WRITE LIKE Chekhov a workshop with Tim West
A suggestion (from a Meisner-trained actor I admire but don’t know) to promote the course via my website struck me as eminently sensible. I was particularly keen to see theatre folk take an interest in Chekhov’s dramaturgy.
My course in PLAYMAKING (v. V-VIII) and monthly WRITE LIKE Series for 2021 are going quarterly in 2022.
PLAYMAKING I-IV and WRITE LIKE Hemingway, Dorothy Parker George Orwell, Mark Twain drew returning writers, always a good sign. Writers evidently responded to both approaches.
Breaking PLAYMAKING down into Dialog, Story, Stagecraft and Development made it possible for students to offer up their works-in-progress at any time, knowing that the discussion would be pertinent to their own work. Students used exercises learned in session to further scripts outside of the workshop.
And WRITE LIKE allows writers to model our work on very specific, widely-read and well-known canonical authors who evince an interest in their own process. Repeat students were attracted to connection of their own practices as a writer with a positive ‘best practices’ model from a familiar and successful professional practitioner.
So many writing courses are predicated on a prescriptive ‘rules-based’ approach. That is not my own practice, and as an artist and an educator, I deeply distrust it.
If ‘Rules’ work for you, fine, do that. They just never have, for me. If art were about ‘Rules,’ the practice of it wouldn’t so evidently privilege the Rule-Breaker tribe. And just about every list of ‘Rules’ notes that exceptions are not only permissible, but advisable, once we have internalized the Basics.
The Basics, however, are already internalized, latent in the writer. Writing advice that starts with “Rules’ for Basics are oriented toward absolute Beginners as practicing artists or creative writers. This is because beginners are the students who provided the major market for most teachers of writing. Any subject becomes increasingly more difficult to teach, as learners approach Proficiency. So, how do we get at that growth? How do we conduct a course so that writers of any skill levels are served?
The key is the connection to your OWN writer’s practice. There are LOTS of generalized ‘best practices’ for writers. The more canonical authors we’ve all been exposed to provide specific models in practice, for for analysis and deployment. So do your own favorite writers, who may not be generally own, but are still susceptible to your analysis.
So, as a teacher, I take the time most writers don’t have to conduct multiple deep dives into an admired individual writer’s practice. We’ll connect that with you, and your awareness of your own practice. Why do you want to WRITE LIKE this writer? What is it in the work that draws you? Let’s dive into that.
So — writer, playwright, thoughtful theatre artist — if you enjoy Chekhov’s writing, and think you might benefit from a closer look at his dramaturgy, this workshop will help you detect and develop useful techniques for your own writing practice.
3:00-4:45 Sunday NOV 14 Fall for Writers at San Diego Writers, Ink.