Recorded Class: Generating Story Ideas That Are Original and Compelling In A World Of Crap Content

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Recorded Class: Generating Story Ideas That Are Original and Compelling In A World Of Crap Content

60.00 75.00

Two out of every three students with whom I interact one-on-one ask, “How do you always come up with ideas for stuff to write about?” I was like, “Dude, that’s going to take more than the 15 minutes we have but here’s a bite-sized crash course!” The truth is that coming up with regular original story ideas is one of the greatest challenges as a freelance writer without a particular beat that demands particular coverage of topics assigned or constantly incoming. There are only so many lukewarm takes one can publish without starting to feel like a hack. This class will focus on generating ideas for writing in the areas of Arts & Culture, Opinion & Commentary, and Identity/Experience Essays (sometimes called personal essays.)

The recorded sessions last approximately 2.5 hours and the course resource document features 20 pages of both exercises that help you think of new story ideas as well as various options and angles for pursuing stories that many people may feel unfamiliar with but that are regularly in demand at media publications.

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This class is designed to give students the reading materials, reading practices, personal and intellectual habits and practices, and self-discipline required to come up with a large number of high-quality story ideas consistently without resorting to gimmicks and content mill drudgery.

Each of the sessions is focused on a particular kind of writing that is in demand in digital media: Arts & Culture, Opinion & Commentary, and Identity/Experience Essays (usually called “Personal Essays”). All students will be given a course packet with additional resources and detailed instructions on how to formulate story ideas using a variety of exercises that force writers to self-reflect, hone in on their best ideas, and mine their intellects, interests, and expertise for compelling story ideas they can successfully pitch.

This class will not cover where to pitch these stories specifically nor will it cover how to formulate the pitches for them.

Class 1: Arts & Culture Stories

Want to write about books? Movies? Music? Art that goes in museums and galleries mostly? Maybe you’ve written about these topics successfully in the past but come up short of ideas when you want to pitch something new, you want to write something about THIS ONE THING but don’t have an angle or the access you feel you need. This session covers a variety of writing types within the world of arts and culture and how to generate ideas in each of them, sometimes through simple word-association exercises, sometimes through more serious internal investigation.

Class 2: Opinions & Commentary Pieces

So, you have a take, do you? NO YOU DON’T THAT’S WHY YOU’RE TAKING THIS CLASS. You know that you can write substantive critical commentary on the news, tech, celebrities, a new study that came out proving ravens are going to take over the Earth but often get lost in search of an original take that doesn’t rely on gimmicks or blaming millennials for it all. This class covers best practices in being part of the cultural conversation where these stories live, various formats and angles that you can plug into without making your headline look like a Hot Take Mad Lib (Avocado Toast Is Ruining The Housing Market In Space!)

Class 3: Identity/Experience Essays

People love to shit on personal essays because they think the people writing them are strip-mining their very souls to come up with the content. Most personal essays don’t require you to do anything of the sort. They do not rely on confession, but on experience and expertise in a given area, usually because of particular identities, ranging from race, gender, and sexual orientation to sports affiliation, family size growing up, region where you live and work, and who your favorite member of One Direction is/was. This class will focus on how to develop identity/experience stories to life in ways that are relevant to a broad audience and that don't compromise your integrity or privacy.