For this installment of the “Writing with…” series, we will do some light summer reading. P. G. Wodehouse’s Right Ho, Jeeves is widely considered to be the best and most representative of his 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, until his exceedingly capable valet Jeeves wades in and puts everything to rights.
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. 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.
In Writing with Jeeves and Wooster, we will read Right Ho, Jeeves in order to understand 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.
Writing with Jeeves and Wooster includes six 90-minute live lectures* via Zoom, as well as a dedicated online forum for discussion and writing exercises. It will last from June 22nd to August 3rd.
Topics to be covered include (but are not limited to):
- Humor Writing
- First-Person Narration
- Understatement and Overstatement
- Story structure
- Narrative Pacing
*Recordings of the lectures will also be available for learners who can’t attend the live lectures.
Jonathan Rogers is the author of The Terrible Speed of Mercy, one of the finest biographies of Flannery O’Connor we've ever read. His other books include the Wilderking Trilogy–The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking–as well as The World According to Narnia and a biography of Saint Patrick. He has spent most of his adult life in Nashville, Tennessee, where he and his wife Lou Alice are raising a houseful of robustious children.