General Writing, News; things to look for, Story

Story classes beginning in Minneapolis, October 7! Writers and Artists Trip to Cuba in January.

Dear Writers,

I want to let people know that the story class I announced previously at this site will be starting this Wednesday, October 7. I am very excited about these classes. I taught these story classes, and developed an extensive series of these classes, throughout New Mexico. Stunning writing came forward. And there are, some years after the fact, groups that developed through the classes who still meet and work with each other, very effectively.


I have been doing a lot of teaching online – with writers around the country and around the world – very exciting – not what I thought online teaching would be. And I have been teaching elsewhere, not in Minnesota. Well, time to get back to teaching here in Minnesota, face to face, with all that writing energy zinging around the room, with that profound experience of working together to bring forward the power of story sitting within us, and to reveal further the story we have in pieces of writing, or in a draft of a novel, story, or memoir.


Let’s get to work. Details below. Call for more information. Join us.


Finding the Real Story: an exploration of the essential elements of story

for both fiction and nonfiction writers, beginning Wednesday October 7, 2009


Join us for 10 sessions of intensive exploration of the essential elements of writing story, and for work on shaping these elements to embody the deeper truths and powerful emotions which move us into writing. We will work to explore the mystery of human behavior in story form, and develop ways to deepen characterization. We will work to discover plot—rather than be constricted by it. We will tap into the power of the visions and voices of our narrators and characters, and the mix of truth and fiction that creates a world both imagined and deeply real. We will explore narrative summary, active scene and dialogue, the workings of subtext; the power of your story’s context, the technique of simultaneity; dialogue; the music of prose; the story’s metaphor; revision. Begin new stories and discover ways to complete old ones in an atmosphere both supportive and challenging, with in-class and at-home writing explorations, and feedback aimed at helping each participant understand the scope of their own work. 

*   10 Wednesdays, beginning early fall, 7:00-9:30 pm.

*    Lake Street and 39th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, above the Blue Moon Cafe.

*     For registration and more information:   contact Anya at or 651.214.9248.

Anya is a master teacher. Her grasp of world writers and of craft allows her to liberate this knowledge…, so that we can learn to wield the pen with power.”                                                                                                —Demetria Martinez, novelist, poet, memoirist, journalist


I also want to announce,  and will be writing more about it on the next posting, The 2010 Writers and Artists Delegation to Cuba, January 3-11. I have been organizing this trip for some time, and, believe me, US restrictions on travel to Cuba have made the work quite complicated, though the result will be a great joy and a great inspiration. The majority of people in the U.S., Cuban-Americans as well as all Americans (in the U.S. sense) support an end to the travel ban to Cuba and to the U.S. blockade of Cuba. Restrictions have been eased for Cuban-Americans, which is wonderful, since so many families have been profoundly affected by the travel ban, but for the rest of us in the United States, we still cannot travel freely to Cuba. It is much easier for “academics” to go than the rest of of the population, which doesn’t seem quite fair! Securing licenses to go legally is a complicated process at times. Groups like Pastors for Peace and the Venceremos Brigade go “illegally”, challenging the travel ban, bringing humanitarian aid, contributing labor, etc.


What you can do now is contact your Senators and Representatives to urge them to co-sponsor the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, S.428 (Senate bill) or HR 874 (House bill), or to thank them if they have already done so. This Act would restore our constitutional right to travel to Cuba. We are the only country banning travel there. Indeed, our neighbor to the north, Canada, finds 800,000 of its citizens traveling to Cuba a year!

We have a great group going in January. Contact me if you are interested, at  More information in a further posting.
My online folks are waiting…better go!

Enjoy your work, and remember to play.


Anya Achtenberg 






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