The full Story Makers class is not running in 2021.
Instead, we are offering a one day Story Makers Boot Camp workshop on writing basics.
The full twelve-month Story Makers class will return in 2022.
If you would like to be put on the waitlist for either the boot camp or the 2022 class,
Also consider our Story Makers book club (details below), a writing-focused challenge
book club, which meets once a month on the third Tuesday and is free to everybody.
Thank you all for your interest and support.
Kickstart your creativity with our Story Makers book club, a challenge book club of twenty categories. Each category focuses on aspects of writing to encourage reading like a writer. Discussion at the meetings will focus on creative and critical thinking about the books participants have read for the challenge. The group will look at why and how books are effective, or how they are not.
Story Makers book club is an offshoot of our Story Makers class. The book club is free for everyone and is not mandatory for Story Makers students. Story Makers book club does not include instruction, only thoughtful discussion with other writers and book lovers.
Story Makers Challenge 2021
1. Nonfiction book on writing
2. Book by a debut author
3. Book by an author who has published at least 20 books
4. Book with a setting that is a character
5. Nonfiction book for research for a WIP
6. Re-read a book critically
7. Book by an independent author
8. Traditionally published book
9. Book that is a window
10. Book that is a mirror
11. Book by a diverse author in the genre you write
12. Book in the sub-genre in which you write
13. Book that is a cornerstone of the genre you write
14. Book that follows a trope that you want to use
15. Book recommended to you in a book club
16. Book you would use a comp to your story
17. Book that won an award
18. Book written in the tense and POV that you write
19. Book that is a retelling of some sort
20. Book that has been adapted into another type of media
- General Questions:
Why did you choose this book?
Is this book independently or traditionally published, and how does that affect it?
Did you learn anything you could apply to your work?
What can you tell about the author from this work?
- What is the best advice in the book?
What is the worst advice in the book?
Does the author write anything other than nonfiction books – if so, what kind?
- Can you tell this is a debut author?
Does the author make mistakes you want to avoid?
What does the author do that is different from other books you have read?
- Have you read any of the author’s other books?
Is this book from earlier or later in the author’s career and is there anything that gives that away?
How does the book compare to challenge 2?
- How does the author describe the setting so that it is also a character?
What effect does the setting as a character have on the rest of the cast?
How is this book different from one where the setting is not a character?
- Do you have preconceived notions of what you think you will learn from this book?
How much of what you learned will you utilize in your writing?
Will you utilize the information verbatim or are you altering it to fit your story?
- How did you feel about the book the first time you read it and does that inform how you read it now?
How long has it been since you read it?
Do you struggle to read critically?
- Have you heard of this author before?
Are there any aspects of the book that would make you think it’s independently published?
Are there any aspects of the book that are poorly designed?
- What do you know about the publisher?
Are there any aspects of the book that would make you think it’s traditionally published?
What makes this book different from challenge 7?
- How big or small of a window is this book?
Have you read anything through this window before?
Do you prefer reading windows or mirrors and does that reflect in your writing?
- What makes this book a mirror?
How close of a mirror is it?
How is the experience of reading a mirror different than what you read regularly?
- Is the author’s diversity reflected in the book?
What, if anything, goes against the genre norms in this book?
Does the treatment of diversity in the book cause you to rethink your own writing?
- What are the hallmarks of this sub-genre and can you pinpoint them in the book?
Does the author ignore or challenge any of the subgenres rules and, if so, does it work?
Can you tell how rigid the rules of the sub-genre are by reading this book?
- How old is the book and does the writing reflect the age?
What aspects of the book have carried on to the genre as it exists today?
Would you consider the book to be an inspiration, a historical artifact, both, or something else?
- What trope did you choose and why do you want to use it?
How does the author introduce the trope to the story and what makes it believable?
Does the author use any other tropes?
- Which book club provided the recommendation?
Did the person who recommended it take any dissimilarities in taste into account when they recommended it?
Why do you think that person liked the book and did it live up to the recommendation?
- What made you think this book could be a comp to your book?
How is the book similar or different to yours?
Do you compare yourself to the author, if so, do you find that helpful or a hindrance?
- Why did you choose this award?
Have you read anything else that has won this award?
Do you think the award is deserved?
- How does the tense or POV enhance or detract from the story?
How close of a perspective is it and how would it be different from a closer/farther away perspective?
Why do you like to write the tense and POV that you chose and do you like reading it as much?
- What is the original story behind the book?
How does the author twist the original story?
Does the retelling retain any views or facets of the past or is it wholly modern?
- Did you consume the book first or the adaptation?
What are the differences and which do you prefer?
Do you agree or disagree with any differences in the adaptation, and how many of them do you think were necessary?
Terms Used in the Challenge
WIP: work in progress
Independent Publishing: when an author publishes their work on their own, taking on the expense of editing, design, printing, and advertising; often referred to as self-publishing
Traditional Publishing: when an author is represented by a major publisher that takes on the expense of polishing and producing their books and often the majority of advertising costs
Window: a book that presents characters or ways of life that are outside of the reader's lived experiences
Mirror: a book that presents characters or ways of life that are comparable to the reader's lived experiences
Genre: category of book (e.g. mystery, romance, nonfiction, etc.)
Trope: any type of literary device, figure of speech, theme, character type, etc. found across many works (e.g. the evil stepmother is a fairy tale trope)
Comp: comparable work (e.g. Percy Jackson is a comp to Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice is a comp to Jane Eyre)
POV: Point of view (e.g. first person, third person close, third person omniscient, second person)