Scottsdale, Ariz., author Susan Pohlman will teach three writing courses in the fall of 2014: Introduction to Memoir/Fiction, Scene Study, and Character and Setting. Pohlman is the author of “Halfway to Each Other,” winner in the relationship category and finalist in the memoir category of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She has also written five short films, including the award-winning “Here, There, and Everywhere,” “The Toast,” “The Misadventures of Matilda Mench” and “The Pen.”
Pohlman recently agreed to answer a few questions for Examiner about her upcoming classes.
Q. What motivated you to start teaching these classes?
A. The short answer is that I decided to combine my love of teaching and my love of writing to develop opportunities to gather writers in small group settings to support each other and work on developing craft.
Over the years I have attended a variety of workshops to develop my writing skills and found much repetition in the material. To satisfy a broad range of skill levels, the instructors seemed to present the same general information time and again. Eager to take my writing to the next level, I saw that I would have to enroll in university classes or seek higher learning online. Neither of these options appealed to me. I was not in a position to commit to an MFA program, nor did I want another reason to sit alone in my office at the computer. I am naturally drawn to the human interaction and exchange of ideas that a classroom setting offers.
As a newly published author and an educator by profession, I decided to step away from formal education, do some rather intensive research and develop the type of learning experiences that I was seeking. I took a gamble that there were other writers in the community seeking the same thing. Happily, there were! Seventy writers have taken the classes so far, and we are developing into a supportive and serious (and fun!) community.
Q. Who in particular could benefit from the classes?
A. Any level of writer could join us. I have developed two levels of classes thus far. The first class, Introduction to Fiction and Memoir, is geared to the serious beginner. This would be a person who has been journaling or writing short pieces for a while and is ready to look at the elements of writing in a structured manner. The other two classes, Scene Study and Character and Setting, are geared to the intermediate writer. The key to success in all of these classes is that we read and examine famous literary short stories that illustrate the elements of writing that we are learning. Not only do we gain more control over our writing, we become more educated readers as well.
I am in the process of writing curriculum for novice writers or those who are curious about journaling and personal essay.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
I have recently added another dimension to the curriculum. Quarterly, we are meeting as a whole to build community, cheer each other on in our endeavors and learn from various speakers about the writing/publishing industry. This Writers Networking Group is happily blooming.
Introduction to Memoir/Fiction runs from Aug. 26 through Oct. 7. Classes will take place on Tuesdays from noon to 1:30 p.m., and the course fee is $225.
Scene Study will meet on four Wednesdays, from Aug. 27 through Sept. 17, 6-7:30 p.m. Course fee is $150.00.
Character and Setting will meet Thursdays from noon to 1:30 p.m. beginning Aug. 28 and ending October 9. Course fee is $225.