Sci-fi author Drake’s free workshops popular among writers

Sci-fi and fantasy writer Maxwell Alexander Drake of North Las Vegas has hosted lectures and sat on panels at events such as San Diego’s Comic-Con International, Gen Con in Indianapolis and even at Saudi Arabia’s first Comic Con in February.

Las Vegas Valley residents interested in learning from the author don’t have to travel nearly as far. Drake hosts hosts free writing workshops at Centennial Hills Library, where he’s been teaching two classes a month for nearly seven years.

Drake, 49, covers topics such as character development, the anatomy of a fight scene and the business of publishing and maintaining a writing career. He posts about upcoming classes through his Meetup.com group, Las Vegas Creative Writing Class, which has more than 2,000 members. The group usually meets on Sundays or Mondays.

He said that he does it because he’s “just trying to make better writers.” Drake takes a personable approach with students, he said, combined with “a dash of brutal honesty.” (He has published two nonfiction books in a series titled “Drake’s Brutal Writing Advice.”)

Drake described his teaching style as blue-collar, because it’s for people who want to write but who — like Drake — don’t have a college degree. He said he spent 15 years researching about writing, which he equates to the level of a college degree.

“I teach high-end concepts in a fun way,” Drake said. “I don’t teach in a way that a third-grader wouldn’t understand.”

Drake’s mother, who retired in Las Vegas, convinced him to move from Pittsburgh in 2007 by offering to pay his bills for one year. His ninth novel, “Farmers and Mercenaries: Book 1 of the Genesis of Oblivion Saga,” was his first to be published, in 2008. He began teaching at the Las Vegas Writers Conference that year.

A manager at Clark County Library asked him to teach a writing class, Drake said. He also started teaching at Centennial Hills Library, which was closer to his home. When the Clark County Library lost some of its funding, he kept teaching at Centennial Hills, he said.

Aspiring fiction writer Susan Joslyn moved to North Las Vegas in 2016. She found Drake’s workshop on Meetup and attended two lectures with her daughter, although they were the same lecture, she said. She’s been going almost every month since .

“I was really struggling with (point of view), and I had a zillion questions about it,” Joslyn said. “He’s very good about if you ask a question, he’ll do his best to answer it. (And) when I left that day, I understood it. He’s a very good communicator. … I’ve read books and listened to several podcasts, but his are the best because he has all of these personal examples, and you can really relate to how he solves the problem that you’re trying to solve.”

Drake has helped her with a book that she’s writing, Joslyn said. They also have private writing sessions that Drake charges for.

Tammy Gieseking, the Centennial Hills branch manager, said Drake’s classes average about 20 participants; other similar adult programs at the library average fewer than 15. Attendees don’t have to have a library card to participate.

“(That’s) pretty good for an adult program of this type,” Gieseking said. “ … (When) you have someone here doing classes for seven years and they have never fallen off, it shows that he provides a real value to the community.”

After receiving several requests to host online workshops from aspiring writers outside of Las Vegas, Drake launched an online platform, Drake U, where he posts video lectures and provides handouts free. Some content will require a subscription, but the cost hasn’t been decided yet, Drake said.

Contact Kailyn Brown at kbrown@viewnews.com or 702-387-5233. Follow @kailynhype on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like