1. Powie

    Powie New Member

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    Writing courses, ancient style or contemporary...?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Powie, Jun 12, 2018.

    I am looking for maybe late this year to do a writing course in novels and screenplay. There is an Irish college teaching the style based on Aristotle, the basics, plot, character, theme... and there are contemporary ones like UK writers college and there are courses in Coursera and Udemy and of course universities, the most inspiring being Regent University.

    To relearn writing, which is best? Aristotle, UK writers or coursera.. or both?
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    The ancient style thing sounds like it could be interesting if this were already a special interest of yours, but otherwise I don't see the point.
     
  3. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

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    Or, watch the free ones on youtube :supercheeky:
     
  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Do you know what genre you want to write? Do you know what you hope to learn from the course?
     
  5. Powie

    Powie New Member

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    To write dialogue, of course characters, a lot of imagery, depiction of powerful machinating entities, attempting to change the plot to change the characters. To depict love in action, challenge, change, intense love. To learn prose again, and narrative... To write at length with flow and connection, maybe Vonnegut's disconnected style.

    To brainstorm, research, and get into typing and editing. To learn to write for excellent special effects software. To write from a novel to make a screenplay.

    I like fantasy, with beauty and profundity, and horror, climaxes and at that cliff hangers.

    I also want to perhaps start with a story at very short novel length.

    I like aspects of Koyanisquatsi, Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders, Star Wars, Amazing Grace, 2001 A Space Oddity. A Nightmare on Elm St, Potter's Bluff and want to read The Shack. I like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
     
  6. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I don't feel tardy.... Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Not sure what Aristotle would have to say about screenplays, so I'd go modern. Assuming you can't do both, which might be fun.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2021
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  7. Powie

    Powie New Member

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    On Coursera there are lessons from award winning writer Brando Skyhorse. He wrote two good novels, one being The Madonnas of Echo Park. Then there is Jerry Jenkins who wrote novels selling 60,000,000 copies. He trains online. And there is Lisa Cron who teaches via LinkedIn Courses and has written a book for writing students. Are any of these teachers critiqued by anyone here?
     
  8. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    You threw me with the whole 'Ancient' thing, but when you said Aristotle, I see you mean the three-act structure, which of course is every bit as relevant today as it ever was. I believe every writer should know it, it's the basis of story structure. Unless somebody is a natural genius or is able to absorb story structure just from reading a lot, it needs to be learned. It doesn't take long, it isn't really complicated, and you're going to be either using it, trying to bend, twist or modify it, or deliberately trying to subvert it with everything you write. So it makes sense to learn it—how else can you effectively do any of those things?

    However, all that said, it's also probably embedded in any other writing course you take, assuming it's about story structure or includes it.
     
  9. Powie

    Powie New Member

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    OK, thanks, I see it changed and somehow still shows in a google search, but yes you are right.
     
  10. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

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    Aristotle's principles aren’t ancient, they’re original. Everything you read today is rooted in those same principles. Any class you take will owe it’s foundations to Aristotle’s Poetics. Granted, he didn’t create those principles, he identified and defined them, and they exist in every form of literature. Studying Poetics couldn’t hurt, it’s the pinnacle of studying the masters, but it’s kinda dry.
     
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  11. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Yeah, reading Aristotle in translation apparently is pretty difficult, but today there are countless more modern books on the three-act structure, all based on the principles he discovered (as you said). Plus you can just do a web search for three act structure and find all kinds of websites that explain it. I spent a good deal of time reading through several of those, Each one takes a different approach (personally I like the one that talks about three-act structure being like a shark, with a bite (the hook at the beginning and the inciting incident—act 1), a body (middle of the story—the second act), and a tail (conclusion—act 3).

    I recommend studying several websites to get a good fully rounded understanding, each one will fill in some information you might have missed or not clearly understood previously.
     
  12. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

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    I’d also recommend studying poetry and rhetoric. There’s nothing better than poetry for learning rhythm and meter. In prose words don’t just have to fit together, they have to flow.

    What a lot of people don’t understand about rhetoric is it’s not just how to say things. Rhetoric is literally the art of a convincing argument. Without strong rhetoric skills you’ll have a tougher time creating that fabled suspension of disbelief for the reader.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2021
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  13. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    And interestingly, the world's greatest teacher of rhetoric (at least in the early days) was Aristotle. A few Romans superseded him later, but he laid out the groundwork just as he did for story structure and so many other things. In fact the categorization scheme he came up with for living things is still in use today with a few changes. I don't remember the overall name of the system, but it includes Genus, Family, Phylum, Species etc.
     
  14. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

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    I think it’s called This, That, and The Other Thing.
     
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  15. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Lol, either that or Taxonomy.
     

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