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On Monday the 29th of October, I’ll be lecturing at Skolforum, Älvsjömässan, Stockholm, on creative writing and its connections to reading. I’ve been giving workshops on this and related topics around the country; this lecture will contain new ideas developed in my various classrooms, and included in my upcoming book Creative Writing – A Classroom Guide, to be published by Natur och Kultur (new release date: February 28th, 2019).

Throughout my years of teaching, writing, lecturing, and researching, I’ve developed what I believe is a breakthrough approach to teaching writing of all types, and creative writing in particular. It explains the underlying rules of various formats based on relationships of those engaged in these virtual conversations.

A special thanks to the teachers at Hedbergska gymnasium, Sundsvall, Rudbecksgymnasium, Örebro, Vägga gymnasieskola in Karlshamn, and Blackebergs gymnasium, Stockholm, Sweden, for their recent responses to key sections of my ideas and methods.

PS: I’ll also be speaking at Engelskaläraren 2019, a conference for English teachers arranged by Kompetensteamet at Westmanska Palatset in Stockholm, February 5th, 2019

Thanks everyone who attended and contributed to my recent lecture on teaching creative writing at Natur och Kultur publishers. Upwards of fifty teachers attended in person, while a dozen or so watched and chatted online from elsewhere in the country. Natur och Kultur themselves had about six people on hand –– working late to help students around the country by helping their teachers get new ideas.

My long-term goal is to improve the quality of English education in Sweden; working with creative structures is a vital part of that improvement.  If you were (or weren’t) in attendance and have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at: kfrato@yahoo.com.

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).

I vintras blev jag kontaktad av Haninge Kommun som undrade om jag skulle vara intresserad av att skriva en text till kommunens katalog över offentliga konstverk. De lät spännande. Mitt under en snöstorm åkte jag in till kommunens kulturhus och pratade med ett par av kommunens kulturfolk. De bjöd på te och vi pratade om projektet, om konsten i kommunen, om vilkören för konstnärer i kommunen m.m. 

Sen åkte jag till Jordbor (där delar av min roman Numera Negerkung utspelar sig) och kollade på konstverket som texten skulle utgå ifrån. Det heter ”Juvelerna i Jordbro” och har formen av ett metallträd med symbolisk pyntning. Jag fick även en bunt kopior på handskrivna berättelser från Jordbrobarnen som hjälpt skapa idéerna bakom trädet.

Snön fortsatte att falla medan jag beundrade verket. Jag tog fram skrivblocket och skissade på idéer – fraser, rytmer, upprepningar, narrativa fragment. Sen åkte jag till biblioteket och skrev utkast på två olika kortnoveller, eller konstnoveller, där jag vävde in citat från barnens berättelser om hur de kommit till Sverige från andra länder – eller andra delar av Sverige. (När det gäller beställningsverk har jag för vana, ända sen jag som tonåring frilansade som krönikör åt The Cleveland Plain Dealer in Ohio, USA, att låta beställaren välja från ett par olika alternativ. Jag vet inte om andra jobbar så.). Under veckan skrev jag om dem flera gånger och skickade sen iväg texterna.

Kommunen valde den andra novellen, den som började som överblivna smulor, den som jag kämpade mest med. Kanske just därför.

Den kommer ut under hösten i katalogen Konst i Haninge.

Hi everyone, There are a few spot left for the Creative Writing and Narrative Theory workshop starting Monday the 8th of February, 2016. During the ten classes, we work in detail on linguistic issues such as sound symbolism, syntax, intelligent punctuation, poetic devices, imagery, and rhythm, and then move into narrative mechanics and theory.  We read and discuss everyone’s work in an analytical, non-jugmental fashion focusing on how we understand and experience each piece, without making suggestions or emotional judgments.  Attendance is usually very high, and we really enjoy ourselves while learning a lot.

The free trial evening for this course is on Wednesday evening, January 20th.  Sign up at the link above.

For those working on longer pieces, I also offer the Novel Workshop, which eight Thursday evening between January 21st and May 12th.

The two-day Short story and Poetry Workshop led by myself and Moira Egan, on May 7-8th, has also been posted –– though the full description is missing: during our first day we’ll learn and practise narrative structures and strategies for the short story, as well as discuss the relationship between story collections and story cycles, the evolution of the modern short story, useful linguistic devices, approaching publishers/publications vs. self publishing, and advice for working with editors. The second day will focus on the relationship between formal and free poetry, strategies for writing vivid sensory imagery, poetic rhythm and wordplay, and how to develop, edit, and market your work.

Below is a desription by former course participant Simon Linter, describing what he got out of Creative Writing and Narrative Theory:

…………………………………………………………………..

I started writing

by Simon Linter

I started writing short stories as homework that I wouldn’t have written if left to my own devices. The short stories could be foundations of longer stories, maybe even novels. The classes made me think in ways that I hadn’t thought before and have really sparked me into writing creatively.

I would recommend the creative writing courses for anybody that has tried to write a novel, tried to write short stories or those who haven’t tried to write creatively but really want to start. You will be in the very capable and enthusiastic hands of Kevin Frato, who is all about the creative written word.

Looking for a group of writers where you can work together learning and practicing skills, and analysing your methods?

Starting Thursday evening, March 5th, I’ll be leading my usual workshop in Creative Writing and Narrative Theory at Folkuniversitet’s Skrivarakademin.  The class tends to have excellent attendance, with writers who  put a lot of effort into their own and each others’ texts.  I also teach linguistic and narrative theory and skills, and writers tend to experience a sharp learning curve as they learn new tricks of the trade and develop their styles.  The course meets a total of ten evenings, from 6-9:15 pm.

For those working on longer texts who would like to workshop them in-depth and learn more advanced theory, I’ll also be running Creative Writing and Narrative Theory II on six Thursday evenings, starting February 19th.

Hope to see you there.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at kevin.frato@folkuniversitetet.se.

For anyone interested in creative writing in English in Stockholm 2012, I’ll be offering a free trial evening class Tuesday January 17th, 7:15-8:15pm at Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45 (subway stop: Rådmansgatan).

We’ll start out with a brief writing exercise, briefly discuss our work, and finally I’ll introduce the group to a bit of narrative theory from a structural perspective.  I’ll have a list of topics to be covered in the course itself (which will meet Mondays 6-9:15pm, starting February 6th).

Hope to see you there!