Yesterday's writing class was indeed interesting, offering plenty of insight into generating solid characters and plots, using three flexible tools -- one to work out a premise and basic character,* one to get better insight into that character, and a useful "fifteen-beat" plot structure that at least provides a start on telling the story.
The instructor was engaging and enthusiastic, which always helps. Outside of writing, she's a primary educator, which means (for us students) the bonus of a teacher with readable handwriting and excellent classroom skills. Add in what I took to be a certain joy at not having to limit her vocabulary nor skirt sniggersome terms and topics, and it was a remarkably pleasant class.
And it was good material. Like any other approach to writing, it can become formulaic if followed too rigidly; but stories (mine, at least) tend to wander without some guide. My outlines have been sketchy to non-existent and that has been a source of difficulty. This may well help.
The work stuff? I don't know. I haven't asked. They have my phone numbers.
* Primarily a set of small-to-middling "what ifs," charted out in a manner similar to a mind map. Do this through even a few iterations and you'll have generated not just one story idea but several.
Working On A Starship
4 weeks ago