Ah Haa Moment: Quell Your Self-doubts and Write!

Ah Haa Moment: Quell Your Self-doubts and Write!

Ah Haa Offers The Art of Story with Katie McDougall

artofstoryYou’ve got a comfortable place to write, a great idea, a way with words and the gift of time. So why can’t that great novel just come spilling all over the page?

Katie McDougall, an accomplished writer and teacher, can help. She will lead a four-part fiction writer’s class beginning Thursday, March 6, at the Ah Haa School. As a writer, she’s more than familiar with the many stumbling blocks that can stall out even the most gifted writers. The class, through a combination of talk, hands-on writing exercises, and opportunities to share work, will cover story telling from the simple act of starting, to creating memorable characters, terrific plot lines and the ins and outs of dialogue, tone and setting.

McDougall, who hales from Nashville, was a senior in college when she took her first fiction writing class. Though she “obsessively” kept a journal throughout high school, she became utterly taken with fiction writing and pursued the craft, eventually earning her MFA in fiction writing at Colorado State University.

“When you’re writing stories that aren’t necessarily true, it’s a way to access universal truths,” she says.

The first class will address the bane of many an aspiring novelist or short story author – getting started. McDougall will help writers dispel the “outside editor.”

“That’s the voice of self-doubt; the voice that says our idea is no good or the story will be boring,” she explains. The good news, she says, is that the more you write, the easier it gets. “So much of writing is practice.”

Her subsequent Art of Story classes will address creating characters (March 13), crafting plot (March 30), and dialogue, setting and tone (March 27).

McDougall’s short stories have appeared in BarcelonaReview.com and in Storyglossia.com. Her numerous writing awards have included a four-week writing residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska, an Association of Writers and Poet Intro Journals Award Nomination for Colorado State University, and she is a Paul Gillette Writing Contest Finalist. She is currently in the process of finding a home for her first novel, “The Color Wheel.”

McDougall has over 15 years experience as a teacher of literature and creative writing. Since leaving the traditional classroom, she has worked as a Master Teacher in Residence at The Island School in the Bahamas, as an outdoor educator, as a freelance writer, a tutor, a “Think and Drink” coordinator, and a bookseller at Nashville’s Parnassus Books. She is also a co-founder of The Porch Writer’s Collective, a group whose mission it is to provide professional development for writers and to promote the Nashville literary scene with events and workshops.

The Art of Story takes place all four Thursdays in March at the Ah Haa School from 6-8 p.m. each evening. The first class is Thursday, March 6. Participants can register for individual classes or the entire course by visiting: www.ahhaa.org. For information, please call 970-728-3886.

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