Master Play Works announces Spring 2009 Master Class


Dear Friends and Colleagues

The Winter 2009 on-line Character-Generated Story course for writers of drama and prose fiction was, in many was, the most successful yet. This is the fourth year MasterPlayWorks has offered the 16 hour, 2 week craft course. Variety remains a critical element in the particular creative process which elevates The Character-Generated Story in Drama and Prose Fiction above other more traditional creative writing courses. The combination of craft instruction, individual practice through timed exercises and the listening/assessment exercises enrich the experience and provide a solid understanding of what makes drama and prose narrative work.

The multi-disciplinary aspect expands and enriches the process. Painters, writers, film makers — seasoned artists from all disciplines and those wishing to write for the first time — all struggle together to understand written narrative, learn new skills and expand their own practice.

Varied age and experience are equally important factors. Writers at the beginning of their practice paired with more seasoned artists have much to offer each other in terms of generational perspective, accumulated wisdom and fresh points of view.

Regional differences positively influence the tenor of the interactive sessions. Life experience is rooted in geography and culture. Urban writers have much to gain from the perspective offered by the rural, sea-side or small town dwelling writer and vice versa.

What excites most are the varied artistic practices shared in participants studies and home offices during the course. This last session was typical.

A distinguished Ophthalmologist who is also an accomplished landscape painter sought to expand his practice as both painter and doctor by mastering the basic principles of narrative in prose fiction. Life in painting and life in the examination room are about more than the art of science or the science of art: the life story — the narrative of the landscape and the narrative of the patient pull from the same binding force . . . metaphor. One of Canada’s most gifted animated film makers wished to strengthen her sense of the power and use of literary narrative:

“This course reminded me that to be a writer, you have to write! In the very first session Kent gets you writing, and from then on you want to do your best. It’s exciting to have a writing project every week, then sit down in front of the computer, take a deep breath and read your work out loud to other creative people. This is a terrific non-threatening way to get started on a creative project. I enjoyed every minute of the eight sessions.”

A young writer who showed extraordinary promise and experienced great success in his late teens put drama aside for a decade. Time passed, he matured and wished to come back to play writing to understand the craft basics and get back to writing for the stage. I’m delighted he found what he needed:

“After a creative dry spell lasting a few years, this course has helped reawaken my writing. Not only do I have the material I generated during the course but my head (and my notepad) is now filled with ideas and for the first time in a long time I am writing regularly again. Kent teaches craft- he gives solid technique, but it’s far from the dry and lackluster rules and shortcuts that some writing teachers try to pass off as craft. He combines heart and compassion and humour and genuine knowledge in a unique way that pulls work from within you.”

On a personal note, I’ve just submitted my novel to my publisher after four year’s of dedicated industry. Look for The World Above the Sky from McArthur and Company Publishers Inc., soon.

I had two terrific sessions with the Edmonton branch of the Canadian Authors Association in March . . . a lecture on adaptation titled Importing the Essence, followed by a day-long Character-Generated Story workshop. Edmonton is wonderful . . . it had been years. I had almost forgot the wide open spaces are matched by great big hearts and souls. I go back to work now on Excess: a play in two acts for five actors (see synopsis, then prepare for a prose/drama workshop in Kabul in the fall. What has more power to change the course of history than literature? Consider Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and, more recently (and perhaps more aptly n this case) Khaled Hosseini. Imagine the stories young Afghani people have to tell. What a privilege to be asked to provide the tools.

The Spring 2009 Master Class begins Saturday May 23, runs Saturdays 11:00am – 1:00pm. A second course 2:00pm- 4:00pm will be added if necessary. The Master Class is calibrated for people at all levels of their practice. The more variety, we learn, the better.

Fees (eight sessions, 16 hours): $1500.00 plus taxes where applicable.

See: for further course details.

Please pass this course announcement on to people you think might be interested. Let me know if you’d like me to remove your e-address from the MPW list.

Happy Spring!

Kent Stetson

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