Aspiring writers of fiction need look no further than School of the Arts at Rhinelander for a chance to improve their craft. Award-winning author Kathie Giorgio will offer Chapter One Workshop and Short Story Workshop, two classes designed to get budding authors on the right track.
Both courses require some pre-class preparation. Students will e-mail copies of their work to Giorgio and will receive a packet in return that will be read before the class begins. For Chapter One Workshop, a copy of the first chapter of an original work is required, and for Short Story Workshop, students are asked to submit a completed short story of not more than 5,000 words. “We’ll read each other’s work and discuss it in the workshop, as well as give every student a written critique,” Giorgio promises.
Her first novel, The Home for Wayward Clocks, was released in 2011 by Main Street Rag Publishing Company and received Outstanding Achievement recognition by the Wisconsin Library Association Literary Awards Committee. The work was also nominated for the Paterson Fiction Award. Her short story collection, Enlarged Hearts, was released by Main Street Rag Publishing in 2012, and her sequel to The Home for Wayward Clocks, Learning to Tell (A Life) Time, will be released Sept. 1. She is currently director of the AllWriters’ Workplace and Workshop LLC in Waukesha. Giorgio has some pointers for her School of the Arts students.
“The most essential element of a well-written short story is strong, motivated, interesting characters,” she said. “You can have the best plot in the world, but if you don’t have great characters to act the story out, the plot will fall flat. The plot is the story, but the characters bring it to life.
“We know what we want our characters to do; we can see it all inside our own imagination, but the trick is getting it onto paper so that those outside of our own brains can see it, too.”
Giorgio believes that having one’s work critiqued is important, particularly if the work is intended for publication. “By opening your story to critique, you take a firm step toward publication,” she said. “Often, we’re too close to our own work to see the flaws, and sometimes we’re even too close to see the strengths. Having your story ‘workshopped’ is the way to go.”
School of the Arts at Rhinelander, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the UW-Madison Department of Continuing Studies, will celebrate its 50th anniversary July 20 to 24. Classes will be conducted in James Williams Middle School and Rhinelander High School. Chapter One Workshop will be offered Saturday, July 20, through Wednesday, July 24, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Short Story Workshop will be offered from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. Saturday through Wednesday.
Students and others interested in the School of the Arts are invited to the 50th anniversary dinner at Holiday Acres in Rhinelander Saturday, July 20; the SOA Then and Now: A Step Back in Time presentation Sunday, July 21; the School of the Arts Individual Showcase and School of the Arts Open House Monday, July 22; and the School of the Arts Luncheon Tuesday, July 23.
Further information on School of the Arts at Rhinelander, including registration information for classes, is available at soawisconsin.org.