This class will skip Thursday, November 23rd.
Looking for the next step in your writing journey? A workshop can be an invaluable opportunity to hone your writing skills and get crucial feedback from a variety of fellow writers. But even more useful is how we can learn to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our work through careful critiques of that of our peers. CWE Workshop is designed for intermediate writers or beginning writers who have taken Creative Writing Essentials and would benefit in putting those skills into practice in a workshop-focused class.
Each week, students will take a deeper dive into craft elements such as plot, point of view, voice, structure and revision through discussion sessions and short writing exercises. We’ll read stories and craft essays from the likes of Alexander Chee, Danielle Evans, Jhumpa Lahiri, Matt Bell and Karen Russell. But the bulk of the time will be spent discussing each other’s work in supportive, constructive workshop sessions. Students will receive valuable feedback on their own work while continuing to develop the critical skills needed to articulate what works in their writing and what can be improved. We’ll explore how to read like writers and learn how to apply that meticulous eye to our own work.
In this eight-week class, each student will have two opportunities to have their manuscripts workshopped. They can submit two stories or revise the first one if they choose. This multi-genre class is designed for writers who have stories, essays, memoirs or novel excerpts ready to go, and would be the ideal next step for someone who has already completed Creative Writing Essentials and is eager to build upon that foundation.
Each week will feature 2-3 student workshop sessions, in addition to short craft discussions:
Week 1: Reading Like a Writer – In our first week, we’ll dive into a short story and break down the elements of craft on display, focusing on how the author uses them and what effect they have.
Week 2: Plot – We’ll look at narrative arc and discuss how to create satisfying plots that keep readers turning the page.
Week 3: Point of View – Narrative distance is an important factor in telling our stories, and we’ll examine how authors use interiority to create different levels of intimacy with their characters.
Week 4: Character – How do we create real characters, especially ones who exist outside our own realms of experience? We’ll explore methods to liven up our creations, such as voice, dialogue, sensory language and other tools.
Week 5: Feeling Your Feedback – Now that our stories have been through a workshop session, how do we take all that feedback and apply it while staying true to our own vision of what our stories should be? We’ll talk about what to do with all that information and how to make the most out of your critiques.
Week 6: Breaking the Rules – For every lesson we learn in a classroom, we can find dozens of successful writers who take a different approach. How do we break those rules successfully and experiment with form?
Week 7: Revision – So much of the writing process depends on revision, yet most classes only focus on first drafts. In this session, we’ll learn how all of what we’ve learned about the craft is really in service of subsequent drafts and discuss ways to use what we’ve learned to make sure our revision processes improve our stories.
Week 8: Finishing the Project – You may have heard that art is never truly finished, only abandoned. Maybe so, maybe not, but at some point, we’ll want to figure out when our work is complete. We’ll discuss strategies around knowing when our stories have been revised enough and are ready for whatever lies ahead.