Upcoming classes

Register now for summer session classes! Early enrollment is strongly recommended, as course offerings frequently sell out. If an upcoming class is filled to capacity, please contact the instructor to request waiting list placement.

All upcoming classes are listed below. You may also browse these categories:


Anisse Gross

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MAY 28  |  Breaking into the world of freelance writing can seem mysterious and downright impossible at the outset. How will you make enough money? If you currently have a job, how do you transition into full-time freelancing? When can you take the plunge? Where will you find clients? How will you successfully pitch to publications, especially if you don’t have a portfolio?

It took me several years of pitfalls, wrong turns, financial struggling, over-caffeinated meltdowns, and learning on the job to successfully make it as a freelance writer. In this one-day bootcamp, I will teach you the fundamentals of how to successfully begin freelancing for a variety of publications including magazines, newspapers, websites, and other forms of paid writing and editing work.

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Lindsey Crittenden

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MAY 20  | 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.

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Cheryl Ossola

 

 

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 3  |  Point of view is one of the most essential aspects of imaginative writing. In fact, perspective is everything in narration, but writers sometimes place the narrator without understanding the implications of the choice they’ve made. In this one-day class, we’ll talk about POV options—the use of first, second, or third person as well as the manipulation of narrative distance and its impact on characterization across the genres of fiction, creative nonfiction, and even poetry. We’ll identity common POV “violations” and look at published examples, and we’ll respond to some writing prompts in class to experiment with POV.

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Lyzette Wanzer

 

 

 

TUESDAYS, JUNE 13 —27  |  One of the biggest challenges writers face is getting their work the recognition it deserves. You’ve been sending your work out—stories, articles, poems, plays—and you know it’s good work, but no one’s biting. You’ve applied for grants, travel scholarships, and writers’ conference funding, to no avail. You’d love to be invited to present work at Litquake or another high-profile reading series, or to read at a conference. You’d like to publish in literary journals that pay writers, and you’d like to start winning some writing contests. So what’s the missing link?

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Jenny Bitner

 

 

 

THURSDAYS, JUNE 15—JULY 13  |  Is it true or is it fiction – and does it matter? Often the lines between memoir and fiction can be blurry. And most of great literature has at least some elements of truth in it, from books that are largely autobiographical like Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and Chris Kraus’s Aliens and Anorexia to fictional worlds like Raymond Carver’s and Denis Johnson’s that are drawn from a world that could only be created through personal experience.

In this class we will explore memories, experiences, and characters from our own lives and turn them into fictional stories, blending the richness of our emotional and felt experiences with elements from our imagination to create compelling writing.

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Jenny Bitner

Jenny Bitner

 

 

 

SATURDAYS, JUNE 17 & JULY 8  | Do you want to make writing a part of your daily schedule? As a teacher I constantly see people who say they want to write but aren’t doing it. Creating a new habit takes support, and I’ve created this class to give you the accountability to get started. This class gives you the support to do the writing that you have been dreaming of doing and also draws on my training as a hypnotherapist to channel the unconscious to help you.  We will draw on research on the psychology of creating habits, use the power of the unconscious through hypnosis, and create a support structure to help you make a new habit of writing.

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Lindsey Crittenden

 

 

 

SATURDAYS, JUNE 17—JULY 15 | If you have started a writing project—or are longing to get one started—and need some structure and accountability and momentum, this is the class for you. Perhaps you’ve already taken a class and want to keep working in a structured environment. Or maybe you’ve been carving out writing time here & there on your own, and now’s the time to get more disciplined. Whatever your background, if you’re looking to generate pages and gain insight into your project, set aside five Saturdays this summer. You’ll find a supportive community designed to foster productivity and good writing habits.

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Eleanor Vincent

 

 

 

WEDNESDAYS, JUNE 21—JULY 26  |  In this class, we will delve into the effective construction of memoir – whether personal essay or book-length manuscript. Weaving together the threads of plot (the situation described) and theme (the deeper underlying truth), we will examine how to use these building blocks to create a strong foundation for your project.

“What happened to the writer is not what matters; what matters is the larger sense the writer is able to make of what happened,” writes Vivian Gornick, in The Situation and the Story, her seminal book on the art of the personal narrative.

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Lyzette Wanzer

 

 

 

WEDNESDAYS, JUNE 21—JULY 5  | Have you thought about enrolling in a Creative Writing M.F.A. program but feel intimidated by the application process? Do you fret about how to make your application rise to the top in a stack of fierce competitors? What are the most common application pitfalls, and how can you avoid them? You probably know how competitive these programs are and how exacting the admissions requirements can be. Learn to present each aspect of your application in the strongest light, and avoid both the blunders and the omissions that many of your fellow applicants will make.

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Rachel Howard

 

 

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 24  |  “Flat” writing hands off lifeless information in a two-dimensional exchange between reader and writer.  Three-dimensional writing places the reader in a charged space of heightened experience, renewed perspective, and active meaning-making.  How is that three-dimensionality created, and what do you do when you find your language stuck in 2-D?  This combination lecture and workshop for writers of fiction and literary nonfiction examines specific strategies for three-dimensionality drawn from contemporary writers like Sheila Heti, Jo Ann Beard, and Maggie Nelson, and classics by Marguerite Duras and Bruno Schulz. We will try out new techniques and tricks—but ultimately what you will achieve is a shift in consciousness that will help make your writing spacious and transporting.

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Lyzette Wanzer

 

 

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 25  |  Winning a literary grant is an exciting and rewarding development. Grants not only validate your work and provide support—and often, time—to focus on your writing projects. They also demonstrate that your work has achieved a level of professional attainment, underscore your seriousness of purpose, and boost your literary resumé credits. In turn, grants open more doors for writers, leading to even more funding, to higher-level publications, and to increased opportunities on many fronts.

This one-day bootcamp will cover:

  • The best places to locate funding opportunities;
  • What selection committees look for in the all-important personal statement;
  • What juries want to see in your artist statement-–and what they don’t want to see;
  • Why so many applications never make it to the judging round (and how to ensure your application doesn’t suffer a similar fate).
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Julia Scheeres

 

 

 

SUNDAY, JULY 16  |  This seminar could also be called Everything You Wanted to Know About Memoir But Were Afraid to Ask. We will discuss the elements that go into a successful memoir, including dramatic storytelling, tension, vivid characters, and clear sense of direction.

We will review the basic building blocks of storytelling – scene, summary and musing, and how to navigate the places where memory fails you. We discuss issues that arise from writing about living people. We will also address the publishing business, including how to increase your chances of finding an agent and getting published.

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TUESDAYS, JULY 18—AUGUST 22  |  Interested in reportage, but can’t afford J-school? (Or don’t have the time?) Curious about how to make sure your creative projects bristle with factual material or an apt dose of history? Wonder how investigative reporters pry secrets out of protective subjects? Want to write and sell fact-based stories that are also artful?

This six-week summer course will introduce you to the basic elements at the core of the craft of journalism and will examine the role these elements play in exemplary work. We will explore a breadth of topics, but we will also give the inside goop on journalistic ethics, best practices, and tricks of the trade.

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Anisse Gross

 

 

 

THURSDAYS, JULY 27—AUGUST 24  |  Pitching forms the core of all freelance writing careers. Writing a great pitch is essential to success in the field. In this course we will study successful (and unsuccessful) pitches to understand what makes a pitch great, and we will workshop one another’s pitches.

In this class, you will learn how to refine the angle of your story, conceptualize a hook, and use narrative techniques to draw the attention of editors. Whether you want to write for a small-scale blog or the New York Times, it’s essential that your pitch is good enough to get your foot in the door.

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Rachel Howard

 

 

 

SATURDAY, JULY 29  |  Why do some memoirs take off from the first page, while others stall out before the end of chapter one? More importantly: How can you make sure the memoir you’re writing gets all the necessary gears lined up on those all-important first five pages?

In this combination craft lecture and trouble-shooting workshop, you’ll learn the three Cs of narrative engine: Character, Conflict, and Clock. What’s clock, you say? Glad you asked. It’s a simple but elusive element that’s crucial to your story’s drive—but many memoir writers don’t realize their pages are missing it.

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Constance Hale

Constance Hale

 

 

 

SATURDAY, JULY 29  |  Six hours, 60 bucks, free bagels, buckets of grammar.  How can you resist? Grotto member Connie Hale will lead you through a series of hilarious exercises to perk up your writing in surprising ways. (We’ll use Sin and Syntax as our guide, but dip also into Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch.) Writers will stretch new muscles, disabuse themselves of bad habits, and duke it out in a war of words. We’ll also talk about how to cultivate that most elusive of literary elements: the writer’s voice. This 1-day session is perfect for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir who want to take their prose to the next level.

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Lindsey Crittenden

 

 

 

SATURDAYS, JULY 29—AUGUST 26 | This class is designed as a follow-up to Work in Progress Workshop. It is limited to students who have already taken the Work in Progress Workshop (or will have done so by end of July). Please do not sign up if you haven’t completed Work in Progress by the end of July, or if you haven’t written me to make sure this is a good fit for you. If you are looking to generate pages, my first class is the one for you.

This class focuses exclusively on the exchange and reading of your fiction or narrative nonfiction.

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Maw Shein Win

Maw Shein Win

 

 

 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 13 | In this intensive one-day workshop, you will learn and practice inventive strategies that will help generate fresh ideas and jumpstart your writing. Instructor Maw Shein Win will introduce a variety of diverse sources ranging from found photographs, musical excerpts, thrift store paintings to fine art, and non-literary texts such as junk mail to ignite your imagination and push your writing to new places. We will do unconventional in-class exercises and discuss our process. At the end of the workshop, you will leave with new writing and an invaluable list of resources and exercises to keep you moving forward.

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Laura Fraser

Laura Fraser

 

 

 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 13  |  Michel de Montaigne, perhaps the father of the personal essay, wrote, “I have never seen no greater monster nor miracle than myself.” The personal essay has to identify the monster within us, and accomplish the miracle of transformation, through understanding and enlightenment. You have to track down the monster inside you, and worse, reveal it to the reader, and then describe how you set out to slay it. The transformation from monster to miracle is what makes your life interesting. A personal essay, above all, is not about you—it is about the story.

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Rachel Howard

 

 

 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 20  |  In an eye-opening craft essay, the poet Tony Hoagland identifies three “power centers” that poets work from: Image, Diction, and Rhetoric. Hoagland’s essay may be pitched to poets, but getting in touch with these “power centers” can be ransformative for prose writers, too. In this short but substantive one-day class for memoirists, essayists, and fiction writers, we’ll closely read and thoroughly digest Hoagland’s article, then apply it to the widely-loved Annie Dillard essay, “Living Like Weasels.” Examining your own work, you’ll consider whether your writing is currently strongest in Image, Diction, or Rhetoric.

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Anisse Gross

 

 

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 26  |  Breaking into the world of freelance writing can seem mysterious and downright impossible at the outset. How will you make enough money? If you currently have a job, how do you transition into full-time freelancing? When can you take the plunge? Where will you find clients? How will you successfully pitch to publications, especially if you don’t have a portfolio?

It took me several years of pitfalls, wrong turns, financial struggling, over-caffeinated meltdowns, and learning on the job to successfully make it as a freelance writer. In this one-day bootcamp, I will teach you the fundamentals of how to successfully begin freelancing for a variety of publications including magazines, newspapers, websites, and other forms of paid writing and editing work.

READ MORE

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