Upcoming classes: Nonfiction
MONDAYS, JANUARY 14 —FEBRUARY 11 | Writing about our families—those people who influence our lives most profoundly—is deeply personal and marked by passion, conflict and emotion. It can be both inspirational and challenging. How much detail is too much? How can we best utilize small or large swaths of family life to inform our writing?
Whether you want to tell your family’s history or write a memoir based on your grandmother’s life, your child’s birth story, or a fictional account of your distant cousin’s escapades, this class will help you to shape those family tales into compelling, polished stories.→ READ MORE
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16 | Big challenges can spark writing that is personal, meaningful and cathartic. As a seriously ill patient as well as a caregiver for my mom, I channeled my grief into a book project and writing assignments (to help pay the bills and avoid going crazy) – often using humor. The writing you create in this class will help kick start your writing process and give you tools for processing your grief. All writing levels and genres are welcome.
We’ll read from the masters, Oliver Sacks and Joan Didion, and do our own generative short exercises to explore how to find points of entry into personal experiences of loss.
MONDAYS, JANUARY 21 —FEBRUARY 11 | This class is for writers who are ready to write engaging true crime stories. It is an active learning class, designed to help you to complete a short form (600 -1500 words) crime story. You should come to the first class with a specific story outline or a work in progress. Students will be expected to read each others’ work before each class. We’ll consider the ethics, point of view and legal issues in writing true crime. We’ll work on selecting a story, creating a compelling first paragraph, researching skills, interviewing techniques, trial reporting, and story structure, development, and conclusion.→ READ MORE
TUESDAYS, JANUARY 22 — FEBRUARY 5 | For a freelance journalist, essayist, or nonfiction writer, a good pitch letter can not only generate work but open doors, build new relationships, or kickstart a career. But crafting the best pitch, targeting it to the right publication, and getting it in front of the right person isn’t always simple.
In this class, you’ll gain new insights into what editors are looking for and why—as well as all the reasons they don’t want to assign you that story—and learn new ways to make your pitch letters as compelling as possible.→ READ MORE
SUNDAY, JANUARY 27 | Whether you’ve always dreamed of writing professionally, you already do, or you’d like to figure out how to create better content for your job or business, this class will improve your writing in one day – guaranteed! After some coffee, we’ll start off with Story and Structure in the morning. This will help you start the writing process: from getting over writers’ block, understanding your audience and purpose, doing research, brainstorming ,and creating an outline so that your writing is engaging, logical, smooth, and satisfying to the reader. We’ll also remind you of stuff you should’ve learned in high school but may have forgotten: how to avoid the dreaded passive voice, weak verbs, excess verbiage, and a corporate or academic tone.→ READ MORE
MONDAYS, FEBRUARY 4 —MARCH 11 | Need some structure and community to keep writing? If you’re looking to generate pages and gain insight into your project – whether fiction, memoir, personal essay, narrative nonfiction, or some combination thereof – set aside five Monday evenings this winter. You’ll find a supportive community designed to foster productivity and good writing habits. We’ll address specific craft issues as they come up, and I will be available for meeting one-on-one. You’ll have the opportunity to meet in small groups for feedback (with specific guidance), if you choose. Homework assignments are designed to help you meet your goals, wherever you may be in the process.→ READ MORE
WEDNESDAYS, FEBRUARY 6 —MARCH 13 | The most effective and vivid way for writers to transport readers into their world is to draw on the five senses. Yet, we often struggle to capture the intensity of sensorial experience on the page.
In this six-week class, we will spend one week each on the senses of smell, touch, taste, hearing and vision and practice igniting our writing with bolder, more specific language choices. Through sense exercises, in-class writing, and selected readings we will create a more vibrant palette of expression to enliven our work. By week six, students will be asked to produce a short piece of sensory fiction or nonfiction for workshop critique.→ READ MORE
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9 | Whether you’re writing about your own life in memoir or personal essay, or developing characters and situations for a fictional plot, imagery brings your material to life. Effective imagery goes far beyond flowery description to reveal character, mood, context, tone, setting, and theme. In this one-day intensive, we’ll explore how to make imagery work for you on the page. We’ll use exercises of intuition and right-brain association to harvest images, and we’ll look at how to choose and shape those images. Analyzing the uses of imagery in published pieces will help you cultivate your own voice and technique.→ READ MORE
TUESDAYS, FEBRUARY 12 — MARCH 12 | In this class, we’ll dive in to workshopping personal essays after a brief review of the form and reading some examples. We’ll work on structure, tone, voice, scenes, effective beginnings and endings, and how to create a narrative arc in a few pages. If you’re an experienced writer but haven’t written personal essays, or have some experience with essays but are not yet published, this is a great class for you, but it is limited to people who already have a writing practice and want to take their work to the next level with constructive (and never mean) feedback.
TUESDAYS, FEBRUARY 26 — MARCH 12 | No matter how compelling the characters, dialogue, or action, great scenes need a sense of place that all too often gets short shrift. And when your subject is a place itself, the task is only more demanding. It’s easy to fall back on list-making when writing about place, and that’s a tool that can be used to great effect, but there are so many more approaches to be explored.
We’ll dive into some great writing about place, and will look at specific techniques great writers use to capture the world around them, focusing on writing about the real world, but looking at fiction as well.→ READ MORE