In the Spring of 2011, Bob taught a course on Rewriting at Hugo House in Seattle. Hugo House is a sanctuary for writers—poets read there, novelists launch their work there, hungry writers take classes there. Hugo House is a resource like no other in Seattle, maybe in the country. Bob decided to keep a log to track the course and to monitor writers’ progress through their rewriting. The course was designed to work for novel, script, stage play. The techniques Bob used help writers get control of the rewriting process from subplot to character development, from structure to style.

To follow the Rewriting 101 course, which you can duplicate for your own story, at your own pace, try running the sequence from beginning to end, one entry a day. If you find the process useful, drop us a comment. Good luck, good writing. 

The Writing 101 workshop is presented here – 0ne week at a time for six weeks.  Follow the links.

Week One: Introduction – Story

Following the writer introductions – who’s writing what, how it’s going – we’ll work on story. Definition: story is a competition for a resource base. Cinderella wants the castle. Jane wants Thornfield Hall. We’ll toss around the parts of a story: Place, Characters and Roles (Protag, Antag, Helper), Resource Base as the object of desire, core stories (there are seven), Ritual and Archetype, Objects (possession, need, greed, thievery, envy, etc.), biology in the subtext, back story trauma as Motivation.

  • A warmup writing that probes your novel or filmscript.
  • Scene Performance: We’ll view our first scene performance, with the cast drawn from fellow writers.
  • Homework that links to Week Two.

Week Two: Structure

Structure is an arrangement of parts. Acts are made up of scenes. A scene is made up of setting, character, dialogue, action, intruder, ending. Two of the most helpful structures for rewriting are the Sexual Triad and the Closed Circle and Intruder. You can read more about the Sexual Triad in The Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel. To grasp the importance of the Intruder penetrating the Closed Circle, we’ll do some writing.

  • Scene performance.
  • Homework that links to Week Three.

Links to weekly courses as uploaded:

  1. Rewriting—Day One
  2. Rewriting—Day Two
  3. Rewriting—Day Three
  4. Rewriting—Day Four
  5. Rewriting—Day Five
  6. Rewriting—Day Six