Monday, June 27, 2011

Gotham Writers' One Day Intensive Workshop: Character Development

Back in March, I took a one day Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Character Development, with screenwriter Michael Eldridge. I loved it and it continues to continues to influence my writing. 

Admittedly, I took the class on a bit of a whim. (The incentive was a Groupon Coupon, which made the course quite inexpensive.) I’ve heard Gotham Writers’ Workshops described, by folks who haven’t attended their courses, as “commercial” and “not for the serious writer.” However, after seeing their listings in yellow boxes all over New York City, I’d always been curious about them.

And I’m glad I was. The instructor was energetic, honest, and organized. Our small group was literally together all day, which is a challenge for any instructor. Everyone stayed focused, asked questions and participated. We dedicated some time to writing during the class. Not everything I wrote will become a final piece, but I definitely generated some useful first drafts for longer pieces.

As a poet, this was my first course taught by a screenwriter. I always tell my students to take chances with their writing; this course was a great way to consider the characters in my (often) narrative poetry and my creative nonfiction essays. I tend to shy away from reading plays or scripts and it makes sense to vary my reading more.

We were given an information packet which the instructor swiftly and knowledgeably worked through. There is clearly a syllabus and system provided by Gotham, but Michael offered his own spin and personal experiences. The small group of students had a variety of writing experience, but the instructor kept us all on the same page with clear explanation and focused feedback on our work.

Have you taken a writing class with Gotham Writers’? How did you like it?


Bill Kimzey said...

I've taken several GWW classes on poetry, memoir, fiction. I find the instructors all of very high quality. One of the best values for the money I've seen. The face-to-face classes are more useful than the online classes. rgds, Bill

Chloe Yelena Miller said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Bill. What would make the online courses better?