Upcoming classes: Nonfiction
THURSDAYS, OCTOBER 5 —NOVEMBER 9 | This workshop is geared toward intermediate to advanced writers who would like to receive regular feedback on their work. Each week’s session will begin with a discussion of a short reading on craft or a few pages from a narrative. Students will then read aloud a few pages of their own work (500 – 1,000 words) and receive constructive feedback from their instructor and peers.
The aim of this workshop is to give participants regular writing deadlines and encouragement as they polish their prose. Your only homework—aside from brief, inspirational readings—will be to write, write, write.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7 | Every writer has had the terrifying experience of reading their own work and wondering why a total stranger would be interested. Often, the missing element to successfully lure a reader into your work is plot. Maybe you’ve created a riveting character, yet if nothing is happening on the page, if the protagonist isn’t under any duress, a reader’s attention will wander.
In this seminar, we will examine ways to pace and structure your plot points to extract every drop of excitement from them. We will also do some in-class writing to share with the group.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15 | 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
SATURDAYS, NOVEMBER 4 & 11 | Point of view is one of the most essential aspects of imaginative writing. Perspective is everything in narration, but writers sometimes choose a narrator without understanding the implications of the choice they’ve made. In the first 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 identify common POV “violations” and look at published examples, and we’ll respond to some writing prompts in class to experiment with POV.→ READ MORE
SATURDAYS, NOVEMBER 11—DECEMBER 16 | Once relegated to the realm of belles lettres, the lyrical essay has become a highly popular genre in multiple disciplines, from journalism to the personal essay. Authors from Purpura and Forché to Didion and Dillard have written them. But what, exactly, is this form? Poetic essay or essayistic poem? Both – or neither? The form employs a series of images or ideas, rather than chronicle or argument, to sculpt a narrative. Often inconclusive, lyrical essays reach beyond archetypal classical frames to a meditative sense of place and displacement.
We’ll begin by identifying key components of the form, learn how to negotiate its terrain, and then get down to the business of crafting a lyric essay.→ READ MORE
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12 | The beauty of nonfiction books is that they can frequently be sold on the basis of a 40- to 60-page proposal. What is a proposal? Essentially, it is a business plan for your book – a document that outlines your book’s basic premise, provides data indicating that there’s a sizable audience for it, and otherwise convinces a publisher to give you money to write it. Memoirs, narrative journalism, business books, histories, and biographies can all be sold on proposal.
In this seminar, students will learn the seven components of a book proposal, read examples of proposals that sold, and get the lowdown on the publishing industry – including the best way to find an agent.→ READ MORE
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18 | At a time when the words “spiritual” and “faith” (never mind “religion”) can make us all nervous, how can we write—and read—about our beliefs and doubts without coming across as preachy, vague, or insipid? How do we describe the ineffable without sinking into abstraction? And do we embrace questions – doubts, even – without sounding wishy-washy? Just what is spiritual writing anyway?
In this one-day seminar, we’ll explore examples both contemporary and classic — from fiction writers such as Flannery O’Connor, Joy Williams, and Andre Dubus; poets Gerald Manley Hopkins and Pattiann Rogers; essayists Anne Lamott and Brian Doyle.→ READ MORE
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19 | 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