Go Figure: Musings from the Mind of Rob Wilstein
If you’re like me, dean of students at the University of Orlando Online Writing School, you’ve taken your fair share of writing classes designed to turn you into the kind of author you aspire to be. You’ve read writing books up the wazoo, by critics and authors, found encouragement from fellow writers, discussed craft and inspiration with anyone who’d listen.
These workshops have covered every aspect of the art of writing in thorough detail, leaving nothing out of the toolbox. From writing prompts, A man enters the room, naked save for a pair of cowboy boots, and then…, to using dialogue to further the plot, “What a lovely dress, were you wearing it when you bludgeoned Colonel Mustard in the Library with the candlestick? to classes in structure, Plot? Do we really need it? 101, and The Story Arc: Fact or Fiction?
All well and good, but where are the workshops for the real world of writing, classes to assist the burgeoning writer in his/her daily existence? Now, thanks to the University of Orlando’s innovative online program, available to anyone with a computer and ten thousand dollars in unmarked bills, you too can write a novel and learn how to live with it. When you enroll in U of O’s online wholly non-accredited program in the art of practically writing you will learn the secrets of how to succeed as a writer, on the page and in the world.
Our course catalog features something for the writer in all of us.
1. Intro to Introductions
Prerequisite: None, but must be capable of social interaction.
This course will benefit all writers who find themselves forced into occasional interaction with other human beings, providing snappy answers to oft heard questions when introduced as a writer. From “Oh, would I have heard of you?” and “Where do you get your ideas?” to “Can you really make a living that way?” Learn the art of reaching for your cell phone, excusing yourself for a call from your agent. Turn an awkward moment around with a timely stomach cramp, collapsing to the floor in agony.
2. How to Write at Work (and still keep your job).
Prerequisite: Must have a job
A weekend workshop designed to assist the writer employed at a desk job (must have access to a computer) who just can’t find the time at home to finish that darned novel. Techniques covered include rapid window closing when the boss appears, feigning illness and bringing your laptop into the bathroom stall, and foisting work onto your co-worker disguised as an act of generosity. Sound-cancelling ear buds, delivered to your work site, included in tuition.
3. Creating Memoir 101
Prerequisite: Kindergarten Education
Want to write memoir but can’t think of a damned thing to write about? Nothing of note ever happened to you in your life? This is the workshop for you. A one-day seminar guaranteed to provide material for a non-put-downable screecher of a memoir. Through University of Orlando’s startling new discovery, online hypnosis will assist you in dredging up long-hidden memories from your dysfunctional childhood, digging into your sordid past, providing source material for a rollicking memoir.
Note: Should no harsh memories surface, you may be interested in our advanced class,
Creating Trauma through Shock Therapy.
4. Writing Discipline: How to Write Even When All You Want to Do is Lay on the Couch and Watch Gilmore Girls Reruns.
Prerequisite: Must have Life Insurance
You’ve tried all the advice from famous authors. Stay in the room. Write word by word, bird by bird. Take a break every half hour and walk. Turn off the internet and lock the door. But you still can’t seem to make yourself get down to business and write. Procrastination is your middle name.
This one week course requires attendance at our state-of-the-art campus located in downtown Orlando, Florida. The sprawling campus occupies a full floor of the SunLife Insurance Building plus an annex at the rear of the Starbucks across the street. During this dedicated week, our professionally trained instructors (former dolphin trainers at Sea World) will work with attendees on how to stay chained to their desks. They will do this by literally chaining students to their desks. You will finish your revision, or else. Any attempts to escape will be met by gentle encouragement from police tasers.
Note: Please bring your own supply of Red Bull and diapers.
5. The Loneliness of the Long Form Writer
Level: You Know Who You Are
Prerequisite: Emotional Neediness to a Fault
This one-day workshop is offered to survivors of the discipline course. Nobody understands the cost of being locked away in your writing study better than you, the writer. In this program, held in our Starbucks annex, students will share their feelings and lattes, focusing on whimpering, whining, and crying. Timely hugs will be provided by our professionally trained instructors (formerly cartoon character impersonators at Disney World). Lattes extra.
We hope this provides a helpful overview of our course selections here at the University of Orlando Online School. It is our mission to provide the working author with practical tools for the real world of writing.
J.R. Poppycock, Dean of Students