Introduction to The Exploratory Writing Workshop at New Horizons Academy
Introduction to The Exploratory Writing Workshop
My name is Bob but most know me as Percy Goodfellow. I'm your facilitator for The Exploratory Writing Workshop.
I developed this workshop after finding many students, who feel comfortable writing a short piece, often have difficulty with a larger writing work. The schedule allocates a week for each of the Lessons. The goal of The Exploratory Writing Workshop is to prepare the student to write a novel.
Background for the Development of The Exploratory Writing Workshop
One way I've worked on the issues I mentioned above is to write a vignette, (defined as a short essay or a short piece of literary writing, between one and three thousand words) and enter it in a contest to test drive the story and see how the characters work. Something else I do is write entries in a serial format using a common back story and characters. You would be amazed at how often a supporting character emerges to eclipse the character I originally thought was the central one.
After I have about six of these vignettes written, I write what I see as the basic thread of the tale, make a final decision on who the central character will be, and write what I call the Thread Outline. Then, I take this outline, add in the Dramatic Ingredients of the Story Telling Model, and write some bullets that synopsize the chapter/vignettes. This then gives me a good starting point. I have a story line, action elements (the three crisis), some good characters and the integration to make the novel come to life and lead to a coherent conclusion.
The Exploratory Writing Workshop will allow you to write six sketches of separate chapters of your story with the flexibility to go off on tangents and find out where the thread is actually leading. The same is true of your characters. It's an opportunity to let their personalities bubble up and for you to take a good look at who and what they represent in the context of the drama.
The vignettes for Lesson Two, Three, and Four will be roughly analogous to the first three chapters of your novel. The first will show your Central Character, CC paddling around in the story world. The second vignette shows the CC swept into a swift moving current. The third vignette shows the CC carried over the edge of their everyday routine into a life changing event. The last three vignettes come in the middle of each of the phases of the novel. Phase 1 is the first crisis, Phase Two is the second crisis and Phase Three is the third crisis or climax of the novel. These phases are beginning, rising action and climax of the novel The first three are sequential and the next three are spaced over the the phases of the novel. The first three vignettes are contiguous or touching. The last three are anchored in each of the three Phases. All the vignettes have common characters and the same story line.
The Exploratory Writing Workshop Lesson Plan
The Exploratory Writing Workshop is divided into two parts.
In Part One, Lessons 2-7 the schedule provides time to begin an assignment each Thursday morning. It contains lecture material in the form of objectives, a prompt for the week's vignette, and possible discussion topics. Each week the prompt will cover an important aspect of the exploratory process explained in more detail in each lecture. These are then submitted to The Exploratory Workshop Assignment Forum by midnight Thursday, WdC time (USA Eastern Time). Each student will receive a review from the instructor written over the following weekend.
In Part 2, is the Final Lesson where an outline is developed. In week eight, the outline is written to pull the six vignettes together into the thread of an integrated story. It is then expanded to include other useful aids the author deems appropriate for a thirty chapter novel.
Part One - Lessons two through seven include the following.
1. Lectures that amplify the Weekly Lesson
2. Prompt for writing the weekly vignette
3. Posting of the vignette in the workshop forum.
4. Additional practical exercise topics.
5. The student gets feedback from the instructor through the a review of their vignette.
Part Two - The last lesson includes the following.
1. Preparing an outline from lessons one through seven.
2. Fleshing out the basic outline as the student deems appropriate.
Lesson Posting/Due Dates run weekly and are explained in the Welcome Letter.
Orientation and Introduction to Workshop
Lesson 1 Practice and Warmup: Three Step Character Development Model & Favorite Author Chapter Template (FACT)
Lesson 2 Placid Waters... Central character in story world.
Lesson 3 Caught in Current... Fast moving events.
Lesson 4 Over the Falls... Life Changing Event.
Lesson 5 Crisis #1 (Internal) Our own worst enemy
Lesson 6 Crisis #2 (External - the intermediate)
Lesson 7 Crisis #3 (The final crisis The climax)
Lesson 8 The Comprehensive Outline
The link below will take you to our Weekly Assignment Overview Page. You'll find all of our assignment due dates there as well as the prompts for each week's vignette and the checklist questions for what is to be included in each one. We suggest you save this link as one of your favorites. You can go there anytime you are unsure about what you are supposed to be working on for any given lesson.
Workshop Goal and Objectives
The goal of The Exploratory Writing Workshop, as stated above, is to prepare the student to write a novel. It is up to each student to complete the following.
Read the workshop assignment information before beginning to write
Complete all assignments and submit as directed
Write a weekly vignette submission
Create a basic outline
Create a comprehensive outline
Participate in discussions in the Lounge Forum
Have a good time writing
Assignments will be given out each Thursday (You will find them on the classroom page under "Lessons") and will be due the following Thursday, by midnight WdC time. Sometimes I open a lesson early so you can read ahead.
If you need an extension, please request one. Extensions will usually be granted for late work.
Completion of the first seven assignments is required before proceeding on to the last one.
Create each vignette assignment as a static item and post as a bitem in the Assignment Forum by the due date.
Participate in classroom forum.
Show respect for others.
This is a pass/fail workshop. Failure to participate can result in being dropped. As long as you remain active you don't have to worry about getting "Booted."
Workshop Suggestions and Other Information
Creating a folder in your portfolio to hold vignette assignments is a good idea to keep your lessons available for reference. Each week's assignment will require the creation of a static item, so you need to have room in your portfolio. If you don't have room for these items due to membership restrictions, contact me and I'll help resolve the issue. If you don't know how to create a folder, I'll walk you through it. Contact me by email.
Below, you'll find links for various pages which you'll be accessing throughout this course. It's a good idea to add these to your favorites for easy access. If you do not know how, email me, and I'll assist you. Be advised some of our class pages will not be available until the course begins. Familiarize yourself with the ones that are.
Once the course starts, there will be a forum for assignments, as well as the lounge for interacting with your fellow writers. Use the lounge for topics not directly related to the workshop lessons. Just remember, all conversation will have to abide by the forum rating of 13+. All comments must be tasteful and not contain offensive language. If you have complaints, contact me personally. Do not set frustrations airing in the forum.
The Assignment Forum is is where you will access assignments and post finished assignments and/or scheduled practical exercises.
Now pay attention! There's nothing worse than going back through your emails to find the class links. To add a forum or other page to your favorites, look on the top right corner of every WdC page. There are three symbols. The first is a printer, the second is a plus (+) sign, and the third is an envelope. Simply click on the plus (+) sign and the item will be saved to your favorites list.
Accessing your favorites is even easier. Click on My Account on the side bar navigation list. A small pop out list will come up. Click on Favorites and another screen will pop up with a list of everything you have saved there.
Now for the next big hurdle. Click this link to learn how to use Bitem format.
Please be sure to set your static item to Reviews Only; No Ratings
Percy Goodfellow - Workshop Instructor
Links to The Exploratory Writing Workshop
Welcome Letter - "Exploratory Writing Workshop Welcome"
Introduction - "Intro - Exploratory Writing Workshop "
Assignment Overview - "The Weekly Assignment Overview Page"
Lounge - "Lounge for Exploratory Writing Workshop "
Assignment Forum - "Classroom (Assignment Forum) of EWW"
Dictionary of Writing Terms "Dictionary of Terms"