SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 | Save thousands of dollars hiring professional editors by learning to edit your own work. As a freelance book editor of 13 years, I see the same mistakes over and over. From exercises to improve your story arc, character development, dialogue and description, to tips for copyediting your completed manuscript, I’ll teach you how to turn your good manuscript into a great manuscript in this one-day intensive workshop. Bring a sample of your work (10 pages) and lunch. I’ll provide tea and snacks.
Meghan Ward is an author, book editor, and social media consultant.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 | “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.
SATURDAYS, SEPTEMBER 29 & OCTOBER 6 | Getting published is a thrill. The joy of creation combines with the opportunity to inform, entertain or inspire a broad audience. But if you’ve ever contemplated a career as a freelance writer, you probably know it’s a jungle out there. Competition is stiff and writing skills don’t translate easily into income. To succeed, you have to carefully plan your career.
In this course, you’ll create a road map to realize your fondest literary ambitions. Do you want to make money? Get published in top magazines? Hit the bestseller list?
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 | 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.
TUESDAYS, OCTOBER 2 & 9 | Whether it’s a love letter, a business or book proposal, an opinion piece, or a sales pitch, persuasive writing is a big part of our lives. Yet we so often shy away from putting language to work for us in these contexts, or fail to take advantage of simple techniques that can make this kind of writing more effective.
In this two-part class, we’ll look at ways your writing can help do the job of persuasion, whether in a personal, a professional, or a social context. We’ll look at famous love letters, including Napoleon’s and Frida Kahlo’s, and extract lessons from some of the best known persuasive speeches and other texts throughout history.
WEDNESDAYS, OCTOBER 3 —NOVEMBER 14 | Often considered one of the most difficult forms to master, the short story is a balancing act of brevity and depth. In this craft workshop, we will read great short stories from authors like James Baldwin, Alice Munro and Carmen Maria Machado that have particular strength in character, plot, setting, and emotional resonance and use these stories to discuss the craft of short story writing. We will workshop your stories with these masters in mind. The best way to develop your craft is to imitate the masters.
Jenny Bitner‘s short stories have appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, PANK, The MississippiReview, The Sun and The Fabulist.
THURSDAYS, OCTOBER 4 —NOVEMBER 15 | How do we grab the attention of our readers and pull them into our stories? By imbuing our pages with a raw humanity that elicits a deep emotional response in them. A finely crafted opening will keep the reader turning pages, curious about the fate of our characters or subject matter.
Your first pages set the stage for the rest of your book. What works? Masterful storytelling. Strong characters. Artful language. Tension. Drama. A clear sense of theme and direction. A mystery. Elements that keep readers hooked, eager to know more.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6 | Artist statements are not just for visual artists and performers; in the 21st century, writers need them, too. You will use some incarnation of this statement on your own web page and media account, in personal and project statements for residency applications, and in letters of intent for grant and fellowship applications. Your statement needs to demonstrate that you are a thoughtful, deliberate writer who takes her literary career seriously. Bear in mind that this statement speaks for you on grant, fellowship, grad school, conference, and residency applications. Learn how to cast your work in its strongest, most evocative light.