Posted in outschool, Uncategorized

Write like the Dickens!

New Outschool Class

Yep, it wouldn’t be Christmas
without “A Christmas Carol”!

*$12 per learner, 55 min.
*2-9 students
*Live Zoom
*Begins 5/18/2020

When I was a kid, I wanted to write like Dickens or Samuel Johnson–someone who makes the reader sit up and pay attention. To be honest, I equated sentence length with writing skill, so I wanted to write longer and longer sentences that would AMAZE my readers. (It never happened.)

Over the years, and as I’ve taken creative writing classes, I’ve learned to appreciate short, punchy writing and Hemingway. I’ve worked to trim down my prose, and I think I’ve made headway.

I’m still glad, though, that I can add clauses on clauses, phrases to phrases. It’s fun. It adds to my repertoire. And re-reading Great Expectations lately, I was newly struck by Dickens, such a consummate craftsman with complete control over sentence parts.

How can I get that? How can the students I tutor get that? Many want writing practice. They want to sound good on paper, of course.

With that in mind, I designed a new class for Outschool called “Write like the Dickens.” This class will meet one time and carefully, consciously imitate Dickens together. We will break down his craft, defining terms like parallelism (unrelated to geometry), and balanced sentence, and use his sentences as templates to create our own masterpieces. We will work together at first, starting small, and then independently as we gain confidence.

I will guide students in composing long, complex sentences that will stretch their writing skills and help them appreciate the building blocks of memorable writing. We will share our results and analyze how we can incorporate a bit of Dickens into our own writing.

This is part of a 3-part series of one-time classes called “Write like [Author”s Name].” The series includes Dickens, Woolf, and Hemingway.The three authors can be taken in any order or singly. When all three are complete, the learner will have worked with three diverse styles that run the gamut from complex/ornate to consciously minimal (Dickens/ornate, Woolf/moderate, Hemingway/minimal).

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