As a writer and teacher, I offer a wide variety of topics for writing conferences. Each class is:
- Designed to last one hour, but can be adjusted to fit other time frames.
- The workshops are a mix of lecture and writing exercises.
- Geared for beginning and experienced writers.
- Self-contained, not dependent on other classes in the series.
Click here to schedule Aaron as a teacher for your next writing conference.
Here’s what people are saying about my classes:
“Aaron is a great teacher of writing. He excels in critiquing by offering specific praise and suggestions for your work. His classes were fun and motivating. After one session on Endings at the Blue Ridge conference, I went to every class he offered.” –Kathleen Lewis
“One year later, I’m still thinking about points Aaron Gansky made in his workshop on First Lines. His teaching is well-researched, engaging, practical, and relevant in helping today’s writer reach today’s reader.” –Lori Roeleveld
I offer the following series to help complete your next writer’s conference:
Firsts in Fiction
- First Lines
- The first line can make or break a project. Poor first lines equals poor chance of publication. Here, the student learns what makes an unforgettable first line. We study the best first lines in literary history and learn what works and what doesn’t.
- First Pages
- First pages are tough to write. They’re like your first impression on a blind date. A great first page makes editors notice. We look at some killer opening pages and take them apart to find out what makes them tick.
- First Chapters
- The first chapter sets the tone for the rest of your novel, and you want to get it right. A great first chapter guarantees our readers will finish our book. We look at the different ways to handle a first chapter to see which fits our novel best.
- First Characters
- First impressions are important, and fiction is no different. We need to portray our characters in such a way that our readers will know them immediately. We’ll look at some memorable characters and how they’re set up in their novels to find out how we can best introduce our characters to our readers.
Endings in Fiction
- Finish Strong
- So many ways to end your book, but which one’s right for your novel? How do you do it right? We’ll take a look at the different ways to wrap up your plot and figure out which way’s best.
- That’s a Wrap!
- So your ending’s falling apart? Too many moving pieces? Overly complex, uncooperative plot? Stubborn characters? We’ll take a look at how to whip them into shape so your ending works the way it’s supposed to.
- The End?
- The beloved cliffhanger. The hated open-resolution. When is it okay to use them? How do you make one that works? We’ll look at that in this class, figure out why they’re used and why they’re risky. We’ll also look at the rewards of a well-done cliffhanger.
Learning From the Masters
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
- We’ll look at what the beloved American author has to say about writing, specifically the use of imagery and characterization. Spoiler alert: he’s big on emotional writing.
- Flannery O’Connor
- My favorite writer has some incredible writing advice, much of which is specifically geared toward Christian writers. We’ll also look at what she has to say about the how to end your stories and novels.
- Raymond Carver and Gordon Lish
- As an editor, Gordon Lish did a lot of good for Raymond Carver, but the relationship ended up turning sour. We’ll find out what these two have to say about writing, and try to figure out what they did well, and the traps they fell into. We’ll gain some great insight into the often tumultuous writer-editor relationship.
Figurative Language and Imagery
- What Figurative Language Does
- Got the hang of similes and metaphors? Great. How about metonymies and synesthesia? Not so much? We take a look at some underused figurative language and find out how to use it to make our work stronger.
- Honing Your Senses
- We’ve got five senses. We use them, but seldom think about them. We’ll take some time to examine all five senses and how they work together.
- Digging for Originality
- How many times have we “cried a river” or told our wives their “beauty is like a rose?” Our society’s rife with clichés, but our writing shouldn’t be. We’ll take a look at how to avoid over-used figurative language and come up with original, impactful images.
- Writing with Impact
- Sometimes, we fall into the trap of thinking that more words means more emotion. This class examines the adage “less is more.” We learn to scale back, use fewer words, and allow our images to do the heavy emotional lifting.
- Making the Words Count
- Sometimes powerful writing is only a noun or verb away. We’ll take a look at vocabulary in this class; the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ll find out how a well placed noun or verb counts for a thousand adverbs or adjectives.
- Darlings Beware
- It’s easy to fall in love with what we’ve written, and hard to cut what we love. We’ll examine why we love what we do, and why we need to cut it anyway. Sometimes our best writing is left off the page. Here, we’ll find out how to tell the difference.