Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction, Beyond writer's block, Character Development, Fictional worlds, Narrators, News; things to look for, Story, Writing love

Beyond Formula: Writing Love Scenes that Support the Story with Spirit, Passion, Grit, and Character Truth: Independent class beginning January 12, 2012!

Dear Writers,

I want to talk with you about my independent classes. I continue to teach Claiming Our Stories: Working with the Power of Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction, Parts One and Two, with on the net, as you can see from my last posting.

But I have been teaching Finding the Real Story: The Essential Elements of Story in Fiction and Memoir, Part One, independently. These classes, which ultimately will have 4 (at least!) parts, come out of a great deal of face-to-face teaching, and working with a number of groups for about 3 years, through in-person classes. Since I left New Mexico where I was teaching these classes regularly, my novella, The Stories of Devil-Girl, was published; my novel Blue Earth was accepted for publication and will be out in May 2012, and my half-completed novel, History Artist, earned me a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and I will complete that novel in 2012. So I can say with certainty that the classes I developed in-person are undergoing a process of development and deepening as they come into the light again as online classes.

My online creative writing classes take a tremendous amount of work and time to write. I will soon be writing Part Two of Finding the Real Story: The Essential Elements of Story in Fiction and Memoir, and will certainly let people know when I will begin teaching that,  especially the people who have already taken Part One, but I will let all know.

I will be writing other courses in addition to Part Two: Finding the Real Story: The Essential Elements of Story in Fiction and Memoir, courses based as well on face-to-face workshops I have been blessed to teach.

The first one is coming soon! January 12!

It is a short and very focused workshop of 5 weeks, and will begin in January so as to be completed by Valentine’s Day!

Here’s the description:

Beyond Formula: Writing Love Scenes that Support the Story with Spirit, Passion, Grit, and Character Truth

What we are really looking for and working toward in this class are writings about romantic love that are neither sentimental and formulaic, nor graphic in a way that doesn’t tell the story but serves some goal outside of the work. It is perhaps bold to do this course, which is not a course in writing erotica, nor one that looks to fulfill a formula for romance genre fiction. This is my corner of the world in writing about love, one that works to capture the ache of it, the beauty of it, the disintegration and yearning of it; that which makes it a part of life that is easy to obsess about, because of how utterly beyond belief it is when it comes fully into one’s life.

Love is difficult to write about in a world that so often connects sexuality to violence and exploitation; to the tragic and disturbing. This may come up in this workshop, and is welcome to, as it is so often part and parcel of what people have experienced. That starburst of magic will arrive to be written as well, that love that moves us into other realms of being. So much is expressed in how we love; so many stories told. Yet, often people have told me that they don’t know where or how to start writing such scenes or such stories, as they find their characters diving into love. I very often see the work of writers I deeply respect not achieve full expression of their stories and their characters in these scenes which may be crucial to the overall work. And, ultimately, these scenes must serve, beautifully or fiercely, that overall project. So I am here to invite you (and me!) to take a chance and enter this part of the world of your story that you are already flirting with! No one needs to be taught about love, at least, certainly not by this creative writing teacher, but finding that road to the expression of love in writing, well, that’s what I propose to be of help with, and as ever to share evocative work — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, film — that helps open up the magic, depth and craft of writing. (Who knows what magic may find you as you write in this open field, make dense and real the expression of this ache of love, and sometimes its fulfillment, in your work?)

So, here’s to five weeks of writing about love, from crushes and unrequited love to consummated love, to long lost or long dead love; love that cheats, love that sacrifices, lusty love and restrained love, substitute love and love as substitution; the tragic, the unexpected; selfish love, compassionate love, expansive love, routine love and mystical love. …

Sexual orientation?


Interested? Please message me on Facebook at  or write me an email at aachtenberg at

Looks like 2012 will be quite something.

Wishing you strength, love, and belief in your writing,


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