Always wanted to write a novel, but need help getting started? Resolve to make this the year you finally achieve your goal with the help of the fiction writing classes coming soon to the Mountain Arts Community Center on Signal Mountain.
Two five-week courses will be held Wednesdays beginning Jan. 17, with one class from 2-3:30 p.m. and another from 5:30-7 p.m. Since the fifth class falls on Valentine's Day, instructor Loretta Lynn Leda said she may postpone that class a week depending on the participants' preferences.
Each week, attendees will focus on a particular piece of the fiction writing "puzzle," such as plot, subplot, setting, narrative, action, point of view and characters. Leda will also be bringing in other authors as guest speakers and sharing resources, tips and tricks helpful to writers, she said.
"The idea is to learn from each other," she said of the class, which is directed toward adults with any level of writing experience.
Leda, a Hixson resident who moved to the Chattanooga area from central Florida six years ago, has been writing nonfiction for newspapers and magazines for more than two decades, and also authored an outdoor travel book, "Paddling Everglades National Park," published by Falcon Guides in 2009.
She recently delved into the world of fiction writing and finished her first novel, a 100,000-word work that falls in the mystery and suspense genre, and is currently working on her second.
› Keep your resolution to get fit in the new year while also learning self-defense through the six-week iKickbox class beginning Thursday, Jan. 4. Mark Johnson, martial arts trainer, will train participants using hand targets, body bags and standalone bags. The program will not only build the confidence and strength needed to fend off an attacker, but also provide stress and tension relief.
› Learn American Sign Language with instructor Troy Bowman. The first in a two-course sequence that fulfills foreign language credit requirements for high school students begins Tuesday, Jan. 9. Students will develop beginning-level ASL communication skills and be introduced to American deaf culture and history. In addition, three separate classes are being offered for kindergartners through second-graders, adults and teens, and senior citizens, each starting Jan. 8. A class for third- through fifth-graders starts Jan. 10 and a class for toddlers ages 2-4 starts Jan. 12.
› Those with stacks of photos gathering dust in their drawers can learn to digitize their precious heirloom pictures through “Legacy Tales” classes Jan. 20. During Part 1, instructors Hilarie and Ben Robison will show participants how to scan old photos with a scanner or phone. For Part 2, participants will learn to store digitized photos in an organized way using free technology to simplify the tasks of management and sharing.
While Leda had some creative-writing coursework in high school and college, she said much of her knowledge of the craft comes from fellow writers in the authors group she had in Florida. Group members would critique one another's work and hear tips from guest speakers such as a copyright attorney and other published authors, she said.
One thing Leda learned through the group was that authors must do a lot of their own marketing, a topic she'll address in her classes. Students will learn how to create their own website to build their brand as well as their audience, said Leda.
They'll also learn how to go about getting their work published, either through the traditional route of finding an agent or self-publishing.
The cost for either five-week class is $100 for town of Signal Mountain residents or $115 for nonresidents. For those who want to learn more about fiction writing but can't make it to either of these classes, Leda said she hopes to offer more classes and workshops at the community center in the future.
Mountain Arts Community Center is at 809 Kentucky Ave. and can be reached at 886-1959, or visit signalmacc.org to register online. For more information about the class, call Leda at 605-4719, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at daisydreamgirlllc.wixsite.com/lorettalynnswriting/classes.
Email Emily Crisman at email@example.com