A story can change the world, change your life or at the very least change a mind. Over the course of this four-week workshop, you will get over 'writer’s block' and start producing work from week one. We will write, revise, write again and revise again until we’ve sharpened the details, dialogue and overall arc of your story. You’ll learn how to embrace the revision process and understand why it is so necessary. We will take a deep (like, real deep) dive into a variety of published essays and identify what they have in common so that you can apply their tricks to your pages. We will work to create an empowered space for you to freely speak your truth into life on the page.
Through workshopping each of your essay drafts, you will be able to grasp which of your details work better in a scene, which pieces of dialogue construct characters and propel your story forward. We will also work to edit out the characters and sentences that aren’t pulling their weight. There will be guest speakers from the publishing industry, accountability, and constant support. Writing is hard, you don’t have to do it alone.
Being a writer requires staying in the habit of writing. There is no such thing as Summer Break in the life of a story teller.
Together, we will do the work it takes to identify the key factors in your story that take it from punchy anecdote to powerful essay.
In just four weeks, you’ll learn what it takes to get your essay from the bottom of the slush pile and into the pages of the Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, Self, and even The NYT Sunday Styles.
Week 1: Introductions, review syllabus, discuss goals and reservations when it comes to writing personal essay, beginnings, and how to establish authority in 300 words or less; workshop #1
Week 2: Middles; building drama, conflict, and tension on the page; workshop #2
Week 3: Endings; workshop #3
Week 4: The What & Why of the story you’re telling; Q&A on submitting your essay; best case scenarios/ worst case scenario; workshop #4
- Constructive and concentrated instructor feedback on one essay submission and one revision
- Familiarity with the publications you hope to write for
- Strategies for marking time so that your essay reads like a story and not a summary
- Deep understanding of how and when to use dialogue in order to develop characters in a way that feels genuine
- One private conference with the instructor to discuss the arc of your story, to clear up any questions about the submission process as well as to work to resolve any lingering reservations specific to personal essay
- The support of a nurturing community of writers and readers and access to an engaged mentor who is enthusiastic about your work