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Despite the Pandemic, I still plan to run Skrivarakademin’s Creative Writing and Narrative Theory course this spring, with the first meeting delayed until Thursday, February 25th. Classes are scheduled on-location at Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45 in Stockholm (nearest train stop is Odenplan, nearest subway stop is Rådmansgatan), with an online option available for those who wish to participate via video-link from home.

As with the two previous terms, I’ll be offering in-person and online participants. We have engaged groups and attendance is always very high. The last few years, spots have been very hard to get, but due to the Pandemic there are at the moment a few left.

The course meets for ten weeks, and covers basic elements of narrative writing, from punctuation and syntax to story mechanics. We also work with theory, and study professional examples. Many students report gaining both skills and self-confidence, and that they learn better self-discipline and editing skills. We also have a lot of fun together.

And good news: some participants from the fall 2020 class are currently writing a story cycle together with some of my other students. The paperback book is scheduled to be printed and released this May. Watch this space for more news about the project. And please contact me at kevin.frato@folkuniversitetet.se if you have any questions.

Looking forward to working with you this spring.

My latest book Creative Writing – a Classroom Guide has just been released by Natur och Kultur publishers, Sweden.  The goal of this book is to improve society through helping students understand stories and how to structure them, by applying theory and practise.

In the theory section, I’ve included completely new ways of teaching story writing through conversation theory and the elements of the narrative.  I also include traditional linguistic tools and narrative mechanics, and I reference authors as widespread as Aristotle, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, Edgar Allen Poe, and Stephen King. The practical section includes detailed suggestions for structuring workshopping sessions, and I also provides guidelines to protect the integrity of student authors (no value judgments or helpful suggestions, etc.).  Instead of traditional writing prompts or exercises, I’ve included eleven writing challenges –– enjoyable tests of skill that you can make as simple or complex as you like, such as the Poetic Language, Character Names, Tempo, Tonic, and Cityscape challenges.

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Creative Writing – a Classroom Guide, by Kevin Frato (Natur och Kultur, 2019). Cover photo: Cecilia Magnusson

The book also offers textual examples from classic works to illustrate each skill or concept, and also includes four sample of student work, to illustrate the rich variety of stories students write.  Along with the text, you’ll also find easy-to-access online materials, including worksheets with clear layouts and more textual examples.

Whether you’re a teacher interested in working with creative writing in the classroom, or looking for new ideas for the work you already do –– or whether you’re a writer looking for a more structured understanding of the process –– this book provides you with a rich variety of practical and theoretical tools of the trade.

Special thanks on this project to my editors Åsa Gustafsson and Desiree Kellerman.

I’m available to lead workshops on this topic (contact me or Natur och Kultur); you can also sign up for one of my classes at Skrivarakademin, Stockholm.

If you’re interested in learning more about writing short stories –– choosing material, structuring narratives, adapting language, editing, and marketing –– there are a few spots left for my weekend short story workshop March 9th and 10th at Skrivarakademin, Stockholm.  Sign up through the link above.  Questions?  Send me a note.

Unfortunately my intro-level course Creative Writing and Narrative Theory is fully booked this term.  My Novel-Development Workshop has one spot left, though though the course started earlier this week.

PS: I’m fortunate enough to have been granted a writing residency this spring, a week in a house on an island near the sea. If all goes well, my latest book with Natur och Kultur (see post under this) will be on its way to press by then, and I’ll be working on other things.

 

English teachers directly affect the future of our society, and one of the most important ways is through teaching young people to mature (which in turn helps society mature) through reading and writing stories. Many English teachers already teach creative writing; others would like to but are afraid, or don’t know how, or don’t think they’re allowed.

In order to help all these teachers, this winter I’ll be releasing a new book through Swedish publishers Natur och Kultur called Creative Writing – A Classroom Guide, which instructs teachers about why and how to teach writing in the classroom.

There are many benefits of working with creative writing compared to academic formats.  Essays and reports are incredibly important to society, but they work at the conscious level, and tend to age quickly; narrative fiction, theater, and poetry on the other hand work at the subconscious level, and become a lasting part of our personal and cultural identities.

Creative Writing – A Classroom Guide is the result of decades of leading writing workshops and teaching writing to all ages in the USA, Sweden and Italy.  It includes theory, practical help, concrete skills-based exercises, and new ways of working including a how-to for making books of interwoven short stories (story cycles) with English classes.

Look for it in early 2019.

 

PS: I’ve been travelling Sweden recently running workshops on this subject, sponsored by my publishers Natur och Kultur.  My latest workshop was at Vägga Gymnassieskola in Karlshamn – teacher Jeanette Ekwurtzel wrote about my visit here.

PPS: I’ll also be lecturing on this topic at Skolforum, Stockholm on the 29th of October, 2018.

It’s been a few years since I organized a workshop with the popular and award-winning American poet Moira Egan, who currently resides in Rome. Luckily for us, Egan will be coming back to Stockholm May 5th & 6th to teach a two-day workshop with me at Skrivarakademin.

Egan is one of the foremost formal poets working in English –– her clever, brutally honest books Bar Napkin Sonnets and Hot Flash Sonnets established her reputation as a sassy neo-classical poet on both sides of the Atlantic.  She’s also a popular workshop teacher –– the reviews of her last workshop here in Stockholm were excellent.

The weekend workshop will focus on combining ideas with structures –– in short narrative and poetic formats.  The sign-up link for the workshop is here; to answer the question “personlig motivering” or why you want to take the course, simply write that you’re interested in improving your skills.

Hope to see you there!

There are still a few spots available in my two spring 2017 writing courses at Skrivarakademin in Stockholm.

Creative Writing and Narrative Theory, the entry-level course, runs on Mondays starting February 6th.  In this course I teach linguistic style, narrative mechanics, and simple narrative structures.

The Novel Workshop, for people working on longer projects, runs every other Thursday starting on February 9th.  This course works more in-depth with longer manuscripts, their structural strategies, linguistic elements, their psychology, etc.

Hope to see you there!

 

For this year’s short story workshop at Skrivarakademin, I’ll be placing a special emphasis on finding and adapting stories for short literary formats.  How do you quickly and convincingly transport the reader into the world of the story?  How can we quickly create a connection between readers and characters?  What common story structures sell well, and why?  And what effects do various stylistic tools have on the story?

I’m shifting the date of the workshop back one weekend from the advertised date.  If you have any questions, please contact me here.

 

This is my schedule for free lectures for teachers at Swedish schools ––  the topics are teaching the writing process through conversation theory, and how to work with creative writing in the classroom.  All workshops generously sponsored by Natur och Kultur publishers, Stockholm.  The schools listed are the ones who have signed up, and who we’ve been able to fit into my schedule (I teach at two different schools and can’t be away all the time).   I’m aware that some schools have requested a time but not yet received one.

If your school is not signed up but is still interested, please contact gunilla.hallin@nok.se. It might still be possible to find a time, but unfortunately there are no guarantees.

I look forward to working with you!

June

– Söderköping: Nyströmska gymnasium, June 8th

September

– Nässjö, Brinellgymnasiet: Sept. 5th

– Halmstad: Sturegymnasiet & Sannarpsgymnasiet, Sept. 21st

October

– Gothenburg: Göteborgs Folkhögskola & Schillerska Gymnasium, Oct. 4th

– Stockholm: Cybergymnasiet, October 6th

– Lidingö: Hersby gymnasium

– Stockholm: Fryshuset, Oct. 17th (preliminary)

– Mora: Mora Gymnasium, October 26th

November

– Stockholm: Thorildsplans gymnasium, Nov. 15th

 

In recent weeks two people have asked me which course they should sign up for at Skrivarakademin –– Creative Writing and Narrative Theory, or the Novel Workshop.

Both courses are helpful, but in different ways.  I designed these course to save people years of confused, lonely struggle developing linguistic and narrative skills, to give writers the kind of understanding of their own writing that it took me two decades of writing, workshopping, studying, rejection, and publishing to acquire.  Honestly, all of us start out as struggling writers, but some of us struggle more than others.

When thinking about which course to take, think about your goals as a writer.  If you’re interested in developing as a writer, by all means start with the intro course Creative Writing and Narrative Theory, which systematically deals with skills and theories to help you build your style from the ground up.

On the other hand, if you’re in the middle of the manuscript that is giving you a mid-life crisis and breaking apart your relationship –– or keeping you from having one –– and just want help making sense of this project and getting it drafted (and you already have a solid set of intuited linguistic and narrative skills)… then the novel workshop is probably the right place for you.  It’s possible you’ll go back afterwards and tak the intro course; every once in a while people do just that.  But for now you’ll enjoy being with people involved in the same situation as you.  By the way, what if you’re attempting a complex novel that deals with serious historical topics over a long period of time, and you feel you’re in over your head?  Congratulations.  As Italo Calvino wrote in Six Memos for the Next Millenium, ambitious projects are what the novel format is for –– trying to encompass the complexities of life and attempting things that border on the impossible.  That’s how writers, readers and the novel itself as a format develop.

Of course there’s also the weekend Short Story Workshop in May, for those interested in learning short formats for sellable stories (with guest poet Moira Egan this time, who was extremely popular two years ago when she came to Skrivarakademin to tach for a day).

This spring’s Creative Writing and Narrative Theory workshop at Skrivarakademin, Folkuniversitetet (Stockholm, Sweden) will run for ten Monday evenings starting March 11th.

The Novel Development Workshop, for longer or connected words of fiction, will meet five Wednesday evenings starting February 20th.

If you have any questions about either of these workshops, please contact me at kevin.frato@folkuniversitetet.se.

By the way, for those working in shorter formats, I’ll also be running a short story workshop March 2nd and 3rd.

Yes, attendance is high at these workshops.