Thursday, January 12, 2012

Upcoming Online Workshop - A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter

Are you a writer wanting to improve your craft?  Would you love to learn some of JK Rowling's techniques which helped make Harry Potter the phenomenon it became?  Put your cold days of February to good use and join me for my month-long online workshop, A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter.

Cost is $10 for the whole month.  This will include all the lessons plus class discussions and feedback for any questions you have as to how the material relates to your own work.  You can sign-up via PayPal below, and once you do, you will be subscribed to the class Yahoo Group.  The workshop begins Monday, February 6 and runs through Sunday, March 4.

Beware -- the lessons are intense and include a lot of reading.  While beginning writers will learn a lot, the workshop is not geared to be an introduction to writing but rather an immersion into what we as writers can learn by studying JK Rowling's work.

The normal lesson plans are listed below, but the course is flexible to the needs of the students, so will include new topics as brought forward by those who participate.

Workshop Summary:
Though many an envious writer would like to think JK Rowling’s secret to success is just a bunch of magical mayhem, we Muggle writers can learn from the skills which have made her Harry Potter series more than beloved, but truly an absolute obsession among millions.

Using Ms Rowling’s phenomenally popular series as a base, we will delve below the surface of her prose to determine what made her writing so magical for so many. Learn about giving the reader more, the value of subtext, using mythic themes and structure to advantage, plotting a trail-of-clues mystery, and the business of self promotion.

Please note that while familiarity with the series is helpful, it is not required. Also, this is not a workshop about writing fantasy (magic), but rather about how to learn techniques from a bestseller in order to improve your own writing and style. While fantasy will be included, the workshop is by no means geared exclusively to that genre.

Lesson Plan:
Introduction: No Polyjuiced Pretenders Here
(On Learning Techniques, not Cloning a Duplicate)

Lesson One: Characters with More Emotional Range than a Teaspoon

Lesson Two: Quidditch, A Prisoner of Azkaban, and Thestrals to MoM
(Voice and Reader Fulfillment)

Lesson Three: Return to the Dursleys
(Establishing and Breaking Story Patterns)

Lesson Four: Shrieking Shacks, Whomping Willows, and Moaning Myrtles -- or the Dark Lord's in the Detail
(World Building)

Lesson Five: Revealing Wormtail
(Dropping Clues, Hiding Secrets)

Lesson Six: Put a Fidelius Charm on Your Godric's Hollow

Lesson Seven: Myth Connections
(Mythic Structures, Archetypes, and Themes)

Lesson Eight: His Royal Snivellus -- the Ambiguity of Snape
(Themes and Borders)

Lesson Nine: Of Grindelwald and Hitler
(Real World Relevance)

Lesson Ten: Keep it FUN
(Engaging the Reader)!

Lesson Eleven: Draco Loves Hermione! At least in fan fiction.
(Fan Involvement)

Lesson Twelve: Make a Magical Impression in the Muggle World
(A Few Tips on Building a Public Presence)

Bonus Lesson: Flying High Above the Quidditch Pitch
(High Concept and Pitching Your Manuscript)

You can find out more about me by reading my bio pagepast publications, and past workshops.

Sign up here:

A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter month-long online workshop

WHEN: Monday, February 6, 2012 - Sunday, March 4, 2012



As this is my first time teaching this class directly through my own blog rather than a writers group or conference, I am keeping the registration cost lower than normal.

Also, most of the prepared lessons are the same as what is included in the Kindle version, A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter.  Where the workshop differs is in the personal feedback through the month-long course and the additional materials as presented due to the needs and questions of the participants.

Have questions? E-mail me at SPSipal AT gmail DOT com.