Literary Lessons

Posted on October 30, 2014 at 6:00 am

By Sheri Boggs

Literary Lessons by Sheri Boggs | Spokane County Library District

I’m a little bit addicted to books about writing. And workshops about writing. And conferences and tote bags and online courses and story dice. My office is spilling over with titles like The Nighttime Novelist and The Making of a Story. I can’t move in there without stumbling over gobs of pages of half-baked ideas, optimistically held together with cute Japanese binder clips from Uwajimaya in Seattle. I love all this stuff. It makes me feel like I’m part of a tribe, yet without having to do anything hard. Like, um, actually writing.

I’m sure you, dear reader, are far more sensible. You don’t need books about writing being a spiritual path, or special pencils, or even a Jane Austen action figure in order to get your work done. You’re probably one of those people who just sits down to write. So enviable, you. Not only are you getting some writing done, you’re also saving yourself a proverbial boatload of money.

Writing classes and books and accessories and special barn wood chalkboards from rural Illinois add up. Which is why I’m super excited to have discovered the magic, half-secret goldmine that is Gale Courses. Gale Courses are one of those things that many libraries have, but hardly anybody knows about. Which is a shame because they’re kind of great. Gale is a company that provides many of our academic digital resources, things like “Science in Context,” “Biography in Context,”and “Opposing Viewpoints in Context.” But Gale Courses are interactive, instructor-led, six-week classes on everything from Accounting and Graphic Design to Criminal Law and Veterinary Assisting. There’s an entire suite of writing classes. And they’re all free with your SCLD library card. Not to sound like an infomercial but these exact same classes cost anywhere from $94-$105 if you take them through a participating community college. Comparable online classes at, say, The Loft, can run several hundreds of dollars.

Literary Lessons by Sheri Boggs | Spokane County Library District

Which brings me to the upcoming Beginning Writer’s Workshop. You’d think with all the writing stuff I buy, I’d have the basics pretty much nailed down. But really, I’m a noob. I know what pacing and scenes and inciting events and so on are—what I need help with is effectively doing them in my own writing. So I’m pretty excited about this course. Also, new sessions start every month but the one that starts Nov. 12 is especially attractive because we’re partnering with local writer Sharma Shields, author of the short story collection Favorite Monster and the forthcoming novel The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac, to offer an in-person component. This is awesome. Gale Courses are interactive, and you’ll definitely be getting feedback from your classmates and your instructor. But sometimes that’s not the same as actually sitting across from a writer and being able to get direct feedback and ask all your most insecure, niggling, writerly questions. Enrollees for the Nov. 12 class will get an email when the course begins letting them know the times and dates Sharma will be hosting write-ins at our Moran Prairie Library.

If you want to see what the course is like, you can see the course outline by clicking here. Or you can go to our website and click on “Digital Library,” and then on “Gale Courses.” From there you can see all the class categories they offer, including all the tasty options under “Writing and Publishing”: Keys to Effective Editing, Writing for Children, Introduction to Screenwriting, Mystery Writing, Writing Young Adult Fiction, and much, much more.

With all the money you’ll save you’ll be able to reward yourself handsomely—perhaps with writing books and gewgaws and maybe even this fancy writing chair.

Sheri Boggs

Tags: , , ,