The Magical Writer, a course created by Luke Hauser (aka George Franklin), is taught in the SF Bay Area and occasionally online via skype. The aim is to apply simple magical tools to our craft (whether you believe in magic or not – it doesn’t really matter).
Email me for upcoming classes – <email@example.com>
Here’s a week-by-week syllabus – you can also download the course booklet, which has many exercises and inspirations.
Specific exercises may vary – see handouts for more exercises and details about each session.
Session #1 – Creating Magical Writing Space
For our first session, please download Handout #1 in the left column. Try the exercises on the second page, in particular these to share in class:
Do some work on creating or upgrading your writing space – at least in the conceptual realm. What improvements might make your space more conducive to creativity? We’ll share ideas and practices.
Cover blurb – come prepared to share something from this exercise.
Mirror affirmation – try the understatement exercise (“it sometimes happens… “) – we’ll share responses.
Session #2 – Invoking Characters and Allies
For our second session, download Handout #2 in the left column. We’ll work with these exercises in class:
Tree of My Writing
Rant-Writing – bring your rant-notes and a rework if you get that far.
Character Tarot Reading – we’ll work with this in class, so bring a deck to the next session. Let me know if you don’t have access to a deck.
Session #3 – Working with Narrative Energy
For this week, download Handout #3 in the left column. We’ll work with these exercises in class:
Casablanca Energy Map – watch first 15 minutes of film
Invoking Specific Energies
Writing Under Constraints
Session #4 – Integrating Our Inner Critic
Bring to class – a small dish of salt water; your journal; handout #4 and homework below
For this week, download Handout #4 in the left column. We’ll work with these exercises in class:
Listening to our Inner Critic – do a short session and scribe some thoughts afterward. Choose a few to share.
“If I set out to write the worst book in all history, it would be about __________.”
“If I didn’t care what anyone – even myself – thought, I would write _______.”
Session #5 – Plot, Story, and Myth
Bring to class – your journal; handout #5 and homework below
For this week, download Handout #5 in the left column. You may also want to look at the “Craft” handouts in the lower left column, particularly the Five-Act Structure handout.
We’ll work with these exercises from Handout #5 in class:
Stravinsky-writing (not on handout) – click this link and listen to this excerpt from Stravinky’s Petrouchka ballet. Listen once and let the music suggest stories. Then listen again and write whatever comes into your mind.
Download Stravinsky excerpt
Modern Pantheons – create (or otherwise discover) a previously unknown deity who might be of assistance to you and other writers and artists. Ask this deity to share with you some of its powers and interests. Ask if it may be invoked in our class.
Transforming a Myth – choose a myth that annoys you and suggest a few ways that it could be reworked. You can transform the story or outcome, introduce new characters, etc – but somehow keep the original myth visible.
Session #6 – The Alchemy of Editing
Bring to class – your journal; handouts and homework below
For this week, download Handout #6 on Editing and the Craft handout on Incipits in the lefthand column.
We’ll work with these exercises from the Incipit handout:
Incipit Rewrites – Write five significantly different versions of the opening sentence/paragraph of an essay, poem, or a chapter of a fictional work. Try these variations (see Incipit Handout for more details):
- Change the actual content of your opening
- Change the vocabulary
- Open with a character speaking – try an unidentified speaker
- Open with instant drama or conflict
- Open with an anecdote, fable, news item, historical incident…
- Start a poem or fictional work with a thesis sentence
- Honing the Incipit – take your favorite opener and start to hone it.
- Can you eliminate words without losing what’s essential?
- Can you sharpen the imagery without adding to the word count?
Consider the rhythm:
- Short sentences feel breathless. Periods propel us forward.
- Longer sentences, with commas, subordinate clauses, and multiple ways of making the same point create a more laconic feel.
- Eliminate adverbs. “Show, don’t tell.”
Read the Show Don’t Tell sections on the Editing handout (on front and back) – what are a couple of ways you could do more “showing” in your own work? What ideas can you share about this many-faceted process?
Session #7 – A Graceful Finale – and Beyond
Bring to class – your journal; Handout #7; homework below; cup of water
For homework, prepare these for class:
Sharing Our Writing – optional but strongly encouraged, as a way to share ourselves with each other: bring up to 3 minutes of your writing to share aloud. Please read and time it beforehand – 3 minutes is not very many words. Show us a nugget of your work.
Next steps – think about one or two “next steps” for your writing – what will you be doing for your writing in the next month or so? What is one thing you would ask from this group?
A short verbal blessing for the other writers in our class. We will share these as part of the closing ritual.
Bring the list of Muses (page 3 of the Handout) to our final gathering, so we can honor them.
For fun – try the Marketing Exercises on page 2 of the handout:
Describe your book – or your dissertation, etc – as a conjuncture of two well-known works: “It’s like Beyond the Valley of the Dolls meets Whinnie-the-Pooh. “
What are a few books that yours resembles? What one thing makes your book different than all the others?
Write a description of your book in one paragraph. Hone it to a single sentence.
What is The Magical Writer?
A Writing Intensive in the Reclaiming Tradition
With George Franklin (aka Luke Hauser) and Guest Teachers
Want to write a novel, memoir, or other narrative? Want to jump-start your writing, regardless of the style? Let Reclaiming magic help!
We’ll look at the craft of writing and the blocks that keep us from reaching our full artistic potential.
We’ll meet in sacred space, share writing and support over the web, and gain understanding and skill from working with others. Writing can be an isolating practice – we’ll use magic to weave a web of support and encouragement.
With magical tools such as circle-casting, ancestor invocations, trances, and spellwork, we’ll free our expressive gifts and strengthen our belief in ourselves as artists.
We will also work on writing that expresses our unique voice, creating plot-structures, developing characters, and other aspects of the writers’ craft. Each class includes directed writing time.
Class is suitable for those working on writing projects who want a supportive circle and new inspiration, and those looking to begin the process. Although you’ll determine your own work-pace, be prepared to dedicate time to your writing and to commit to supporting your fellow writers during this class.
For more information, contact George, firstname.lastname@example.org
George Franklin (aka Luke Hauser) is a Reclaiming teacher and co-editor of Reclaiming Quarterly. He has written several novels and published one (visit directaction.org), and helped edit work by writers such as Cynthia Lamb, T. Thorn Coyle, and Starhawk. Magic is a key part of his creative process.