Prep for NaNoWriMo with free online courses from the Los Angeles County Library!

COLALibrary-GalecoursesPosting on behalf of Madeline Wright.

We’re all busy counting down the days until NaNoWriMo begins. If you’re looking to top up your writing skills until then, you’re in luck! With your LA County Library Card you can enroll in a selection of six-week online writing and publishing courses, free.

Lessons are released each week on specific topics with fun interactive activities, hands-on assignments, and access to a discussion forum, FAQ, and other resources.

Examples of course offerings:

  • Writing for Children
  • Mystery Writing
  • Research Methods for Writers
  • Writing Young Adult Fiction
  • Write Fiction like a Pro
  • And many more

New courses start each month. The next session starts on August 20. Head to http://education.gale.com/l-down54663/ to signup.

Direct link to courses here:  Writing and Publishing: Creative

About the Author

Madeline Wright has participated in NaNoWriMo since 2003 (Kwas). She hails from the South Bay region of LA and her favorite genre to write is YA. Her regular blog is A Mad Vox. Follow her on Twitter at @SoCalMad.

Sherman Oaks Write-In Group: Editing Master Class Series

Looking to edit your novel, but don’t know where to start? Maybe the Editing Master Class Series might be the help you need! The Sherman Oaks Write-In Group is hosting the a Four Session Editing Master Class Series with Megan Pinson leading the classes.

Cost is $15 per person, per session or you can get All four sessions for $50 if you get the Early Bird Pricing!
(For more information about Early Bird Pricing contact Chris Bailey at nanopaneracritiques@gmail.com.)

EditingMasterClassFlyerSession I – Show and Tell
Date: April 5, 2014
Doors Open: 10:00 AM
Class: 10:30 AM – Noon
Click here to RSVP for Session I

Session II – Verb Tense
Date: April 19, 2014
Doors Open: 10:00 AM
Class: 10:30 AM – Noon
Click here to RSVP for Session II

Session III – Point of View
Date: May 3, 2014
Doors Open: 10:00 AM
Class: 10:30 AM – Noon
Click here to RSVP for Session III

Session IV – Tighten and Tone
Date: May 17, 2014
Doors Open: 10:00 AM
Class: 10:30 AM – Noon
Click here to RSVP for Session IV

Click here to download PDF of the flyer.

Quest Writing Workshop: Santa Monica, March 13-16, 2014

GITS LogoPosting on behalf of Go Into the Story.

Last October, ten writers from across the United States and Canada converged at The Writers Junction in Santa Monica for a 4-Day Quest Writing Workshop with me as their host and teacher. It was a remarkable weekend.

* The learning that went on as we immersed ourselves in character-based screenwriting was palpable, insights and revelations throughout each session, a cumulative theoretical take on the craft that resonated with all of the participants.

* Each writer put that theory into practice on their own stories, a series of writing exercises that not only provided them with a proven approach to prep-writing, it also enabled attendees to make significant progress on their stories.

* The actual workshop process whereby everyone embraced the idea of constructive critique, honest assessment plus brainstorming suggestions, resulted in one key creative breakthrough after another.

Here are a few observations from some of the writers involved in the Quest Workshop:

“I’ve taken many courses (both academic and recreational), and the workshop was just an excellent combination of practical knowledge mixed with personalized attention.” — Pat Suh

“Thank you again for gathering together such an interesting, diverse group of aspiring screenwriters and providing us all with such a wonderful shared learning and networking experience!” — Melanie McDonald

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Scott and the other participants in the inaugural Quest Writers’ Workshop. There was a palpable, electricity in the air while we worked, the kind you wish you could bottle up to take a drag from whenever you need to be inspired.” — Lisa Meacham

“I’m not trying to blow sunshine up your skirt when I say I got more out of those four days than I did all of grad school.” — Michelle Burleson

Here is an overview of our four days together:

Thursday: We began by digging into the first of three sections of the Core curriculum: Character. Then we workshopped character treatments for the Protagonist from each writer’s story. Finally we went through a host of brainstorming exercises to compelling participants to explore their respective stories.Focus: Brainstorming.

Friday: We interwove theory and practice, covering two other Core sections — Plot and Theme — as well as Prep exercises designed to help writers wrangle their stories, both in terms of the Plotline, events in the External World, and Themeline, movements in the Internal World, the realm of the story’s psychological and emotional journey. Focus: Subplots.

Saturday: We spent a majority of time workshopping stories, each writer exploring major Plotline points to construct the spine of their story’s narrative structure.Focus: Plotting.

Sunday: Again most of the focus was on workshopping stories, the writers learning the benefits of index cards as they fleshed out major plot and subplot elements, rounding them into shape toward a coherent, comprehensive outline. We also had a special guest for an in-depth Q&A: Franklin Leonard. Focus: Outline.

After each day’s session, we carried on our conversations at local watering holes, a chance to dig more deeply into stories, socialize, and have a great deal of fun together.

In other words, we packed a whole hell of a lot into four days.

In addition, I created a private online site for workshop members where they introduced themselves before the weekend so we managed to hit the ground running, posted exercises and feedback during the four day session, and have continued the process after our time together, moving on into first drafts.

After receiving universally positive response from participants, I have decided to reprise the 4-Day Quest Writing Workshop: March 13-March 16, 2014, Santa Monica, The Writers Junction.

If you are interested, you may learn more here.

SPECIAL BONUS: If you enroll by January 31, you may take any two Craft classes with me online for free!

  1. January 20: Pixar: The Craft of Storytelling
  2. February 3: Craft: Story Summaries
  3. February 17: Craft: Handling Exposition
  4. March 17: Craft: Character Introductions
  5. March 31: Craft: Character Development Keys
  6. April 28: Craft: Create a Compelling Protagonist
  7. May 12: Craft: Write a Worthy Nemesis
  8. May 26: Craft: The Coen Brothers and the Craft of Storytelling

If you enroll after January 31, but before February 15, you may take any one Craft class.

If you have a story idea you believe is a strong one and you are passionate to write it…

If you like this blog and want more of the fundamentals of my approach to character based screenwriting…

If you want to learn a proven, professional approach to breaking a story in prep…

I encourage you to consider enrolling in my upcoming Quest Writing Workshop.

I look forward to the opportunity to work with you!

About Scott Myers

Since selling his spec script K-9 in 1987, Scott has written nearly 30 projects for every major Hollywood studio and broadcast network. His film writing credits include K-9 starring Jim Belushi, Alaska starring Vincent Kartheisher, and Trojan War starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. In 2002, he began teaching screenwriting in his spare time. He won the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Outstanding Instructor Award in 2005 and currently teaches at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. From 2002-2010, Scott was an executive producer at Trailblazer Studios, a television production company. He is co-founder of Screenwriting Master Class, a unique online resource for writers. Scott is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America, west, and a graduate of the University of Virginia and Yale University Divinity School.

The story behind Go Into The Story

Awhile back the night before I started writing my next screenplay, on a whim I asked my three-year-old son if he had any advice. He looked at me with his huge blue eyes and without hesitation said, “Go into the story, and find the animals.” I laughed — pretty funny. Over time, however, I’ve discovered wisdom in my son’s words. As writers, we do, indeed, go into the stories we create. And the animals? How about characters, plot, theme, dialogue, subtext, and all those other mysterious, magical creatures prowling in the jungle of our imaginations?

I’ve been an online instructor through UCLA Extension Writer’s Program since 2002. This blog is largely in response to students who wanted to continue our conversations about the creative process. I offer it as a resource to them and any other aspiring writer, especially those interested in screenwriting and the magic of movies.