Writing Magic: The Mechanic and the Muse

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JacquiIf you haven’t had the pleasure of taking a writing or editing course from Jacqui Banaszynski, you’re missing out. Banaszynski, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and editor who teaches at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and at the Poynter Institute (which offers a deep and wide selection of courses, both in-person and remote, for mid-career journalists of all stripes), is a specialist in the kind of deep-dive narrative journalism we often examine at The Open Notebook. Jeanne and I have both participated in workshops she’s led in the past and have come away inspired, energized and full of new ideas. Banaszynski is going to be leading a terrific-sounding workshop that we’d like to call attention to. Titled “Writing Magic: The Mechanic and the Muse,” the workshop will take place at the at the Madeline Island School of the Arts from June 2-6. It will include a mix of writing exercises, one-on-one instruction, peer critique and group discussion. From the course announcement:

[W]e will explore the necessary steps and core techniques that all good writers master to take them from a fresh, viable idea through gathering the needed raw material through a variety of structural options through a polished, finished piece.  We will place special emphasis on a story’s most essential elements: scene, character, emotion and revelatory detail.  

In a note to “fellow travelers, wanderers, wonderers, writers and lovers of words and stories,” Banaszynski writes that the workshop will “blend inspiration and application—valuable for working journalists, freelancers, travel writers and, yes, those working on memoir and fiction.” Jacqui told me that the workshop will emphasize literary techniques that bring all writing to life, but the focus is on non-fiction—and of special value for people who write from specialty fields like science, health and the environment. She wants to help writers find fresh, human approaches to their work. Check it out!

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