WRITING ABOUT YOUR FAITH Writing Workshop, Fridays 5-8, Whitehorse United Church
How do you write about your “faith”? How do you describe the indescribable, the ineffable, the otherworldly? the grief or joy or miracle or peace or disappointment that you have because of your faith? Everyone can argue about the value or lack of value in “religion”–and it’s an easy connect-the-dots to create your own pictures of what organized religion has done in the world. It’s harder to write about personal faith or your personal interactions with religion–what keeps you going, what happened to you that you know no one would believe, about the anguish of trying to live in a real, faulty, fragile world, when others ask you to strive for peace, patience, happiness, even joy.
This writing workshop will explore how people write about these very personal experiences, or their thoughts about faith and religion and its very real presence in their lives, or the lives of those around them. We’ve had students write about their relationships with their parents, their children, their grandchildren, experiences in nature, in confronting others who aren’t on the same page. We have had students who are believers, non-believers, unsure, people of various faiths. All faiths are welcome–come with what’s important to you, open to what is important to others. This isn’t a dogma class. It’s not a class to teach you from the top down. It’s for you to teach us from the ground up through your experiences, your writing.
What you can expect:
While this is a 13 week experience, it’s done in modules, so that you can come and go as you have to. We’d like to see a committed group of 15-20 people go through the writing education and the writing workshop so that we can have a core group. However, this class has been taught before at WUC with a core of ten and some of them will be joining us again. My hope is to build trust in the group, so that you will trust us with looking at your writing.
This will be my fourth time teaching this class–and it is always one of my favorite courses.
WUC is asking for a $200 course fee this year if you decide to take the course. We were very happy to be funded in the past through the Herb and Dorreen Wahl Fund, a generous fund that allows WUC to bring affordable, creative experiences to the church and the surrounding community. Now we are growing and well established.
The first six or seven classes will be focused more on writing technique with fun exercises to get you writing and trying different methods. We will read works by contemporary writers like Annie Dillard, Anne Lamott, Marilynne Robinson, Jhumpa Lahiri, Andre Dubus, Stephen Gould, John Updike. (These are all inclusive writers, but for the most part seekers with an inclusive Christian background).Gradually, we will be looking more and more at your writing–as we hope that you will begin to share your stories, fiction and nonfiction. In March, there will be Saturday afternoon opportunities for longer workshops for those who are ready to submit works to be workshopped.
Come Friday, Sept 28, to the Whitehorse United Church for an orientation meeting, with food. We’ll have some brainstorming sessions, you can chat with prior participants, and get to know what the class will be like. The course will run through Dec 15. A fully detailed schedule will be available the 28th.
Jerome Stueart (the instructor) has his PhD in English (Creative Writing) from Texas Tech University, over 15 years experience teaching writing workshops, and this is his fourth time teaching Writing Faith. His publications can be found on this website under Written Work. If you have questions about the course, feel free to write him at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “writing faith”–or come Friday, Sept 28, at 5pm to the Whitehorse United Church for more information.
2011 AFTERSCHOOL WRITING PROGRAMS
I am offering two classes for teens, one at FH Collins and one at PC Secondary school. The FH class will be on Wednesdays at 3:30-5:00, and the PC class will be on Mondays from 3:30-5:00.
The FH Collins one is a Science Fiction and Fantasy writing Afterschool program and the PC class will be a Creative Writing Class for teens, both available through the City of Whitehorse by calling 668-8325.
Cost is relatively small for 8 to 13 weeks of instruction, games, workshopping and writing—oh and did I mention FOOD?
Come and join us at PC or FH for some afterschool fun. All are welcome, as long as you like to read and write either fiction and poetry or science fiction and fantasy.
ARCHIVED CLASSES I HAVE DONE IN THE PAST.
Yukon College: Winter 2009–two courses
NOVEL WRITING WORKSHOP–Track 1: Realism/Mainstream
Recommended for those who have a first draft of their novel completed-or more than half done. Students who did not take the Fall Novel Writing Course can jump in the class by permission of the instructor.
JAN 5-April 6 (or 13)–Yukon College
In this class, we will begin the process of revising chapters of a novel in a workshop format. We’ll begin in January with a summary and synopsis lesson which will be turned in to the other members of the class so that everyone knows what you are writing and what you want to do. This will help them make informed choices to help you get to where you are going. The semester will be mostly workshop. Each student will workshop three chapters. You will be asked to comment on others work in a written format (a paragraph or two) which is why we do workshop–to get feedback.
We will also look at other novels and pick them apart as well. Novels will include the following: The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, Plainsong by Kent Haruf, and Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.And Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell–which you might own if you took the Fall course.
By the end of the semester, you should know three things strongly: what it takes to complete a first draft of a novel, techniques for revising novels, as opposed to short fiction, and how to critique writing to help others. You will know your novel well–and be able to talk about it to others. Speaking of others: We might have the opportunity to show our three chapters and synopsis to editors in April, as part of a Yukon Writing Conference. It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss!!
If you wrote a novel during NaNoWriMo, come join us for the next steps! If you have been working independently, or have a novel mostly written just sitting in a box somewhere, come join us! This is the time to dedicate to getting that novel more polished and ready for people to see it. Come join other novelists in their journey!
Class will be limited to 20 people committed to sticking through at least a semester of enjoyable work.
NOVEL WRITING WORKSHOP–TRACK 2: SPECULATIVE/GENRE
This novel writing workshop, modeled on the other one, is for those writers with novels containing any speculative, non-realistic elements. Time travel, fantasy, science fiction, horror, anything that constitutes a break from reality. These writers will find a good workshop of folks who understand how to deal with non-realistic elements. We will be workshopping three chapters of a novel or novella, putting together a synopsis, all while reading books that are designed specifically for speculative writing.
Come join us on Tuesday nights for this course.