Tell Me a Story: Going From Reader to Writer

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Editor and ghostwriter Julie Mosow hosts a six-month Interintellect Salon series on developing the vision, ideas, practices, and habits to become the writer you’ve always hoped to be…and, most importantly, to finish the work you start.

6 episodes: 10am Pacific, First Saturday of each month

Dates: – December 4th, January 8th, February 5th, March 5th, April 2nd, and May 7th

Series tickets: $120

Depending on availability, the host might release tickets for each individual salon, too.

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In his 2010 memoir My Reading Life, Pat Conroy wrote, “The most powerful words in English are, ‘Tell me a story.'” With apologies to Conroy, the most powerful words in any language are “tell me a story.” As human beings and readers, we gravitate toward stories from an early age. But when it comes time to write, we sometimes forget what drew us to language, to reading, and to books and how to weave story into our own writing, whether it is fiction or non-fiction.

In this six part salon hosted by editor and ghostwriter Julie Mosow, we’ll explore how and why story captures readers but also how both new and experienced writers can use story as a guide to envisioning, drafting, revising, and publishing your own work. We’ll also discuss what reading and writing means to each of us, and the skills, practice, and habits it takes to create the kind of magic that makes good writing come together. There will be ample opportunities to share your own work, and we ask that you come ready to provide constructive feedback to others.

1. “Must have plot” (December 4th 2021) – Where do stories come from and why do they matter so much for fiction but also for nonfiction? We begin with the stories that captivate us as readers and then turn to the task of writing “The Story Behind the Book,” our own stories about why we want to write and what we want to write about.

2. First sentences, first paragraphs, first chapters (January 8th 2022) – What are your favorite first sentences, the ones that grabbed you and never let go? Why is the beginning of any piece of writing so important? And what promise do we make to the reader with our opening lines? We’ll close by writing opening sentences of our own.

3. The architecture of a book (February 5th 2022)- No great piece of writing was every built on a shaky foundation. How do we erect the invisible scaffolding that can support and sustain a narrative for a chapter let alone for hundreds of pages? And how do we make that structure flexible enough to bend or perhaps even break as the writing develops?

4. Writing as an asymptotic process (March 12th 2022) – A first draft is just the beginning, but so is a second draft, and probably even a third. What are some of the best techniques for revising our own work? When should we ask for help from a writing group or a professional editor? And how do we know that we’re finished?

5. No right way to write (April 2nd 2022) – This workshop is about mechanics – the habits, process, and technology we use to produce our work. How can we use some of the best techniques in habit formation to fuel our creative lives? What kinds of tools and technology are useful and when do they get in our way? Finally, we’ll discuss how to put creative constraints in place.

6. The business of publishing (May 7th 2022) – A book used to launch of a writer’s career, but now a book is just one piece of any creative professional’s platform. In this salon, we’ll talk about selling, social media, and what it takes (and if it’s worth it!!!) to pursue traditional publication. We’ll focus mostly on book publishing in this salon although depending on interest we can also layer in other paid writing opportunities.

Though you may simply attend these salons, we also encourage you to write as we go, and depending on interest, will develop a way for writers to share their works-in-progress and for readers to enjoy them.

Julie Mosow is an editor and ghostwriter; she is also the co-creator and co-instructor of Sahil Lavingia’s The Minimalist Entrepreneur, a cohort-based course based on his book of the same name. For the first part of her career, she worked primarily with novelists, but more recently she has collaborated with non-fiction writers on books about inequality in American education, feelings at work, trusting yourself, and living your best, most authentic life. Julie loves to do anything that gets her into a state of deep flow, which includes reading and writing (surprise!), building and making things in the physical world, swimming, and walking her dog at the crack of dawn. She lives in the suburbs of NYC but was born in Mississippi and grew up in Nashville, so she doesn’t consider herself a New Yorker. Mostly, she loves talking to people about their ideas and their passions.