Writing Through Trauma with Sean Davis

Learn to use humor when writing about traumatic experiences to create powerful scenes and stories in this four-week class with memoirist Sean Davis.

Your Instructor: Sean Davis, veteran and memoirist of THE WAX BULLET WAR

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 16 students

Price: $299

Class Description

Do you want to write something powerful that readers won’t forget?

Having the reader experience a single emotion is difficult, but when you use humor as a foil, your prose will stand out from others. Whatever story you want to tell, this workshop—Writing Through Trauma—will get you started.

This class will look at works by Vonnegut, Heller, Orwell, and examine why they remain popular, generation after generation. You’ll also look at contemporary works by writers such as Ronson, Palahniuk, and others.

Whether your end goal is self-publishing, e-publishing, or traditional publishing, this course will help you hone your skills at influencing the emotions of your readers. Making them feel happy, mad, or angry isn’t enough; it’s the laugh-cry moments that have the power to stick in people’s minds.

Instructor Sean Davis is an artist, writer, teacher, and veteran of the Iraq War, where he was critically injured. He experienced an abusive childhood and he’s written about all of it. His new book, The Wax Bullet War, which details his struggle in returning from war, is out now in the bookstores.

So what’s your story?

* This class will include a conference call so that students can interact with Sean in a more intimate setting. 

Class starts August 25—and there's still time to sign up!

What This Class Covers

Lecture One – Using Your Experience

We have all lived through shattering experiences. We need to come to terms with it and decide to use that trauma as a learning experience. More than that, we can use the trauma to inspire people and hopefully change the way they think. Trauma is a matter of perspective. Since the experience has already passed, the writer needs to pick which angle to approach the story (words, themes, metaphors) to use when writing about it. Start thinking about the focus of your final project. 

Assignment One:

What point are you trying to get across? Brainstorm on the message you want to get across and create a one to two page outline.

Lecture Two – How to use Prose to Influence Emotion in your Reader

Robert Frost told us, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” We are going to examine how opposing emotions, contrasting descriptions, and divergent words can help influence the emotional state of your reader, and by doing so, create a powerful scene and story.

Assignment Two:

You’ll write a scene – a page or two – to explore how to use opposite sides of the spectrum to make a point more powerful.

Lecture Three – Descriptive Narration

Now we’ll work on prose. Avoid “stage direction” at all costs and use every sentence to advance the story and add to the exposition in a way the reader will appreciate.

Assignment Three:

The words you use to get your point across are easily as important as the point you’re trying to get across. Combine your last writing assignment on timing with your new powers of descriptive narration. 

Lecture Four – The Point

We'll build on everything we’ve covered so far and focus it into your point. You’ll put it all together. Sean will be available through phone and/or email for hands-on instruction.

Assignment Four: 

You'll write your story. 

Goals Of This Class

  • Use the hardship you’ve lived through for a purpose.
  • Find a unique and powerful way to write prose using contrasting images and emotions.
  • Discover the correct way to use humor as a foil to tragedy and trauma.
  • Decide on our focus and use it to influence our readers emotional state.
  • Write a draft, get feedback, and share with others.
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