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
Political refugees and immigrants learn about Thanksgiving in Las Vegas
Political refugees and immigrants learn about Thanksgiving traditions at Catholic Charities. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Lights FC coach Eric Wynalda lost his home in California wildfire
Eric Wynalda, coach of the Las Vegas Lights FC soccer team, talks about losing his home in the deadly California wildfires during an interview in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 17, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Women face issues from Essure birth control implants
DeVonna "Kat" Normand said she had complications from the Essure birth control implants. Normand uses her Sin City Heat show at 22.3 TakeOver Vegas Radio internet radio station in Las Vegas as a platform to raise awareness about Essure and connect with other women who have used the device. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Truancy and Clark County schools
Tony Stark, one of 23 attendance officers with the Clark County School District, have a tall order tracking down students who aren't in school.
North Las Vegas Water Meters
Randy DeVaul shows off the new water meters that the city is installing.
Project 150 Thanksgiving 2018
About 100 volunteers for Project 150 box Thanksgiving meals for high school students and their families in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste.
Parade preparation nears completion
Downtown Summerlin prepares for its annual holiday parade.
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like