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The Genre Mix ‘n’ Match Class for Writers

GenresOpen Book presents a new series of writing classes offering you the opportunity to try your hand at writing in a variety of genres. It’s a genre smorgasbord!

Need help jumpstarting that novel? We’ve got a class for that! Have you ever wondered if you have a poet in you? Try a poetry class! Memoir? Give it a shot!

This is a great chance to exercise your writerly muscles with some innovative and stimulating writing instruction. Each class is taught by an expert in the genre. You can try something you’re already working on, or something new, and try one, or try a few.

Class will meet at the Open Book Bookstore in Elkins Park. Classes take place either on Sunday afternoons from 3:15pm to 5:15pm or on Monday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. Details and specific class descriptions are below.

COST: Classes cost $30 each. Sign up HERE.
Bonus: Those who sign up for 4 classes receive an Open Book Bookstore gift card worth $20. Limited time offer.
Note: all purchases are final and non-refundable.

CLASS DATES, DESCRIPTIONS AND INSTRUCTORS

DATE: Monday Jan 11
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC:
Mystery vs. Thriller: Which one are you writing and why does it matter?
INSTRUCTOR: Jon McGoran

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
There are plenty of similarities between mysteries and thrillers, and sometimes plenty of overlap. But there are important differences as well, including some outright contradictions. Jon McGoran will help you determine which genre is best for you by looking at some of the critical differences between these two closely related categories. He’ll teach you ways to incorporate elements of each into the other without making your mystery less mysterious or your thriller less thrilling.

TEACHER BIO:

Jon McGoran

Jon McGoran

Jon McGoran is the author of six novels, including the biotech thrillers Drift and Deadout, as well as their forthcoming sequel, Dust Up (April 2016), all from Tor/Forge Books, as well as the novella After Effects, from Amazon StoryFront. Writing as D. H. Dublin, he is also author of the forensic thrillers Body Trace, Blood Poison and Freezer Burn, from Penguin Books. His short fiction and nonfiction can be found in a variety of anthologies, and his short story “Bad Debt” received an honorable mention in Best American Mystery Stories, 2014. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, and a founding member of the Philadelphia Liars Club, a group of published authors dedicated to writers helping writers.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Sunday Jan 31
TIME: 3:15pm to 5:15pm
TOPIC: Building a Fictional World in Young Adult Novels
INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth LaBan

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
This class will focus on building a fictional world for a young adult book by adding details, traditions, smells, sounds, tastes, noises and anything else that brings a setting to life. LaBan will use examples from her young adult novel, The Tragedy Paper, as well as other writers’ work, to explore how authors create a setting for their stories and novels. The class will address where ideas come from, real life or imagination, and how often it is a combination of the two. Through reading, discussion, and a writing exercise, she will help students begin to work toward coming up with a setting for a story or novel they may want to write.

TEACHER BIO:

Elizabeth LaBan

Elizabeth LaBan

Elizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. Her first women’s fiction novel, The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, will be published by Lake Union Publishing on January 5. She is also the author of the young adult novel The Tragedy Paper, published by Knopf, which has been translated into eleven languages, and The Grandparents Handbook, published by Quirk Books, which has been translated into seven languages.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Monday Feb 1st
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC: Journaling For Writers
INSTRUCTOR: Janet Falon

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
The journal can be a wonderful tool both for helping writers working through content and for grappling with the writing process.  In this workshop you’ll learn a variety of exercises that can support you and keep you on track; also, the exercises you will learn can help you enrich your writing, and give it more texture.  The workshop is especially useful for people who are new to writing or who have experienced writers block.

TEACHER BIO:

Janet Falon

Janet Falon

Janet Falon is an award-winning writer and writing teacher.  She teaches a variety of classes at The University of Pennsylvania, cancer-support organizations, assisted-living facilities, and privately, including leading a non-fiction writing group. Janet is especially enthusiastic about helping people find and express their own creative voice and tell their life story.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Monday February 8th
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC: Flash Fiction
INTRUCTOR: Randall Brown

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
Flash is for the fearless. No wishy-washiness here. This workshop discusses the essentials of writing flash fiction: ideas, narrative structures, voice, image patterns, twists, revision, and submission strategies that should help you get your work published. Hear that POP! That’s the sizzle of your prose, your veins like wires. That’s the world where every word matters, the world of infinite yearning, where everything and everyone—writers, texts, characters, readers—lose their quiet everyday world and enter a state of intense arousal and desire. Oh Baby. Micro. Sudden. Flash. Fiction. Awww!

TEACHER BIO:

Randall Brown

Randall Brown

Randall Brown is the author of the award-winning collection Mad to Live, his essay on (very) short fiction appears in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, and he appears in the Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction. He blogs regularly at FlashFiction.Net and has been published and anthologized widely, both online and in print. He is also the founder and managing editor of Matter Press and its Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. He teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Rosemont College and received his MFA from Vermont College.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Sunday February 21st
TIME: 3:15pm to 5:15pm
TOPIC: Writing the Graphic Novel
INSTRUCTOR: Terry Laban

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
Learn the basics of graphic narrative—we’ll talk about page layouts, dialogue balloons, comic theory, character development and more. Perfect for anyone interested in writing comic strips, graphic novels or manga.

TEACHER BIO:

Terry LaBan

Terry LaBan

Terry LaBan has been a professional cartoonist for almost 30 years. He’s worked as a political cartoonist(In These Times, The Ann Arbor News), and artist and writer in the comic book industry(Fantagraphics Books, Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics) and as an illustrator for numerous publications. He currently creates the daily comic strip “Edge City”, syndicated by King Features, with his wife, Patty and does marketing and educational comics under the business name Cartoon Impact. He’s also an adjunct professor at Philadelphia University.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Monday Feb 22nd
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC: Poetry Writing Workshop
INSTRUCTOR: Lynn Levin and Rodger Lowenthal

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
You have within you your own stories, memories, and artistic influences—the subject matter for poems—and often all you need is the right audience and effective prompts to help you generate and shape your work. You are invited to bring to class one or two poems you have already written for workshopping and appreciation; we will also do some in-class writing. We will focus on building on your strengths and expanding your poetic technique.

TEACHER BIOS:

Lynn Levin

Lynn Levin

Lynn Levin teaches creative writing at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of six books, among them, Miss Plastique, a Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist in poetry; and, as co-author, Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets, a Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist in education/academic books. Her website is www.lynnlevinpoet.com.

Rodger Lowenthal is a Cheltenham resident and has been a featured reader at many area venues (and in NYC). He has also judged several poetry contests. He has studied with Stephen Dunn, Carl Dennis and William Heyen. His twice-yearly house concerts, which feature poets as well musicians, have gained a broad following.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Sunday March 6
TIME: 3:15pm to 5:15pm
TOPIC: Turning Memories Into Memoir
INSTRUCTOR: Jerry Waxler

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
Unlike fiction writers, who invent the elements of a story, memoir writers must limit themselves to the events of their lives. In this workshop, we’ll show how to collect those memories and use them as the raw material for a well-structured story.

Topics you’ll learn:

  • How “beginning, middle, and end” gives structure to memory;
  • How to generate dramatic tension from the psychology of your main character;
  • How finding your character’s mission is the key to driving your story;
  • How to take advantage of first-person POV to go under the hood of your protagonist;
  • Identify which of the top 15 subgenres of memoir your story might fit;
  • Why chronology is a good place to start, and some successful alternative structures.

TEACHER BIO:

Jerry Waxler

Jerry Waxler

Jerry Waxler M.S. writes and teaches about life as seen through the lens of story. His book Memoir Revolution, about the social trend to read and write memoirs, is based on the hundreds of memoirs he analyzes in his blog. His own memoir Thinking My Way to the End of the World will be released in early 2016.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Monday, March 7th
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC: How to Get Published
INSTRUCTOR: Lynn Rosen

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
Sure, we write for ourselves, but we also want readers, and the best way to reach readers is by getting published. But how?

In this class, book publishing industry veteran Lynn Rosen will explain the route to publication. We’ll start by looking at the “publishing chain,” through which a manuscript becomes a published book. We’ll review the process in the traditional and the self-publishing model. The second part of the class will explain the process: how to find and approach agents and publishers; how to write a successful query letter and book proposal; how to create a marketing platform. Note that while we’ll touch on submitting to magazines, the focus of the class is on publishing a book.

TEACHER BIO:

Lynn Rosen

Lynn Rosen

Lynn Rosen has many years of experience as an editor at publishing houses including Ballantine Books and Running Press. For eight years she ran the Leap First Literary Agency. Currently she is director of the Open Book program of classes and author events and co-owner of Open Book Bookstore in Elkins Park, PA. She was previously Editorial Director of Book Business magazine, and Director of Graduate Publishing Programs at Rosemont College. She is the author of Elements of the Table: A Simple Guide for Hosts and Guests.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Sunday, April 10th
TIME: 3:15pm to 5:15pm
TOPIC: Shaping Your Story: Building Plots that Satisfy
INSTRUCTOR: Janet Benton

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
To create a story, you start with what makes you care about this story. What is it that you most want to show? This class will show you how to determine the core of your story and use that information to build a narrative arc that reflects the work’s purpose in the lives of your characters.

TEACHER BIO:

Janet Benton

Janet Benton

Janet Benton is a writer, editor, and writers’ mentor with three decades of experience. Her published work includes a New York Times Modern Love column (2013), and she has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes (2013 and 2014). She has edited or co-written documentaries on Philadelphia history for History Making Productions, one of which was awarded a 2013 Mid-Atlantic Emmy. Her historical novel Lilli de Jong will be published in Fall 2016 by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Monday April 18th
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC: Writing Poems About the Body
INSTRUCTOR: Deborah Fries

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
It’s the external packaging of the soul: alternately sweet, foul, young, old, whole, damaged.  In this 2-hour class, we’ll read the work of contemporary poets and learn effective ways to write about physical experience.  We’ll develop our own powerful images as we explore how figurative language can strengthen poems and focus healing.

deborah friesTEACHER BIO:
Deborah Fries is a poet and essayist whose latest book of poetry, The Bright Field of Everything, explores issues of the body and soul. She is a regular contributor to www.makingsenseofalzheimers.org  and a 2015 winner of prizes for medical poems from The Philadelphia College of Physicians and Narrative Matters.

Sign up HERE.

Author: Lynn Rosen

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