Archive for the ‘Writing and Reading’ Category

Make Some Valentines and Build Character With Me This Winter!

December 2nd, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Appearances, Writing and Reading

There’s a new series for writers who are serious about their craft here in Atlanta, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve joined up with them. Storybuilding is “a creative writing class series that brings together artistic practice and literary culture to cultivate a mindful writing community in Atlanta,” and they have got great things in store for 2015 and beyond.

I’ll be teaching two different classes at the start of the year: a one-day, three-hour session, and another which spans over seven weeks. Below are the details and how to sign up.  BETTER YET?? There are gift certificates available in any denomination, so someone else can give you the gift of an excellent writing class. Email to inquire.

Modern Love: A Fresh Take on Valentine’s for Adults

DAY: Saturday, January 31st
DATE: 1/31
LOCATION: Little Shop of Stories, 133 A East Court Square, Decatur GA
COST:  $60  (supplies included)

You may have foresworn the ’ole Valentine swap by third grade, but elementary school this is not. I’ll be reintroducing the love letter in this thoroughly modern lit-craft session that puts the focus back on creative-minded play for adults. There will be time to reflect on the people you love and the people who love you. There will be time to free-write and think and draw with other creative grown-ups. There will be collaging and wine and really good conversation. Whether you’re channeling Pablo Neruda or ee cummings, this adults-only workshop places crafting acrostics and love poetry alongside the art of handmaking cards that pay homage to St. Valentinius.

Details: Must be 21 years or older. Registration is limited to an intimate group of 15. Students will complete up to five handcrafted Valentines. All supplies provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring small items like ribbon, cards, papers, or fabric to personalize their Valentines. Wine and cider will be served.



Storybuilding Class No. 4:

Constructing Characters: Blueprints, Scaffolding, and Execution

When:  Wednesdays, January 21—March 3, 7-9 PM
Where:  Charis Books & More
1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta GA
Cost:  $350

How do writers create characters that readers remember? Do characters drive plot, or does plot drive character? What does it look like when a character has a voice on the page? How does a writer individuate a character’s speech pattern? Why do some characters seem believable and others do not? What does it mean when a character is flat? Or round?

Narratives are containers filled with characters who have faces, scars, essential peculiarities, and moralities that distinguish their personhood from every other character on the page. These traits derive from the environment, culture, experience and world that the author creates for the character to inhabit. Characters are the life-force of narrative, and their actions form the story’s backbone. Readers come back to stories again and again for their characters. This class will help students build their characters from the ground up. Ultimately, characters need do the heavy lifting in storytelling, and they need to be alive on the page and in the mind of the reader if they are going to move that heft. The responsibility to stamp indelible life forces onto the story falls to the author who breathes life into them. The workshop leads students to develop their own style as well as an appreciation for published authors. Through exercises, reading analysis, and writing assignments, this class will help students explore techniques that you can apply to fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting.




Returned Home from Yale Writers Workshop!

June 25th, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Appearances, Writing and Reading

I spent the last few days leading a Children’s and Young Adult writing workshop at the Yale Writers Workshop, and now that I’m home and have my bearings, I can clearly say it was fantastic. As always with those kinds of things, I left inspired and excited, and learned as much about my own writing as I hope my students did about theirs. Workshopping is such an important element of the writing process, and I didn’t realize how much I had missed it, not to mention how wonderful it felt being back in the classroom. (Teaching writing is about my favorite.)

Here are a couple of shots I took while I was away, though admittedly I was so into what I was doing I didn’t take many. Thanks very much to the conference coordinators, to each of my students, and to the other writers and faculty I got to meet. It was a terrific week!


Thinking About Process

June 4th, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Writing and Reading

I’m between books again. In Deep is coming out in July, so we’re not quite ready to celebrate, and I just finished up the revisions on my middle grade for 2015, Drive Me Crazy. It’s time to start facing the new projects that have been brewing in my head (and on scraps of paper, in incomplete Word files) and synthesize them into something else. Perhaps in another blog post soon I will share with you all what this looks/feels like, but today I simply want to hold up these two books, because they’re what I’m reading and thinking about a lot now:








That is all.