To “read like a writer” means analyzing a writer’s craft in hopes of discerning how certain emotional or aesthetic effects are achieved. But how do we read like writers in a workshop setting, where the emphasis is on improving one another’s stories? In this six-week, workshop-oriented class, we’ll develop our capacity as artists, looking beyond the surface of the text and beyond their own assumptions. We’ll seek ways to open up new possibilities in our work, connecting dots upon which the writer might string new constellations. Finally, we’ll learn to function as mirrors so that we can help one other practice the art of revision: of literally re-seeing our writing in a new and different way.
Also, we’ll aim to create a writing cohort, a group of writers who will support and nourish one another well beyond our six-week session. This workshop is for writers who 1) have completed the working draft of at least one short story, or a significant portion of a novel, and 2) are willing to consider making substantial changes to their manuscripts. Writers will walk away from this class knowing how to analyze their work objectively and accurately, and how to make decisive changes that will make their narratives utterly enticing.
- In-depth feedback on your manuscript from the instructor and your peers.
- One private (Skype or phone) conference with the instructor to discuss your work.
- Ongoing access to a community of writers when the class is over.
- Trust in your own identity as an artist.
- An understanding of writing as thinking.
- Specific techniques for revision.
Week 1: Introduction, Scheduling, and Discussion — Storytelling as Gossip
Week 2: Discussion — Active Characters: What does your character want? First Workshop
Week 3: Discussion — Handling Time: When to zip, when to zoom. Second Workshop
Week 4: Discussion — Voice: Who’s talking? Third Workshop
Week 5: Discussion — Cause and Effect: How stories happen. Fourth Workshop
Week 6: Discussion — In the Long Term: The importance of keeping in touch, and how to persist. Fifth Workshop
Benjamin Ludwig is the author of Ginny Moon, which was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, one of Amazon.com’s Best Books of 2017, and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, BookPage, and Booklist. His novella, Sourdough, won the 2013 Clay Reynolds Prize for the Novella. A former English teacher and new-teacher mentor, he teaches for AWP’s mentorship program, Writer to Writer. You can find him online at benjaminludwig.com, as well as on Twitter (@biludwig).
“Ludwig’s novel recalls Mark Haddon’s THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME in the singular way it filters domestic tensions through the hyper-alert yet skewed viewpoint of a special-needs child…. He also succeeds in locating a plangent, unpatronizing humor in Ginny’s literalness and deadpan certitude.”
“Ludwig’s excellent debut is both a unique coming-of-age tale and a powerful affirmation of the fragility and strength of families…. Ludwig brilliantly depicts the literal-minded and inventive Ginny.”
“[E]nlightening…compelling…remarkably engaging…A heartwarming and unforgettable page-turner.”
“This stunning debut novel grabs readers by the heart and doesn’t let go. Fourteen-year-old Ginny Moon chronicles her increasingly harrowing life with her Forever Parents with one of the truest voices in modern literature…. Ludwig’s triumphant achievement is borne from his own experience as the adoptive parent of a teen with autism, and his gorgeous, wrenching portrayal of Ginny’s ability to communicate what she needs is perfection.”
“It is the rare debut novel that reveals a writer of such immense talent as to achieve a dazzling literary home run the first time up to bat. Such is the case with Benjamin Ludwig’s GINNY MOON, an extraordinary coming-of-age story told from the perspective of a 14-year-old protagonist with autism…. Ludwig has interjected his often-heartbreaking narrative with laugh-out-loud observations from Ginny, who loves Michael Jackson and displays a wicked sense of humor…. Tremendous.”
“Benjamin Ludwig’s novel is a genuine and touching debut; Ginny Moon is a wonderful and memorable heroine.”
“A heartwarming but refreshingly honest story about the making of an American family, told by a character who is, indeed, original—and impossible not to love.”