Building a story from the scene up | VailDaily.com
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Building a story from the scene up

Cassie Pence

Professor Blair Oliver thinks writing is a bit egotistical: assuming people want to read what you have to say. And most writers, Oliver said, worry more about self expression than communication.”It’s a fine line between expressing myself and my ideas and my style, versus actually communicating something to an audience. Keeping in mind the audience needs, desires and interests,” Oliver said.Saturday Oliver leads “The Writer’s Craft: Walking the Tightrope from Storyteller to Reader,” a class designed to help balance self expression and communication. “I don’t think communication necessities sacrificing style or personal vision,” Oliver said. “As a writer you have to pay attention to why a reader comes to a story in the first place. Why is the reader picking this story up, what is the reader hoping to get from this.”Oliver will discuss active reading. You must retrain yourself to read like a writer, Oliver said, paying close attention to the choices the writer makes and why those particular choices were made.”We’ll look at how the writer took us from point A to point B very carefully to see how a story is built. In some cases on a sentence by sentence level. But more so on a macro level,” Oliver said.Then the class will practice writing, starting with a scene and exploring how to turn that scene into a larger story. Oliver will dive into the philosophical aspect of writing, examining communication as an art form and why it is important to tell stories.Oliver teaches literature and creative writing at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins. He has a master’s of fine art from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. in English from University of Denver. He writes mostly creative nonfiction essays about the outdoors. His published essays paint images of a rugged outdoors man wrestling with the demands of family life.”It is basically a comic version of myself trying to fish and trying to enjoy the outdoors, but having to change the diapers more often than not,” Oliver said.Oliver teaches “The Writer’s Craft: Walking the Tightrope from Storyteller to Reader” Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Colorado Mountain College (CMC) in Edwards, Community Room 200/201. The class is $15 for Vail Symposium supporters and CMC students and faculty and $25 for all others. For more information, contact the Vail Symposium at (970) 476-0954.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado


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