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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).

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.

At the final workshop of Creative Writing and Narrative Theory, I got a few questions about next term.  Here are the links and dates:

Creative Writing and Narrative Theory: February 9th-April 20th (ten Monday evenings, every week).  In this intro course I teach skills for expanding linguistic style, narrative mechanics, and range of subjects.

Novel Workshop: January 29th-May 7th (eight Thursday evenings, every other week).  In the novel workshop we analyze longer texts that tend to be part of extended projects.  We also work on theoretical issues.  This course may be repeated if desired.

The free trial evening will be January 14th; the info hasn’t been posted yet.

The Short Story Workshop weekend course has not been posted yet, either.

Finally, anyone interested in hearing me talk about using fantasy and fairytale theory in the classroom is welcome to sign up for my talk on the 11th of December at Natur och Kultur, Karlvägen, Stockholm.  I’ll also be talking about the books I’ve written for Natur och Kultur, and why I wrote the stories the way I did, etc.  I rarely discuss these projects on this blog, even though I’ve spent the past few years working on them.  So feel free to come and listen.

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.

As usual I’ll be running a free trial session for the Creative Writing and Narrative Theory workshop at Skrivarakademin, Folkuniversitetet, Stockholm.  The date is January 15th, 6-6:45 pm.

During these evenings we usually have time for a bit of writing and sharing, a discussion of what the group is interested, a run-down of what the workshop usually covers and how it works, and other questions and answers.  Sign up here or by writing directly to Skrivarakademin@folkuniversitetet.se.

Last fall, both the workshops I run were completely full.  For this spring, unfortunately the Novel Workshop is already full, but there are still spaces in Creative Writing and Narrative Theory.

See you there.