Instructor: Rhonda Wiley-Jones
Maximum Enrollment: 10
Class Term: 03/16/2021 - 05/11/2021
SCN Member: $160.00
Class synopsisWhether writing a memoir or an essay, the trick is to discover the emotional depth behind the events of the story. It's in the revision process that we usually must dig for the emotional content that makes the story or essay compelling.
I encourage travel stories and essays in this class, but that is not the only focus. A draft typically addresses the events of the story and the major talking points of an essay. We will meet every two weeks to give you time to write, review and comment on others' writing. We will use each revision to scratch around, dig, and unearth the emotional content that lurks behind the events. You will write a draft (or bring a draft already written) and we will work on it, like peeling an onion. My classes always fixate on revision, sharing our work in a constructive feedback manner, and polishing the work to make the final piece publication-ready.
Focus on storytelling (not I went here, here, and here), what happened in one specific event.
Emphasize place as a character.
Enhance your ability to write description using all five senses.
Learn how to analyze your writing structure and style, to revise your own work.
Give feedback to others that help them improve their work.
Utilize others’ feedback to revise your own work.
Polish a travel writing story for publication, if you want to do that.
Class communication method• Read https://maydaymagazine.com/from-lost-to-loved-in-bihar-by-amy-gigi-alexander/ and discuss during the first class-time to get a sense of contemporary travel writing • Draft a travel story to share with the class • Review and give feedback to at least two other members twice; and therefore, receive feedback from others twice • Participants will discuss what is working for them and what they want to work toward • Participants will encourage each other and cheer each other on • Participants will share what they are reading and learning from the suggested resource, Tell It Slant, 3rd edition, by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola, 2019
1st class (Tuesday March 16, 5:00-6:00 p.m. CDST)
The instructor will give an overview of travel writing in broad strokes. The class will discuss the pre-assignment of Alexander’s piece to identify what is so powerful about it. Discuss assignments and the flow of the class. ASSIGNMENT: Draft your travel story of 1000-2500 words. After completing it, analyze your sentence structure and style with guidance from the instructor. Consider who is your REAL audience.
2nd Class (Tuesday, March 30, 5-6:00 p.m. CDST)
Discuss what worked and didn’t in writing and analyzing your story. Instructor to introduce place as a character, as in Alexander’s work; description; and dialogue for the use of your story. These elements will address how to “show, don’t tell,” with handouts. Discuss how to review and comment on a writer’s work. ASSIGNMENT: Share your work with others in the class for their review via email in a Word document. Review the work of others assigned to you using Track Changes and Comments from the Review tab in Word, and return them before the next class. The instructor will review all writers’ work each time, as well.
3rd Class (Tuesday, April 13, 5-6:00 p.m. CDST)
Discuss the process of reviewing each other’s work. Discuss the kind of feedback you received and how helpful it was. Instructor to introduce how to revise your work based on feedback and now with an added layer of self-editing. Discuss assignment and level of review, which is different this time. ASSIGNMENT: Write, revise, work toward an ending that is satisfying. Share with other group members for their review and feedback. Return them before the next class.
4th Class (Tuesday, April 27, 5-6:00 p.m. CDST)
Discuss what they are learning from the class so far and what you need to complete your writing. Is it accomplishing what you set out to do? Discuss what the second round of feedback felt like compared to the first type of feedback. Review the elements of travel writing to determine how they are different from a personal essay. Review self-editing elements of the craft of writing. ASSIGNMENT: Polish your travel story, choose 2-4 paragraphs that you are particularly proud of to read for the next class time.
5th Class (Tuesday, May 11, 5-6:00 p.m. CDST)
Each person will read their selection from their story. Participants will offer positive feedback of what they found commendable. If class members are interested, the instructor will introduce publication outlets and other resources. We will celebrate what you learned.
Class time commitment3-4 hours per week. Weeks March 15 – May 10, to meet every other week for an hour; totaling 5 class times on Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. Central Daylight Standard Time (CDST) to give you more writing and reviewing time in between classes.
Class brief resume
WHAT PREVIOUS STUDENTS HAVE SAID:
Frances: The pre-and post-session guides and references were helpful. Your guidance and expertise rounded out the class for me.
Mary W: I liked having the class every two weeks. I appreciated the specific feedback you gave me.
Carla: I have found the writing process steps you have given us extremely helpful and the three-step method of commenting on our writing, liberating.
Mary L: I especially valued that we four, plus you, got to read and provide input for each other’s stories twice as they evolved. The handout as it evolved throughout the class is a very nice reference as I work on future stories.
Rhonda Wiley-Jones has taught journal writing, travel writing, and craft of writing workshops for community members, students, and university faculty and staff since the early 1990s. She self-published her coming-of-age, travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away. Her writing has appeared in multiple anthologies, including SCN’s Inside and Out: Women’s Truths, Women’s Stories: Essays from the Story Circle Network. Most recently she won 2nd place with the first 2020 words of her unpublished historical fiction in the Saturday Writers 2020 February monthly contest, which will be published in their SW 2020 anthology. She serves as a travel columnist for two local Texas Hill Country lifestyle magazines.