METHOD WRITING is an organic approach to the creative process, a way of finding your deep, authentic voice. You will also learn to write using “tonal dynamics” to make your writing more fluid and compelling. The Method does not deal with traditional approaches to writing that emphasize structure and form – the three-act structure of the screenplay, for instance, or the study of formal approaches to the novel, or even technical aspects of writing contemporary poetry. There is nothing wrong with studying structure and form, but I do not believe that structure and form alone will make your writing better. Writing is writing, no matter what form or structure it takes, and your reader will always be hooked by your voice, not by your structure. Like method acting, which focuses on truth and organic process, Method Writing deals with the inner voice and how it can be used to create unique works of art, true to your own voice and style, true to your own vision and point of view, true to your own life experience—whether you’re writing poems, stories, novels, plays, screenplays, non-fiction, memoir, shopping lists, recipes, ransom notes, etc. If you plan to study Method Writing, you’d begin with Level One: The First Four Concepts, whether or not you are a beginning writer or someone who has won the National Book Award and the Nobel Prize. While there are many “advanced” levels to Method Writing, I consider the entry level class the “most advanced” class of all. When you enroll in the Level One class, you’ll be working from my textbook, Method Writing: The First Four Concepts. Once you’ve completed that first level course, you may go on to take my advanced level classes. There are 4 advanced level classes based on the concepts in my second book, Advanced Method Writing: The Art of Tonal Dynamics. For more info on classes, or to sign up for a particular class, go to this page.
from the Learning Tree:
Jack is one of the great teachers of creative writing. Whether you are an experienced writer, or just beginning your journey into the craft, Jack Grapes will teach you his exciting techniques for finding the central themes in your life, and ways to express them in your writing that will engage and involve your readers. You will empower your art with the ‘deep voice,’ that natural, unique flow within you, and learn strategies for getting your work published. You will learn to use the ‘transformation line,’ as a tool to activate your work and catch feelings and insights. You will learn to create compelling cinematic scenes via the use of his ‘Image-Moment’ concept. By concentrating on process, rather than product, you will learn to find the ‘invisible form’ within your work, a creative mechanism that will enrich your writing and creative life.
THE FIRST FOUR CONCEPTS
The entry level class is for both beginners and experienced writers. You might feel you’re experienced enough to enter my “advanced” classes without taking the basic class, but without the foundation of those first four concepts, the techniques presented in the advanced classes will not be as effective. I’m always telling my advanced students that the most advanced class of all is the level one class. Mastering the process taught in that beginning class will have a major impact on your work as a writer, whether you are a beginner or a writer who has written for years. Finding the deep voice within you, learning to use its tonal dynamics, and the ability to write from the right side of the brain are the most significant skills you can possess as a writer. You will find your true voice, uncover your basic themes and life subjects, and reach your reader with a compelling voice. I teach six weekly classes on zoom during the week, and you can sign up for any one of those six weekly classes (see schedule below). Each class runs for seven weeks. The Tuesday class is reserved for those doing the entry Level One class, the other classes are a mixture of those doing Level One and those doing various advanced levels — sort of like a little red schoolhouse format. Whichever class you take, you’ll be working from the Level One book Method Writing: The First Four Concepts. For more information regarding schedule, dates and times that classes meet, cost of class, and other details, it’s best to contact me by going to the contact page and sending me your mailing address, zip code, phone contacts, etc. I will send you any information not expressly detailed on this web site.
from Laura Dern:
What I treasure about Method Writing is that it is a brilliant lesson in connecting and staying true to one’s voice. From that place, the writer can go anywhere. It is the core teaching that has made me passionate about acting as well.
THE LOS ANGELES POETS & WRITERS COLLECTIVE
I’ll be glad to “snail” mail you the info packet which includes the orange enrollment form and more information about the Los Angeles Poets & Writers Collective. The Collective grew out of the classes and is made up of current and former students who wish to create avenues of exposure for their writing. Anyone taking a class of mine is automatically a part of the Collective, and you may participate in any way you please. As we like to say, there are no dues and no meetings. Projects are generated by individual members of the Collective for everyone’s benefit. Anyone can start the ball rolling on any project, and they have the resources of anyone or everyone in the Collective at their disposal. The ultimate goal is not only to provide writing workshops and seminars, but to help those poets and writers get wider exposure for their work, whether it be publication or production. The Collective publishes several literary journals, including ONTHEBUS. To get the “info packet” go to this page.
from Hank Azaria, actor, voice of Simpsons, many TV shows, series, and movies:
Jack’s Method Writing system breaks down the very daunting process of creative writing into bite-sized chunks that are actually fun and easy. If you follow his directions you will be amazed at what you are able to put down on paper. I wish that the mechanics of craft were as well laid out when I was taught “method” acting. Jack’s techniques are an incredible series of shortcuts that lead you down a wonderful path of your own making.
Often a piece written in class ends up being used as an acting monologue or is expanded to become a play or screenplay. Jennifer Haft and Shannah Laumeister’s One-Woman Show for Two Women grew out of journal entries written in class. It ran for several months at The Complex Theatre in Hollywood, and a book based on the show was published. Shannah Laumeister’s second one-woman show, produced by Harvey Keitel, ran in New York. A producer bought the film rights to Sue Gaetzman’s one woman show, Blood Sugar, which was based on journal entries she wrote in class. Writer/director Karen Moncreif’s film, Blue Car, was based on work she did in class. Juliette Jeffers’s one-woman show had an extended run at the Egyptian Theatre. Vanessa Williams made a film based on work done in several classes. Her film, Dense, is now in distribution. Collective publications include individual books, literary journals such as ONTHEBUS, and various anthologies too numerous to list here. To buy ONTHEBUS literary journal go here. To buy anthologies featuring members of the collective go here. To buy Bombshelter Press books featuring individual writers go here.
from Jay Wolpert, screenwriter: Pirates of the Caribbean, The Count of Monte Cristo
Jack, first of all, if I don’t get a chance to tell you this at the closing class party, I want to do it now: I got so much more from your class than I ever thought possible, and in ways you may not have even thought possible. I have seen talented teachers before, talented, erudite teachers before . . . even talented, erudite, charismatic, funny teachers before. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen any teacher with all that, also be as generous and empathetic as you. I simply have never known a teacher who not only gives but receives as completely as you do.
Most of my books are available on Amazon, especially Last of the Outsiders: Collected Poems, 1968-2019, and Wide Road to the Edge of the World: 301 Haiku with a prose introduction, “A Windswept Spirit,” in 201 chapters and 601 paragraphs. Some of my books are either out of print or in limited editions and can only be purchased through Bombshelter Press. Go to here for a complete list. All classes and workshops will be held on Zoom until further notice.
from Helen Hunt ON METHOD WRITING:
If you want to write, if you know deep down that you should be writing but don’t know how to get there from here, Method Writing will make you a better writer, and that’s the point. It’s not about style, it’s about voice. It’s not about plot, it’s about character, and voice creates character, character creates plot. And finally, just as in Method Acting, It’s not about the result —- the product — but about the inner truth — the process. The first four concepts in Jack’s beginner class make it exquisitely simple.
Weekly classes available every quarter:
Weekly classes are held four times a year: Every quarter there are six weekly classes, and you can select the one that fits your schedule best. Classes times are flexible. You can zoom in anytime and stay for about 3 hours.
- Monday afternoons/evenings, 2pm to 8pm
- Tuesday afternoons/evenings, 2pm to 8pm
- Wednesday mornings, 7am to 12pm
- Wednesday afternoons, 2pm to 6pm
- Thursday mornings, 9am to 1pm
- Thursday afternoons, 2pm to 6pm
Classes run for 7 weeks:
- Summer 2020 Session begins the week of July 20th
- Fall 2020 Session begins the week of October 12
- Winter 2021 Session begins the week of January 18th
- Spring 2021 Session begins the week of April 19th
- Summer 2021 Session begins the week of July 19th
- Fall 2021 Session begins the week of October 11
One and/or Two Day Workshops:
- After normalcy resumes, classes will resume in my office, but I will continue to hold Zoom classes on specified days for those who live too far away to attend in person.
For the time being, all classes are held on Zoom. Contact me by clicking here for more information.