Our writing workshop program—launched last year—has been a tremendous success and we are excited to continue the program, bringing you low-cost workshops led by celebrated and award-winning writers. Check out our fall lineup below:
Ann Packer: Advanced Fiction Writing
6:30-9pm, Tues. evenings, Sept. 9 - Oct. 14
Gabriel Roth: The Novel
6:30-9pm, Every other Thurs., Sept. 18 - Dec. 4
Simon Van Booy: Workshop for Beginners
7-9:30pm, Wed. evenings,
Sept. 24 - Nov. 5
Jessica Francis Kane: Finding Your Voice
6:30-9pm, Tues. evenings, Oct. 14 - Nov. 18
Stefan Merrill Block: The Story Laboratory
6:30-9pm, Wed. evenings, Oct. 15 - Nov. 19
Terese Svoboda: Focusing Your Fiction
6:30-9pm, Mon. evenings, Oct. 27 - Dec. 1
by Gabriel Roth
You start by thinking about all the things a novel should do: tell a compelling story, create vivid characters and reveal them in all their particularity, illuminate the human condition in general, reveal ordinary experience with a vividness that enables us to see the familiar world anew, open fresh possibilities for language... you can easily spend a whole afternoon just listing the requirements, and you should.
Then you divide the list into three categories. You can use a new sheet of paper with three columns, or you can just mark the first sheet with three symbols, like maybe an asterisk and a pound sign and a smiley face.
- Category One is “Things I Can Do.”
- Category Two is “Things I Can Maybe Do Without.”
- Category Three is “Things I Need to Learn.”
- And then you go down the Category Three list and set yourself assignments: Describe with startling freshness three things that happened to you today. Make flowcharts of the plots of six novels you admire. Write a scene in which two characters reveal all their hopes and weaknesses in eight lines of dialogue apiece. (I have completed all of these assignments, because description, plot, and dialogue were on my Category Three list.)
We are now offering this 12-week workshop in two successive 6-week sessions. Students have the option of signing up for only one session at a time, or paying a discounted rate for both. Sign up for one of our two offerings this fall and let the murder and mayhem begin!
Session 1: 6:30-9pm, Mon. evenings, Sept. 15 - Oct. 27
Session 2: 6:30-9pm, Mon. evenings, Nov. 4 - Dec. 8
by Terese Svoboda
You've got the words. They're swirling around in your head all day – all night for the more unfortunate among us. You've probably got an idea about what to do with those words, a story that's been sitting in your head for weeks or even months, and you're sure that whenever you access it, it will come forth, shining and beautiful. You're sure of this at your core or you'd jettison all those words, forget it, take up basket-weaving. No, the story is there. A cop filling out a ticket with a shadow behind him, a girl on a bike with an odd-shaped bundle, your parents hiding an envelope in a drawer you've got the key for. The not-quite-articulate surrounds...READ MORE
by Courtney Zoffness
It’s natural to remember your first attempts at fiction with a combination of wistfulness and shame. Sometimes I think about mine, an international, star-crossed love story that featured a man who dreamed in black and white and a woman who dreamed in color. I even remember one of the first sentences (blush): “She dreamed in orange and blue, of apricot beaches and cerulean seas.” This isn’t because I’m a sentimentalist. It’s because submitting this draft to a graduate school workshop yielded one of the most important editorial lessons in my writing life. Like most, I came to writing after falling in love with reading, and the books I admired early on were lyrical and imaginative—works by Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison and Vladimir Nabokov. I carried their words around with me, little candies tucked into my cheeks. Hurston in Their Eyes Were Watching God: “She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her.” READ MORE
by Ann Packer
I’ve recently finished a novel—truly finished, as in it’s departed copyediting and headed for page proofs—and I find myself in a familiar no-man’s-land, the space between books that surprises me every time with its overlarge helpings of exhaustion and despair. My book took a lot out of me; given the emptiness I now feel it seems that it took everything out of me, that all I am is a container for what goes into my fiction. The container is empty; the well is dry. I will write another book; I know this. And while I wait for the next project to make itself known, I will gear up for this book’s publication. I’ll start thinking about the book in new ways: as a story to tell (“How did you come up with the idea for this book?”), as a text to analyze (“Why do you think you had the youngest brother do what he does?”), and of course as a product to sell. My relationship with the book will change, and I will find it harder and harder to remember individual moments in the writing: the day, for example, when I hit on the structure via a lightning-bolt idea. READ MORE
by Patrick Ryan
Workshops are like relationships in many respects: they can be healthy or unhealthy, productive or unproductive, a fusing of minds or a battle of egos. A healthy, intimate relationship is one where you feel as much enthusiasm for what your partner brings to the table as for what you yourself bring, right? That’s what a good workshop can be....