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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).

Annonser

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.

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 around the end of February I’ll be leading my usual Monday evening 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.  In addition, I teach useful linguistic and narrative theory and skills; writers tend to experience a sharp learning curve as they learn new skills and develop their styles.  The course meets a total of ten Monday 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 run the Novel Development Workshop on Thursday evenings.

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

If you’re an English-language creative writer in the Stockholm, Sweden area, looking for courses taught by a regularly publishing fiction author, I’ve designed my courses for you: Creative Writing and Narrative Theory and Novel Development Workshop.  The courses aren’t free, I’m well aware of it –– but I do make sure you get your money’s worth.
Creative Writing and Narrative Theory is a fairly intense starter- or mid-level course which teaches linguistic and narrative skills in a supportive workshop-setting.  I enforce strict workshopping rules to protect the integrity of the author: we focus on a reader-response approach.  For instance, how did this text work for us, what exactly is it, what exactly happens at the physical and psychological levels, and how does it function at the linguistic and structural level?  I don’t allow value judgments or helpful suggestions, only our honest impressions, enjoyments, confusions.  Then the author gets to decide how they want to proceed with the piece.

The Novel Development Workshop, on the other hand, is structured around longer texts and more advanced theory.  I place particular focus on teaching the theoretical issues of historical fiction and fantasy.  Other forms of fiction can be learned through them, because they follow the main divisions of all literature: realism and non-realism.

The courses tend to fill up, and the group feeling is always supportive and exciting.  We have a lot of fun together and still get a lot of work done.  So if you’re looking to get started, need more structure, want more theory or skill, or are just lonely and want some literary company, please join us.  And if you’re having trouble justifying the time or money to yourself or anybody else, view it as a hobby worth investing in.

Folkuniversitetets Skrivarakademin in Stockholm has just released its sign-up info for next spring’s Creative Writing and Narrative Theory course.  I’ll be teaching Monday evenings, 6-9:15 p.m., at Kungstensgatan 45.

What will writers be getting for their money?  My goal is teach people everything I’ve spent the past twenty-odd years painfully learning in classes and by hand, through trial and error and the hundreds of rejections I accumulated before becoming a working author.  Skills and theory, as well as updates on what’s going on in the publishing industry and the world of literature, so people won’t have to figure it all out by themselves.  Also: a sense of community, and a chance to take yourself seriously as a writer.  Visual artists often rent studios when they decide to really invest in their art; paying for a course can be a way to invest in your future as a writer.  I took a number of writing and playwriting courses at college, and what I learned wasn’t always apparent right then.  But now I’m glad for every one of them –– almost every time I sit down to write, I remember something I learned in one of my courses.

I hope it will be absolutely worth the investment.  Please contact me at kevin.frato@folkuniversitetet.se if you have any questions.

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.