Get the Grant! (with Lizette Wanzer)

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Lizette Wanzer

Lizette Wanzer

Contact: RoadKing1200@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Date: Saturday, January 16

Course fee: $85

Get the Grant! is open to writers who plan to apply to the Literature Cultural Equity Grant, to the Literature Investing in Artists grant, or for a writers’ residency program. Those applying for other writers’ grants are welcome, though the focus will be on these specific grant opportunities.

We will cover:

  • Applicant qualifications
  • Defining a clear, feasible goal that costs a specific amount of money
  • How to demonstrate a rising trajectory (remembering that most people who are awarded grants are on their way up, not already there)
  • Tips for writing clear, concise statements that do not ramble
  • Using headings and “buckets” to make your statement navigable
  • The dreaded Project Statement, Work Plan, or Goals and Objectives portions of grant/residency applications

Lizette Wanzer is an Affiliate Artist at Headlands Center for the Arts. She received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Mills College. She has been awarded writing residencies at the Blue Mountain Center (NY), Kimmel Harding Center for the Arts (NE), Playa Summer Lake (OR), Horned Dorset Colony (NY), Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and The Banff Centre in Canada. She is the recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, an Individual Artist Commission grant from San Francisco Arts Commission, and two Professional Development Grants from the Creative Capacity Fund. Lizette has completed Gelatin Prints, a short story collection, and is currently at work on an essay collection entitled Jaywalking.

Writing for Social Change (with Jessica Pishko)

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Jessica Pishko

Jessica Pishko

Contact: jesspish@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Dates: Saturday, January 23

Course fee: $75

In this class we’ll discuss writing about social issues, with an eye towards advocacy. We’ll survey reporting techniques and research, as well as how to select appropriate publications to pitch. Then we’ll move on to structuring your piece to appeal to a mass audience, as well as how to maintain objectivity in the face of reporting. The class will culminate in a two-to-three paragraph pitch on your chosen topic.

Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She practiced corporate law, specializing in securities fraud, and represented death penalty clients and victims of domestic abuse pro bono. She has published personal essays in Racked, The Morning News, The Rumpus, and Lucky magazine.

Writing the Personal Essay (with Jessica Pishko)

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Jessica Pishko

Jessica Pishko

Contact: jesspish@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Dates: Saturday, February 6

Course fee: $75

Everyone has a story to tell, but how do you elevate your story to a personal essay? This course will focus on the 2,000-word personal essay for online and print publications. We will talk about how to elevate your story to something relatable to a mass audience. Other elements to discuss will be plot, setting, and character description.

Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She practiced corporate law, specializing in securities fraud, and represented death penalty clients and victims of domestic abuse pro bono. She has published personal essays in Racked, The Morning News, The Rumpus, and Lucky magazine.

Personal Essay: The Monster and the Miracle (with Laura Fraser)

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Laura Fraser

Laura Fraser

Contact: laura@laurafraser.com

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.

Dates: Sunday, November 22

Course fee: $125

Michel de Montaigne, perhaps the father of the personal essay, wrote, “I have never seen no greater monster nor miracle than myself.”  A successful personal essay has to identify the monster within you, and accomplish the miracle of transformation, through understanding and enlightenment. A personal essay isn’t really about you—it’s about that transformation, that story.

This one-day course will teach you how to craft a personal essay. How do you you take your personal experiences, ideas, blogs, or journal scraps and turn them into an essay? What is the difference between an essay that editors are excited about and one that never gets a return email? What are the three biggest sins of personal essay and how can you avoid them? By the end of the day, you will have an idea and a framework for a personal essay. Bring your lunch.

Laura Fraser is an award-winning essayist and journalist whose personal essays have been published in Modern Love in the New York Times, O, the Oprah Magazine; Marie Claire, and numerous other venues. She’s also the NYT-bestselling author of the memoirs An Italian Affair and All Over the Map.

Making Your Memoir Read Like a Novel: Using the Tools and Techniques of Fiction to Enhance Personal Storytelling (with Zoe FitzGerald Carter)

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Zoe Fitzgerald Carter

Zoe Fitzgerald Carter

Contact: zoecarter@mac.com

Number of sessions: 6

Time:  6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Dates: Mondays, October 5, 12, 19, 26; November 2 & 9

Course fee: $365

In this class, we will take the components of literary fiction — plot, scene, dialogue, character, etc — and apply them to memoir and personal essay.  We will start with structure (beginnings, endings, timelines and story arcs) and move towards more abstract issues of theme, metaphor and symbolism (What is your story REALLY about?). In between, we will talk about what makes up a strong narrative voice (tone, language, style), how to write convincing dialogue, and why it is important to think of yourself as a character on the page. The last night will be devoted to specific craft issues — everything from choosing strong verbs to avoiding qualifiers and other writerly flotsam.

Whether your writing is largely theoretical or fully underway, this class will give you a chance to think both deeply and practically about your work and develop your writing technique. We will read excerpts from novels, literary memoirs and first-person essays and each student will have a chance to submit a piece of writing for critique by the class. (Critiques are meant to be helpful and supportive; I maintain a strict no-snark zone in my class.)

Zoe FitzGerald Carter is the author of the memoir Imperfect Endings: A Daughter’s Story of Love, Loss, and Letting Go (Simon & Schuster).The book chronicles her mother’s decision to end her life after living with Parkinson’s disease for many years and the struggle Zoe and her two sisters had coming to terms with that choice. Paula Span of the New York Times said, “I could quote from this book all day,” and People magazine wrote Imperfect Endings “coaxes beauty from the bleak.” A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, Zoe has written for numerous publications including the New York Times, the San Francisco ChronicleSalon and Vogue. Zoe currently lives in the Bay Area and is at work on a nonfiction book about race, Facebook and unexpected kinship. She also performs with local string band Do Wrong Right. Learn more at www.ImperfectEndings.com.

Query Letter Workshop: Tips From a Literary Agent (with Chelsea Lindman)

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Chelsea Lindman

Chelsea Lindman

Contact: clindman@sjga.com

Number of sessions: 3

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Dates: Tuesdays, October 20 & 27; November 3

Course fee: $195

This course will provide useful tips on how to write an effective query letter that gets an agent’s attention, presents you as an appealing potential client, and introduces your work in the most saleable way. Broken into three sections, class topics will cover the query letter and how you can make sure yours grabs an agent’s attention. We’ll also discuss author-agent working relationships and what to look for in your agent, as well as publication strategies, including what you can do to help your work stand out.

Our first class will discuss the query letter, discussing the goals of a query letter and what first-time authors ought to do as well as avoid when approaching an agent. In our second class, students will come with their query letter written and ready to read aloud for critique. We will also discuss the author-agent relationship, approaching it from both sides and giving writers plenty of tools for making the important decision of choosing their best literary agent. Whether you are writing fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, or cookbooks, finding the right agent to champion your work is essential to getting your book published. In our final meeting, we will discuss the publishing process as well as have a final reading of query letters. Students should be able to leave this class feeling confident that they have a clear understanding of what goes into making their manuscript a book, and have a polished and effective query letter ready to send out to their potential agents. This class is suitable for aspiring authors at any stage in their writing.

Chelsea Lindman is a literary agent at Sanford J. Greenburger, Associates. Her fiction clients include Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award Winner Kristopher Jansma, Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist Ariel S. Winter, and Richard Bausch Fiction Prize Winner Jesse Goolsby; and her nonfiction clients include essayist Chloe Caldwell, TEDx speakers Stacey Ferreira and Jared Kleinert, and Harvard PhD candidate Jason Silverstein. Chelsea began her publishing career as an editor at Europa Editions, where she worked with bestselling authors Elena Ferante and Muriel Barbery. She is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara.

Get the Grant! (with Lizette Wanzer)

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Lizette Wanzer

Lizette Wanzer

Contact: RoadKing1200@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Date: Wednesday, September 30

Course fee: $75

Get the Grant! is open to writers who plan to apply to the Literature Cultural Equity Grant, the Literature Investing in Artists grant, or for a writers’ residency program. Those applying for other writers’ grants are welcome, though the focus will be on these specific grant opportunities.
We will cover:

  • Applicant qualifications
  • Defining a clear, feasible goal that costs a specific amount of money
  • How to demonstrate a rising trajectory (remembering that most people who are awarded local grants are on their way up, not already “there”)
  • Tips for writing clear, concise statements
  • Using headings and “buckets” to make your statement navigable
  • The dreaded Project Statement, Work Plan, or Goals and Objectives portions of grant/residency applications

Lizette Wanzer is an Affiliate Artist at Headlands Center for the Arts. A fiction writer and essayist, she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Her work appears in Callaloo, Guernica, Tampa Review, The MacGuffin, Ampersand Review, Journal of Advanced Development, Journal of Experimental Fiction, Pleiades, Potomac Review, International Journal on Literature and Theory, Fringe Magazine, Aesthetica Magazine, and others. She is a contributor to the award-winning Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays. Lyzette has been awarded writing residencies at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, The Banff Centre (Canada), Blue Mountain Center (NY), Kimmel Harding Center for the Arts (NE), Playa Summer Lake (OR), Horned Dorset Colony (NY), and Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow (AR). She’s received grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, San Francisco Arts Commission, Horned Dorset Foundation, and the Creative Capacity Fund. Lizette was proud to be invited to present her work earlier this year at the Far West Popular Culture Association conference in Las Vegas.

Edit Yourself: How to Make a Good Manuscript Great (with Meghan Ward)

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Meghan Ward

Meghan Ward

Contact: meghan@meghanward.com

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Date: Sunday, November 15

Course fee: $150

Save thousands of dollars hiring professional editors by learning to edit your own work! As a freelance book editor, I see the same mistakes over and over in the manuscripts I edit. 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 1-day intensive workshop. Bring a sample of your work (10 pages) and lunch. I’ll provide tea and snacks.

Meghan Ward is a writer, professional book editor and the founder of Writerland.com, a blog about writing, editing, publishing, and social media. Her clients include novelists, memoirists, nonfiction authors, short story and personal essay writers, and PhD candidates. Through 15 years of editing experience, Meghan has developed a series of steps all writers can master to improve their stories, clean up their writing, and save thousands of dollars on freelance editors. Follow Meghan on Twitter @meghancward, on Facebook @meghanwardauthor and on Google+ at +MeghanWard.

Create a Writing Habit in 21 Days (with Jenny Bitner)

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Jenny Bitner

Jenny Bitner

Contact: jennybit@yahoo.com

Number of sessions: 2

Time: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Dates: Saturdays, October 3 & 24

Course fee: $190

Have you read about writers who write every day and felt envious? Well, me too, until I decided to create a daily writing habit. I had tried to do it alone and couldn’t (even after 20 years of writing). In order to create my habit, I hired a creativity coach to check in with every day for a few months. It worked! So, I decided to create a class that gives you the accountability to get started and also draws on my training as a hypnotherapist to channel the unconscious to help you. In this class 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 create a new writing habit. There will a group hypnosis in the first class, daily accountability posts to a Facebook group, frequent emails from the teacher, rewards, writing dates, and a “call a lifeline” option. We will meet in person on the first and 21st days, with an optional coffee-shop writing meeting on the second and third weekends. If you really want to create a writing habit in your life, join us and let’s do it!

Jenny Bitner’s short stories, articles and flash fiction have been published in Best American Nonrequired Reading, PANK, The Sun, Men’s Health, Utne Reader, The Mississippi Review and Fence magazine. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Virginia. She is a certified hypnotherapist.