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The other night I was lucky enough to have dinner with some of my author-colleagues from the Skrivarakademin, the vocational writing college I teach at in Stockholm.  I find fellow authors in general to be pretty cagey about their work, not wanting to talk about manuscripts until contracts have been signed and the actual production cycle is underway –– especially in times of publishing-industry uncertainty like this, when even authors with decades of experience and dozens of books to their names are nervous about whether their next manuscript will be accepted.

It might have been the wine, the blood-pumping-in-our-veins jazz, or the pots and pans banging in the kitchen next to us, I don’t know.  But for once people were actually talking about their manuscripts, and for once I actually spoke about mine.  Writing stories to be read in the classroom isn’t glamorous, it’s true, but it’s important work, I said, reaching tens of thousands of readers who deserve excellent literature –– and besides that, it pays well.  Also, my publisher takes care of me and sends me around the country speaking.  In the past, I haven’t been able to explain that to my colleagues and feel completely proud of my work, but after a half a dozen books for Natur och Kultur, which I myself regularly read and discuss with young people in classroom settings, I finally understand how important these books are.

Happily, I was also able to tell the other authors at the table that I’m currently in the editing phase with another publisher on the beginning of a new, long fiction manuscript. To research this project, I’ve been interviewing soldiers who’ve served in Afghanistan.

It turned out two other authors at the table were working with this same publisher, and were just as enthusiastic about their projects. We all have verbal contracts at the moment (as a matter of fact I’m still on a verbal contract with Natur och Kultur), so none of us can be sure our projects will ever see the light of day, but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm.

Authors are usually modest to the point of timidity when discussing their work.  So it felt healthy to finally be able to discuss what we’re working on.

 

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.

I torsdags inträffade två viktiga saker i mitt skrivarliv: jag höll ett föredrag där jag berättade för mina kollegor på Skrivarakademin i Stockholm om mitt arbetssätt, och jag blev medlem i Svenska Författarförbundet. Att få chansen att berätta om hur jag undervisar, om mina teorier och idéer, gav mig chansen att inse att jag faktiskt kan en del. Och det har inte alltid varit självklart att jag ska med i Författarförbundet, eftersom jag fortfarande inte släppt en andra roman, utan i stället en massa noveller. Men nu har jag gått med.

Samtidigt har jag passat på att byta jobb (eller ett av mina jobb). Från att ha undervisat i litteratur och skrivande fyra dagar i veckan på ett (vinstdrivande) engelskspråkigt gymnasium i Stockholm undervisar jag nu samma sak tre dagar i veckan på ett (icke-vinstdrivande) musikgymnasium. Jag kommer att sakna mina gamla elever och kollegor, men de nya är också enormt duktiga och jättetrevliga, och det hela känns helt rätt.  På köpet får jag dubbelt så många skrivardagar (två) per vecka.

 

For anyone interested in the courses Creative Writing and Narrative Theory or the Novel Workshop, I’ll be holding a free introductory evening this Wednesday from 6:00 to 6:45 p.m., at Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, Stockholm (Rådmansgatan/Odenplan).

The past few semesters the courses have been full or almost full.  Attendance tends to be very strong, and participants develop their writing aided by the dynamics of the group.  Curious about how we work?  Hope to see you there.

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.

Since 2012 I’ve be teaching evening courses in Creative Writing and Narrative Theory and its sequel Novel Workshop at Folkuniversitetet’s Skrivarakademin in Stockholm. The courses are split between practice and theory: we practicing linguistic techniques and stylistic elements, as well as studying narrative structure and theory (the novel workshop involves meeting less frequently and working more in-depth with longer texts).  Being a native speaker isn’t a requirement, though the classes require proficiency in English (this is an opportunity for people who work in Swedish, as well, to try their hand at writing fiction in English, and to learn about another theoretical tradition).

Wondering if these classes would suit you? 

Here are a few comments from a former student named Ylva: I was initially sceptical about the writing excersises, because the ones I’ve done in other classes haven’t been very challenging. But these ones were great fun and very rewarding, and I go back to them all the time. I know we only scratched the surface, but the theory, discussions and excersises made a huge difference in how I look at and experience text. And from former student Simon Linter: MY HISTORY My name is Simon Linter and I have been writing stories since I can remember.. When I was four years old, I told my parents that I wanted to be an “arthur”.  Of course, they translated my childish language into “author”. I started to write. I wrote “Signs In The Jungle” when I was seven years old and “The Monster From Mars” when I was nine. During my teens, I continued to write, changing my job description from “arthur” to “journalist”. In 1990, aged fourteen, a video games company published a review I had written about one of their games on one their compilations. It was just the first step. Since 1994, I have worked within the media industry as a journalist, writer, copywriter and communicator. At the same time, I continued to write and found myself writing screenplays as a way to express my ideas. I believed some of them were good and convinced myself that they would be made into films one day. Some time later, I unearthed these screenplays and read through them. They were awful. Unrealistic. They would have made good candidates for the first victims of a bonfire. Yes. They were that bad. All of the screenplays were examples of my overconfidence in thinking I could write masterpieces when I couldn’t. MY STRUGGLES As the new century rolled around, I concentrated on my non-fiction article writing and graphic design work until I came up with an idea for a book. I sat down and started to tap away on a typewriter. I managed type approximately 30000 words until I stopped, scratched my head and said to myself: “What am I writing here? Where am I going with this?”. I ditched the project. A short while later, I started writing another book and the same thing happened. I didn’t know where the story was going, what the characters were doing or how they would get to the end. Once again, I ditched the project.

CREATIVE WRITING AND KEVIN FRATO In 2012, I signed up for Creative Writing, hosted by Kevin Frato at Folkuniversitet. Over ten weeks, Kevin introduced the class to different authors, different theories and opened up valid discussions about how to write. It was an eye-opener. During the classes, the group was given written tasks to complete in 10-15 minutes. Thanks to Kevin’s enthusiasm for his chosen subject and speciality, I could immediately tell that he absorbed words in the same way an addict might inhale a cigarette. I certainly feel that anybody who takes the creative writing courses at Folkuniversitet are privileged to have a teacher as enthusiastic and engaged in creative writing. As I had worked as a writer for many years and felt my writing ability was good, I still had problems when it came to writing fiction. The course introduced me to good solid ways in which to best tackle my writing. It was also a good place to meet fellow budding authors and get their perspective when it came to writing. I dredged up my screenplay “Making Headlines” as part of the first course’s homework and wrote my first finished full-length draft of a novel. During the gap between the first and second course, I wrote a second draft and took into account my classmates’ opinions. The advanced course helped me immensely. Thanks to Kevin’s enthusiasm and teachings, my classmates and the advice given, it enabled me to sit down with “Making Headlines” and go through it with a fine toothcomb. But the biggest plus about being on the advanced writing courses is a simple one: I started writing. 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.