after payment, and all of the downloads went without a hitch. The .pdf workbook includes copies of all of the slides, as well as space in which to take additional notes and record in-the-moment epiphanies, which I appreciated, because it meant that I could just relax and absorb the content from the slideshow.

As for the information itself, it was superb. I’m biased, of course, but I believe that writers at every level will appreciate the clarity and the incisiveness with which the concepts are presented, as well as the detailed examples that are given to illustrate how the concepts play out in story development. At times, it’s like watching Penn and Teller break down one of their illusions so that you can see, step-by-step, how the magic comes together: It’s entertaining, inspiring, and if you’re determined to make magic as a story-teller, empowering as all hell. You’re given concrete tools to use in working with your story, and whether you’re a plotter who will want to use the tools early on in the writing process, or a pantser who will find them helpful as part of the revision process, the techniques are there for you. The fact that the information is available visually, aurally, and in print means that you can access the content in whatever way is most useful to you at the time—at home, in the car, Or Whatever.

For myself, I’m hoping to talk my writing circle into coming to play at Writewell, too. The only thing that would make this experience better for me is the chance to bounce some of the ideas around with other folks, using our own stories to explore the course content. My critique partner and I have a long and enjoyable tradition of getting together to argue about Craft concepts that neither of us totally has a handle on, so Writewell promises to provide hours of fun in that respect, if nothing else.

In closing, I’d love to use this post as a jumping-off point for you wise, wonderful FTWA readers to share links and general suggestions for writing courses of any kind that you’ve found powerful. After all, no one option is going to be a fit for every writer, and the more options we have to play with, the stronger and more enjoyable our development as writers can be. See you in the Comments!

Lucy Marsden is a romance writer living in New England. When she’s not backstage at a magic show or crashing a physics picnic, she can be found knee-deep in the occult collection of some old library, or arguing hotly about Story.


Jean Oram said...

Writewell sounds awesome. Now to find the time!

Personally, I have had some great success with Orange Country RWA's (Romance Writers of America) online courses. And they aren't just for romance writers. This fall (September) Carol Hughes is offering her Deep Story Structure class again which is an AWEsome course. And it's only $30 for nonmembers. Not bad! (And worth much, much more!) Here's their classes link.

Thanks for the heads up on Writewell.

Jemi Fraser said...

I haven't taken any courses yet, but I've been thinking about taking this one. Probably in the summer when I have a bit more time. :)

Luce said...

Jean: I think I've taken classes through OC before, and they were very, very good--thanks for posting the link!

Jemi: The nice thing about the course is that you can engage with whatever mode of delivery is most convenient for you at the moment; it's not an all-or-nothing proposition.

Calista Taylor said...

Can't wait to take these courses! Thanks for posting the links!

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