It’s summertime, and my “Writing with...” series of six-week creative writing classes will continue with one of my go-to authors for light summertime reading. P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster books are hilarious from start to finish. The situations are funny, the characters are funny, the plots are funny, the narrator’s voice is funny, the dialogue is funny, almost every sentence is funny. I’m willing to admit that Wodehouse isn’t exactly Dostoyevsky, but he’s a genius at what he does, and he does things that all storytellers need to be able to do. No lesser a light than Evelyn Waugh said of him, “Mr. Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.”
For this class we’ll be reading Right Ho, Jeeves, widely considered to be the best and most representative of the Jeeves and Wooster books. Our narrator is the lovably dunderheaded, overprivileged, never-employed Bertie Wooster. His good-hearted but bumbling attempts to solve his friends’ and relatives’ problems (not to mention his own) always make matters worse. In Right Ho, Jeeves, as in most (maybe all?) of the Jeeves and Wooster books, Wooster gets accidentally engaged to a young woman he doesn’t want to marry. And as in every Jeeves and Wooster book, Wooster’s preternaturally gifted valet Jeeves comes along behind and cleans up every mess.
In six 90-minute lectures, I will walk you through Right Ho, Jeeves, examining exactly how Wodehouse creates such a unique voice, such a tight (if formulaic) plot, such lovable characters. Then, through weekly writing exercises and mutual feedback and discussion with your colleagues, you will apply Wodehouse’s principles and techniques to your own writing.
Via Zoom, we’ll meet on six Tuesdays (June 22 – August 3, with July 6 off). The student cohort will meet from 10am to 11:30am Central, and the adult cohort will meet from 3:00pm to 4:30pm Central. If you can’t attend a live lecture, a recording will be available. Between lectures, the conversation will continue in an online forum, where you can discuss with your classmates and post your writing exercises.
Separate Lectures (and Forums) for Adults and Not-Yet-Adults
I will be running two simultaneous but completely separate cohorts—one for adults (college-age and up) and one for high-school and middle-school students. In both the lecture/discussions and the forums, adults will interact with adults and students will interact with students.
On the registration page you can choose the appropriate cohort.
Some of the topics we’ll cover are:
- Humor Writing
- First-Person Narration
- Understatement and Overstatement
- Story structure
- Dramatic Irony
- Verbal Irony
- Situational Irony
- Narrative Pacing
Adults, High-Schoolers, Middle-Schoolers
Dates and Times:
Tuesdays, June 22 – August 3
10am-11:30am Central (student cohort)
3:00-4:30pm Central (adult cohort)
This course is included in The Habit Membership. If you are already a member, you don’t need to register. Writing With Jeeves and Wooster will appear in the Habit Content Library shortly before June 22. (Please note that The Habit Membership is limited to adults, college-age and up.)
I hope to see you in Writing With Jeeves and Wooster. Would you spread the word by forwarding this email or sharing the video below on social media?