Lit Lesson #25: On Notes of a Native Son

Essay? Commentary? Creative Non-fiction? Short Story? What is this piece of writing by James Baldwin, and how do we, as creative writers, approach it intelligently and thus learn from it? To get the most from this discussion, I suggest you read first (click here) and give some thought to how Notes of a Native Son hits you. This initial reaction is crucial and deeply personal. Making a few notes about that reaction also allows you to be fully authentic in your experience, which frankly, is the...

Lit Lesson #24: Without A Map by Meredith Hall

(From Flight School: 11/27/22) This week, we’re going to look at Without a Map by Meredith Hall, a book thirty-six writers and I studied at the Studio for three weeks this fall. The goal of this post is to share our process and conclusions. To be clear, I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t read this book. I’m not endorsing it, nor am I shooing you away from it. Instead, this is a journey of exploration…a way to think about a book you are reading that moves beyond judgments of good or bad,...

Lit Lesson #22: The Writing Workshop: Promise, Perils and Process

” Art cannot be made by committee. Any such use of a workshop will be counterproductive. Thus the student who is “up” should not be looking for solutions from the other students or from the teacher. The student should be looking for problems in the text that he or she had not been aware of.” ~ Frank Conroy, The Writers Workshop By Jennifer Lauck with commentary from staff When I was new to creative writing and attended my first formal “workshop,” I was at Portland State...

Lit Lessons #21: I’ll Never Write About My Life

“To be a whole writer, a truly creative writer, we access the life we understand through lived experience and use it to feed what we write, from fiction to memoir to lyric to poetry to screenplays. If you understand your own life, you can better understand the lives of the characters you hope to write about.” – Jennifer Lauck I’ll Never Write About My Life And why I’m writing now what I swore I never would By Carolyn Biemer – Studio III When I began to study creative writing at The...

FAQ Foundations: Why Take Bones & Scene vs. Exp.

FAQ Bones The Foundations program at the Studio enables new writers to learn the culture, the shared language, and the overall philosophy of Blackbird. We are here to help good writers become great and the Foundations sets you up for success with ten weeks of study in Bones and five in Scene vs. Exposition. A few common questions: How much work will be expected of me in this class? If I’m a beginner, will it be over my head? If I’m advanced, will it be below me? Watch this video...