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Writing classes in Charlotte

These writing classes are open to any level writer and sponsored by The Writers’ Workshop, a non-profit center since 1985. Classes meet at Providence Presbyterian Church, Providence Road, Charlotte, on Saturdays, 12-5 p.m.  Registration is in advance only, at www.twwoa.org. For more info, contact writersw@gmail.com  or 828-254-8111. Financial assistance is available for low-income writers.

March 19:  Science Fiction Writing with Norris Orbach. The class will discuss award- winning science fiction stories, and learn techniques of science fiction writing such as creating a simplified plot, and how to create a workable world in a strange environment. Themes such as robots, time travel and extraterrestrials will also be examined. Students may bring up to five pages or a story idea to the class for review. Orbach has taught writing for over 16 years at community colleges, and at UNCA’s OLLI Center. $75/$70 members.

April 9:  Building a Platform From Scratch with Jane Gari. Agents and editors are more eager to take on writers who have proven their self-promoting hustle pre-contract. Getting published isn’t just about your book. It’s about you and your sphere of influence — your platform. Platform building is about fostering relationships and meaningful interactions with your audience. In this workshop you’ll learn how to: create a following and gain public visibility; define your target audience and design platform outlets with them in mind; brand yourself in a way that makes you attractive to readers; network effectively. Gari has been published in print and online in literary journals, arts magazines, and blogs such as Writers Digest. Her memoir was published by Touch Point Press, and she is under contract with Alpha Books for a book in the Idiot’s Guides series. $75/$70 members.

Mayes on ‘Bookwatch’

Frances Mayes talks about “Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir” on “North Carolina Bookwatch” Thursday, March 10, at 5 p.m. “Bookwatch’s” Sunday airing will be preempted for special programming.

While Hillsborough author Mayes is best known for writing about Tuscany, especially for the bestselling “Under the Tuscan Sun,” her other work has drawn praise from reviewers.

The New York Times reviewer, Roy Hoffman, wrote that “Under Magnolia” “inverts the geometry of Mayes’s Tuscan books, placing Fitzgerald (her Georgia hometown) in the foreground as she tunnels back to the 1940s and ’50s, when her parents, charismatic yet explosive Garbert and beautiful, fragile Frankye, were ‘fated to the one-mile-square town, wearing out the streets with their heels and tires, wearing out their expectations, wearing out their love.’”

After growing up, Mayes left the South. About her return a few years ago she writes, “I returned to a South where racism, while not erased, is no longer publicly virulent, and this makes it an entirely different South from the one I knew. You still can see the Stars and Bars flying over a trailer in the woods on Martin Luther King Day, still hear an occasional slur from someone who doesn’t have the sense to see that you don’t agree. But mostly the good inheritance of southern manners in both races prevails.”

About her recent memoir is about growing up in the small town South. USA Today’s Sharon Peters wrote, “One can almost taste the mushiness of ‘a pot of once-green beans falling apart in salt pork’; one can almost smell the cloying scent of honeysuckle, gardenias and overripe peaches that infuse the always-too-humid air.”

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