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:
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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