Course Descriptions

Winter Workshops 2014

Creative Non-Fiction
Mondays, 6:30-8:45pm
February 17th – March 31st
6 Sessions
Instructor: Jim McVey
From memoir to magazine article, creative nonfiction is evolving in new and exciting directions. In this workshop, we will explore the rich terrain of creative non-fiction, including memoir, literary journalism, nature writing, biography and history. Jim will help students transform their expertise, experience and observations into compelling stories. Every attempt will be made to customize the workshop, including exercises, reading assignments and writing “prompts” tailored to each participant’s project. Writers also will have the opportunity to submit original work and receive thoughtful feedback from the instructor and their peers. In addition to hands-on editorial advice, Studio instructors will draw on their professional experience to coach participating writers on both the publishing and writing processes.
Advanced Screenwriting
Tuesdays (and select Sundays), 6:30-8:45pm
January 28th – April 1st
10 Sessions
Instructor: Robert Gatewood
Accomplished novelist, instructor, screenwriter, and studio director, Robert Gatewood directs this workshop intended for screenwriters with experience in the screenplay form. Under Robert’s lauded professional mentorship, students will be driven by a simple but profound goal: to produce as many draft pages of a full-length screenplay as possible [85–120 pages, approx.], with each writer taking their art & craft to a new level. Weekly workshops will include a rotation of conversations about The Elements of Screenwriting, mini-peer work-shops, screenings, cold readings, live exercises, in-studio writing time, and ongoing individual mentoring with Robert. We will also build into the existing schedule a pair of “Lockdown Sunday” sessions — 3-hour blocks during which we will convene to make new pages and screen select pertinent films. A fundamental understanding of the screenplay form and format are prerequisite to the workshop.
Fiction 101: The Axe in the Ice
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:45 pm
February 5th – March 26th (off 2/19)
6 Sessions
Instructor: Robert Gatewood

Have you ever wanted to write your own vibrant short story with provocative characters and rousing plots? Are you waiting for a chance to undertake the novel you’ve been thinking about, but haven’t been sure where to start? If you’re interested in finding out how creative writing works or are simply looking for a way to flex your imaginative muscles, let Studio Director and award-winning author Robert Gatewood guide you on your adventure. Under Robert’s accomplished direction, you will be exposed to a wide variety of writing techniques and become acquainted with the kind of work that’s being published today. This workshop will also help you identify the compelling elements of creative writing and encourage you to produce original pages. This 6-session workshop will provide plenty of opportunities to receive feedback from both Robert and your fellow writers. So whether you’ve written a hundred pages or none at all, anyone curious about creative writing is encouraged to join us!

“Great Films” Series: 20th Century American
Thursdays, 6:30 – 9:00pm
February 13th – March 20th
6 Sessions
Facilitator: Jim McVey
The Studio is excited to introduce our new “Great Films” series, showcasing some of the greatest movies ever made.  This six-week session will feature monumental 20th century American films such as Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, and Apocalypse Now. These films will be screened in the relaxed setting of our new location on Pearl Street.  We’ll supply the popcorn, you bring your own refreshments.  Prior to each screening, Jim will give a brief introduction to the film, discussing its historical significance as well as the distinguishing characteristics of its filmic and narrative innovations.  An open discussion will follow each viewing.  This class is designed to be a film appreciation class, but we’ll also have the opportunity to study the films in some depth through a shared exploration of cinematic technique, narrative, film history and theory.
The Films:
Citizen Kane (1941)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Down By Law (1986)
Slacker (1991)
“Great Novels” Series: 20th Century American
Fridays, 6:30 – 8:45pm
February 21st – March 28th
6 sessions
Facilitator: Jim McVey
Have you always wanted to read and study some of the greatest novels ever written, but never seemed to find the right opportunity to do so?  Or maybe you’re just interested in being a part of a small group of readers who come together to discuss great books for the pure joy of it.  Join us for the first installment of The Studio’s new “Great Novels” series – an engaging 6-session reader/writer’s group led by longtime CU professor and acclaimed author Jim McVey.  The group will meet each week, and each session will be devoted to a great American novel written in the twentieth-century.  Along the way, we’ll venture into such fields as psychology and history in the literary contexts of existentialism, naturalism, modernism and post-modernism.With twenty-five years of teaching experience at the University level, Jim will guide the group through a close reading of some of the very best American novels ever written.  In this relaxed setting, the class will be conducted like a reader’s group with the added benefit of Jim’s stimulating expertise. 
The Novels:
As I Lay Dying
Their Eyes Were Watching God
The Great Gatsby
A River Runs Through It
Poetry Writing
Dates & Times TBA
6 Sessions
Instructor: Alicia Gomez
Poetry is best taught by learning different poetic styles and approaches. We guide student poets in exploring new poetic thoughts and value systems. We will look at both historical and contemporary works — including William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, Julie Carr, Andrea Rexilius, Lyn Hejinian, Andrew Joron, Eleni Sikelianos, the Romantics, Allen Ginsberg, Marianne Moore, and Lisa Robertson. Writing exercises will allow participants to explore each poetic approach in their own style and voice. There will also be strong emphasis on individual work, including peer-assisted and instructor-supported improvement. The main object is to understand and hone one’s own poetic voice and style through the exploration of craft and poetic thought.
The Year of the Novel
Beginning April, 2014
*interested writers should contact:
25 Sessions
Instructor: Robert Gatewood
As famed novelist and creative writing instructor John Gardner puts it, “One must be just a little bit crazy to write a great novel.” So too one must be to take part in this unprecedented year-long novel writing workshop. If you’re still reading, here are the benefits: consistent in-depth instruction, mentorship and peer review; illustrative readings & analysis; camaraderie and commiseration; intense sense of purpose; ongoing support and tangible proof of forward momentum; the potential for a euphoric sense of accomplishment come September 2013. Writing a book takes guts. Finishing one takes grit. Interested parties should contact instructor Robert Gatewood prior to taking the plunge.

One-Day Workshops – Dates & Times TBA

The Big Picture: Organization & Plotting
Instructor: Rachel Weaver
When working on a novel or memoir, it is easy to get lost in the details.  Whether you are in the early drafting stages or almost done, it is important to take a step back and examine the book as a whole.  In this class, we will review the choices you have made (or are planning to make) and make sure they are working.  We will discuss themes, point of view choices, and plot structures (how to build them, how to make sure they are sturdy).
Tension & Conflict: How to keep your reader hooked
Instructor: Rachel Weaver

High tension is probably the number one reason readers keep reading.  If you can keep your reader on the edge of his or her seat by creating and maintaining tension throughout scene after scene, that reader will stay up way too late reading your book and tell all his friends to go out and buy it. In this class, we’ll delve into the interplay of all the elements that raise tension and create conflict and explore how to craft your story to capitalize on each within scenes as well as across your entire plot line.
Say What? A Class on Dialogue
Instructor: Rachel Weaver
Dialogue is to stories what your spice rack is to your pot roast.  Through dialogue you can do a lot to make your story much more interesting.  It is a place to ramp up the tension, a place to change directions, to surprise the reader, to speed up the story.  It’s easy to fall into bland dialogue (this is often the malady of almost every first draft) and it’s also easy to go back through and really spice it up. In this class, we’ll look at all the different ways to do this.