Upcoming classes: Fiction
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ READ MORE
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.→ 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 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