Past Courses

 

Laying Down the Tracks: Jump Start Your Screenplay in Four Short Weeks with Kate Maruyama, June 5 – July 3, 2017

screen-writing2In this class, we will go over the basics of screenplay structure, character and scene and will get you jump started on your screenplay in a friendly workshop environment. With your classmates, you will also work up a pitch that will not only help you move your screenplay forward, but work it into a marketable entity.

What the House has to Say: Memoir as Poetry with Michael Passafiume, June 5 – July 3, 2017

typewriter-2095754_640Each of us has a story to tell, a poem waiting to be written. Perhaps, like me, you survived a traumatic childhood; perhaps you survived one that was idyllic. Maybe yesterday brought you an unexpected moment of self-discovery on your way to the grocery store; maybe it was the same mind-numbing trip you’ve made countless times before to the same store whose aisles you could navigate blindfolded. And, even if it was the latter, I’m willing to bet something happened – perhaps not externally but internally. Think back…what was it? The point is: we are all walking autobiographies, and every moment of every day adds to our histories.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! Your Story’s Opening Mages with Connie Connally, May 1 – May 29, 2017

OpeninigPagesThis course will explore how to open your novel or memoir with dramatic tension.  Whether you’re writing a first draft or revising, set the course of your story by asking some crucial questions.  On your mark–What is your protagonist’s inner and outer world?  Get set–What’s wrong with that world?  Go!–What is the push that forces the protagonist into action?  When you know the answers to these questions, you’re off and running.

Cast Your Net: Social Media and Web Presence for Writers with Brodie Foster Hubbard, May 1 – May 29, 2017

tree-200795_640.jpgAll types of people are writers, introverts and extroverts alike. But many share the same obstacle as a creative in the technological age – how do we represent ourselves online, and build and engage with an audience? In this course, writers in any genre will learn how to best apply their talents and personality to their author website and social media accounts to promote themselves and their work.

Making Poems: Turning Thoughts, Memories and Life Experiences into Poetry with Dana L. Stringer, May 1 – May 29, 2017

making-poemsThe primary goal of this course is to introduce students to the basic elements of poetry writing, familiarize students with key terminology, help students develop their poetic voice, assist students in crafting poems and gain a solid understanding of the art and craft of poetry writing.

A Writing Practice with Andrea Tate, May 8 – May 21, 2017

practice_300x500Jump start your writing practice and produce real results. Join published writer/professor Andrea Tate, MFA, in an online community that promises to motivate you into creating a writing practice that works. This class is for those writers who let days, weeks, and months fly by without generating publishable work.

SUBMIT! How to Get Your Work Out There with Kate Maruyama, April 10 – April 24, 2017

Stack of magazines

You can write and write and get better, but unless you submit your work widely, it might never meet its readers. Submitting your work takes courage, persistence and knowhow. So many people give up after one or two rejections. Learn how to effectively submit your fiction, non-fiction, poetry and articles to literary journals, online journals and other publications.

Putting the Creative in a Creative Nonfiction Memoir with Patrick O’NeilApril 10 – May 8, 2017

cnfworkshop_300x500Creative nonfiction merges literary fiction (and possibly poetry), research nonfiction, and journalism. It employs the same literary devices as fiction, such as setting, voice, and character development. This is what makes it different from standard nonfiction writing, and that difference is what this course is about. Read more and register…

Rub a Little Funny on It: Humor in Short Fiction with Robert Morgan FisherMarch 27 – April 24, 2017

rubfunnyWe writers take ourselves SO seriously. But guess what? Even dramatic writing requires nuanced humor. Some say “Humor is a natural gift—it can’t be taught.” WRONG. It’s a process—just like anything else! But one has to learn how to use certain tools as well as study writers and stories that successfully employ humor.

Writing Poetry for Social Change with Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, March 6 – April 3, 2017

poetrysocialchangeThrough a survey of witness and social justice poetry, we will attempt to build up language once again and encourage poets and non-poets to imagine and fight for our world with small offerings of hope. Join us in this writing workshop to learn strategies for taking rage, fear, and heartbreak and turn them into pieces of art that may hold the power to spark change.

Advanced Creative Nonfiction Memoir: Revision, Editing, Workshopping and Beyond with Patrick O’NeilMarch 6 – April 3, 2017

advancedmemoirThis course will focus on fine tuning your memoir with a heavy emphasis on structure, revision, critique, editing, and finding your supportive writing community. Students will submit an already completed short work of nonfiction/memoir at the beginning of the course. Student submissions will be group workshopped via a discussion forum and each student will give feedback on the other student’s work.

Laying Down the Tracks: Jump Start Your Screenplay in Four Short Weeks with Kate Maruyama, January 16 – February 13, 2017

screen-writing2In this class, we will go over the basics of screenplay structure, character, and scene and will get you jump started on your screenplay in a friendly workshop environment. With your classmates, you will also work up a pitch that will not only help you move your screenplay forward but work it into a marketable entity.

A Writing Practice with Andrea Tate, January 16 – January 30, 2017

practice_300x500Jump start your writing practice and produce real results. Join published writer/professor Andrea Tate, MFA, in an online community that promises to motivate you into creating a writing practice that works. This class is for those writers who let days, weeks, and months fly by without generating publishable work.

Getting to Yes: Submission Strategies for Poets with Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, January 16 – February 13, 2017

xochitlsubmitDevelop a solid submission packet including 3-5 poems, a cover letter, and short 50 word biography. Gain an understanding of poetry journal tiers with attention to tier one and community publications in order to create a personal strategy for targeting markets. Learn forms of accountability and organization and build confidence in a personalized submission game.

Putting the Creative in a Creative Nonfiction Memoir with Patrick O’Neil, January 16 – February 13, 2017

cnfworkshop_300x500Creative nonfiction merges literary fiction (and possibly poetry), research nonfiction, and journalism. It employs the same literary devices as fiction, such as setting, voice, and character development. This is what makes it different from standard nonfiction writing, and that difference is what this course is about.

Let’s Write a Short Story with Natalie Truhan, November 28 – December 26, 2016

short-story_300x500This course will take you from story inception to a finished draft through several stages of revision. Along the way, you will learn elements of a short story. Our goal is creating a story that, as the writer Michael Swanwick put it, “is like a knife–strongly made, well balanced, and with an absolute minimum of moving parts.”

Writing your Truth: Turning Traumatic Events into Published Writing with Toby Van Bryce, November 14 – December 12, 2016

chalkboardtoby

Writing about trauma is made a little easier with this start to finish 4-week course. You will be able to work through events while discovering and organizing material that can be published for the world to read.

Archetypes, Tropes, and Clichés: Make the Ordinary Unique with Haley Isleib, October 31 – November 28, 2016

snowwhitehaley

This course examines archetypes, tropes, and clichés. At the end of this 4-week course, you will come away with a new character profile and ideas about how to twist these ideas until they break into something new.

Feasting on Form: Noodling around with Experimental Creative Nonfiction with Arielle Silver, October 31- November 28, 2016 

foodwritingarielle

From holiday feasting to grocery shopping, every bite-sized moment is ripe for narrative discovery. This 4-week course will generate exploratory writing using constraints as creative inspiration. The final dish will be served up by way of experimental, hybrid, lyric essay.

Finding Your Spot in the Writing Marketplace with Lisa J. Peck-MacDonald, October 31 – November 28, 2016

authorlisa

Many writers, both professional and beginner, are overwhelmed by the vast publishing marketplace and wonder where their work fits. This 4-week course teaches effective tools and skills to keep you happily writing and moving forward toward real marketing goals.

Show, Don’t Tell: Making Setting, Dialogue, and Action do the Telling with Elizabeth Lund, October 31 – November 28, 2016

donttellelizabeth This course teaches what it means to “show” and “tell” in fiction and creative non-fiction. You’ll create new work by using writing tools in setting, dialogue, and action that will help you to show, rather than tell, the emotions, events, and mood in your piece. Read more and register…

SUBMIT! How To Get Your Work Out There with Kate Maruyama, September 26 – October 10, 2016

submit-course_300x500You can write and write and get better, but unless you submit your work widely, it might never meet its readers. Submitting your work takes courage, persistence and knowhow. So many people give up after one or two rejections. Learn how to effectively submit your fiction, non-fiction, poetry and articles to literary journals, online journals and other publications.

Rub a Little Funny On It: Humor in Short Fiction with Robert Morgan Fisher, September 12 – October 10, 2016

readinglaughingbuddha2Laughter tends to be the best medicine, so maybe adding a little humor to your short story will be the perfect prescription for successful writing. In this course, you will discover successful ways to get your writing flowing and funny. Come prepared to laugh. A lot!

A Writing Practice with Andrea Tate, September 12 – September 26, 2016

practice_300x500

Jump start your writing practice and produce real results. Join published writer/professor Andrea Tate, MFA, in an online community that promises to motivate you into creating a writing practice that works.

(Re)Work It: Learning to Edit Professionally for Yourself and for Publishers with Seth Fischer, August 29 – September 12, 2016

editingsethEditing is where the magic of story and technique merge. Without fundamental tools to make stories better, they will often get lost in piles of paper (or computer files). Learn how to take a draft to perfection with this editing course.

Putting the Creative in a Creative Nonfiction Memoir with Patrick O’Neil, July 25 – August 22, 2016

cnfworkshop_300x500

Creative nonfiction merges literary fiction (and possibly poetry), research nonfiction, and journalism. It employs the same literary devices as fiction, such as setting, voice, and character development. This  course is about making standard nonfiction writing more creative. Read more and register…

Laying Down the Tracks: Jump Start Your Screenplay in Four Short Weeks with Kate Maruyama, May 30 – June 27, 2016

screen-writing2In this class, we will go over the basics of screenplay structure, character and scene and will get you jump started on your screenplay in a friendly workshop environment. With your classmates, you will also work up a pitch that will not only help you move your screenplay forward, but work it into a marketable entity.

 A Writing Practice with Andrea Tate, April 11 – April 24, 2016

practice_300x500Jump start your writing practice and produce real results. Join published writer/professor Andrea Tate, MFA, in an online community that promises to motivate you into creating a writing practice that works.

Tumblr Towards Creativity with Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, May 2 – May 3, 2016

poetry-adrian3Explore the art of writing poetry by using Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr as your spark of visual inspiration. Learn the craft of ekphrasis poetry by writing verse inspired by photographs and artworks. Discover that the World Wide Web is much more than just watching videos and surfing the Internet. The goal of this course is to harness your creativity and focus your energies by allowing your online experience to inspire you to write reflective poetry.

Reimagining Fairy Tales with Madeline Zilelian, May 2-May 30, 2016

narrative-794978Fur shoe or glass slipper? From Disney to Grimm everyone has a spin on a favorite story. What’s your spin? In this class you will choose a fairy tale, and write it your way. You get to say how the story goes and explore all the possibilities other versions of the story are missing.

Be Heard! Recording and Uploading Your Writing with Robert Morgan Fisher, February 21 – March 6, 2016

record-voice_300x500So you’ve been published and asked to do a promotional reading at a book store or on a radio show. Or maybe you’ve seen some of the new online publications/contests asking for “audio” and you’re asking: How can I get in on that? It’s actually a lot easier than you might think. And in today’s publishing world, it’s very important to be able to step up and read your work—either in a live public forum or online.

Making Poems: Turning Your Thoughts, Memories, and Life Experiences into Poetry with Dana L. Stringer,
February 21 – March 20, 2016

IMG_2900

Poetry is often plagued by its reputation of being a difficult art form, accessible to only a select few. On one hand, a discussion on the subject of poetry might intimidate or elude the understanding of most non-poets and non-poetry readers.

Query 101: How to Land an Agent with Alana Saltz, February 6 – 20, 2015

query 101: how to land an agentThese days, landing a literary agent is tougher than ever, and the competition for representation is fierce. You need a killer query letter to get noticed among thousands of other aspiring authors. Some writers have said crafting the query letter is harder than writing the book itself, but with a little help and guidance, it doesn’t need to be!

SUBMIT! How to get your work out there with Kate Maruyama, January 17 – 31, 2016

submit-course_300x500You can write and write and get better, but unless you submit your work widely, it might never meet its readers. Submitting your work takes courage, persistence and knowhow. So many people give up after one or two rejections. Learn how to effectively submit your fiction, non-fiction, poetry and articles to literary journals, online journals and other publications.

Articulating the Necessity: Writing New Poems with Lauren Schmidt, January 17 – February 14, 2016

If what Make new poemsJames Baldwin says is true—that “the poet … is there to articulate the necessity”—let us rediscover our poet-selves by doing what poets do: read and write poetry. In this generative workshop, you will write up to three new poems a week using writing prompts and other poets’ work as models. Additionally, you will learn to look at poems critically as a way to inspire your own writing. Let us ignore our Submittable accounts for a month and return to our natural condition!

Putting the Creative in a Creative Nonfiction Memoir with Patrick O’Neil, January 18 – February 15, 2016

cnfworkshop_300x500Creative nonfiction merges literary fiction (and possibly poetry,) research nonfiction, and journalism. It employs the same literary devices as fiction, such as setting, voice, and character development. This is what makes it different from standard nonfiction writing, and that difference is what this course is about.

Shaping the Queer Voice: A Collaborative, Multi-Genre Writing Class with Ken PienkosAugust 16 – September 12

Queer VoiceHow do you define Queer Voice? This course speaks to most writers from a unique and emerging perspective. John Waters was quoted in June of 2015 to say, “Gay is not enough anymore.” Let’s ask: What do Queers have in common if they no longer share oppression?

Consider Borich’s definition of the aesthetic, “by queer aesthetic I mean not just the work of queer authors but all voices and forms that are equally open to pleasure and injury, that are not afraid of the body, that are both sex-positive and self-critical, that are as interested in intersections and critique as they are in the personal politics of memory.”

The Personal Essay: Let’s Get Personal with Andrea Tate, September 8 – October 6

personal essayLearn ways to self-advocate and stay in the drivers seat of your personal essay. Drive your car, and look for the street signs that will get you to your destination—publication. Most writers accept revision as an integral part of writing. Yet for others, the revision process is not intuitive forcing them to rely on an editor or fellow writers in workshop for input. However, a writer can loose focus of a piece when getting feedback. Without the intention of doing so a critic might push their agenda onto an essay.

The Poet’s Condition: Making New Poems with Lauren Schmidt, September 13-October 11

Make new poemsIf what Robert Frost says is true—“To be a poet is a condition, not a profession”—let us rediscover our poet-selves by doing what poets do: read and write poetry. In this generative workshop, you will write up to three new poems a week using writing prompts and other poets’ work as models. Additionally, you will learn to look at poems critically as a way to inspire your own writing. Let us ignore our Submittable accounts for a month and return to our natural condition! Read more and register…

Marveling at Stones: Making Poems about Nature with Joe Jimenez, August 2 – August 30
Poetry about natureIt could be a little blue heron or a saguaro cactus. Perhaps it’s an old tree whose genus you’ve yet to discover, perhaps there are canyons in your life or salt marches that follow you around from your journeying, or maybe there are deer beside you and plovers and hogs and the mosses that surround them with tenderness and wild. Whatever it is that draws you to write about the natural world, this four-week workshop is designed to help generate poems. Using daily writing exercises and following examples set by mentor poems, together, we will explore how we might engage the world around us and write.

Cranking the Flywheel: Making Poems with Lauren SchmidtMay 9 – June 6, 2015 

Create PoemsAnnie Dillard says, “Get to work. Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair.” Using writing prompts and poems as models, you will write up to three poems a week. The emphasis of this course is to generate a lot of work in a short period of time to build and stretch your poetic muscles, dodge writer’s block, and simply try something new. Are you ready to get that flywheel cranking?

Writing the Wild with Jeff McElroy, May 31 – June 28, 2015

Writing the WildLace up your boots, stretch into your wetsuits, wax your surfboards, check your ropes, cast your lines and get ready to lose the trail and find it again. We’re going to packing our packs, scrape our knees, raise our arms in Vs upon lofty summits, and hoot each other into gnarly barrels breaking over shallow reefs. But most importantly, we’ll be writing…Writing the Wild Places.. We’re going to get wet, dirty, scared, and tired – meaning, we’re going to do a lot of writing.

Join me in the dialogue of the outdoors, the importance of writing the wild in relation to the climate change/threats of our times, ecoliterature, short stories, novels. We will also discuss markets for outdoor fiction (and ways to get into them).

Mask Appeal: Creating Compelling Persona Poems with Dana L. Stringer, June 14 – July 12, 2015

Persona PoetryMost readers assume that the speaker in a poem is the author of the poem, and that the content of the poem reflects the experiences and sentiments of the poet. However, as poets, we do things to create a particular effect, and the use of a persona is one of those things. In other words, poets will wear a “mask” to conceal their identities in a poem for artistic purposes and to serve their poetic needs.

In this exciting course, designed for writers of all levels, we will experiment with abandoning “I” by becoming “other,” and explore more possibilities for your work by creating characters and writing in various personas.

From Paper to Pixels: Writing Online Content that Matters and Gets Noticed with Seth Fischer, July 5- August 2, 2015

paper2pixelsTo many writers, the Internet is a scary place: we spend more of our lives on it than we’d like to admit, it lacks that delicious book smell, photos of fluffy cats and sloths seem to eat up more and more of our time, and no matter how many social networks we join, we can’t shake this feeling that we’re not doing enough. Other writers see endless potential in the Internet, envisioning blogs and clever Twitter handles turning into book contracts turning into millions of dollars in royalties.

This class aims to look past all this fear and improbable expectation to ask a different set of questions we writers should be well-equipped to answer: How can you use the Internet to tell the best possible story? What tools does the Internet offer that print books do not, and how might those be useful for you? What sorts of articles and stories have the Internet powers-that-be come to expect in online writing, and how can you use that information?

Food is not the Enemy: The Language of Eating Disorders with Patrick O’Neil, July 15 – August 12, 2015

Eating DisorderEating disorders: overeating, binge eating, EDNOS, bulimia, and anorexia are devastating. Not only because of how they affect those of us that suffer from them, but because unlike other “addictions” where the “cure” is abstaining – we, the food addicts, cannot simply just stop eating food. Yet the resulting guilt, shame, body dysmorphia, and toll on personal health are an internal struggle that many of us keep secret.

By openly addressing our eating disorders, our fears, and our self-images, we can navigate the emotional obstacles of our negative internal dialogs and resulting behaviors. Through our writing we will explore every aspect of why and where they originated, while examining society’s obsession with “skinny” and the unreal body types the fashion/advertising industries bombard us with, and investigate what are actual obtainable goals in how we physically view ourselves. This will not be therapy. It is more an honest evaluation of self that will result in writing an in-depth personal essay.

Open Strong: The Elements of Successful Novel Openings with Andromeda Romano-Lax, April 25 – May 23, 2015

Open Strong: The Elements of Successful Novel Openings

A novel’s first pages do much more than just hook a reader. They form a contract, provide a blueprint, teach the reader how to interpret what comes next, and plant seeds that will blossom later in surprising and engaging ways. (And of course, opening pages are essential for piquing the interest of agents and editors.) A strong novel opening presents the elements of fiction in microcosm: voice, character, story structure and more. This four week class will focus primarily on learning from contemporary literary novels about what openings must accomplish in order to earn the reader’s attention and trust. Consideration will be given to market demands—including mistakes agents expect writers to avoid—but also to the innovative ways that literary novels sometimes manage to defy formula. Student partials (up to 5 pages) will also be workshopped in weeks three and four.

From Heartache to Hard-Ons: How to Write a Potent Sex Scene with Antonia CraneApril 25 – May 23, 2015

Sex Scene

SEX. Everyone wants it. Everyone does it. Cell phones were invented as a monument to it. As a culture, we are obsessed with it. Why are so many writers so good at writing bad sex scenes while others chicken out altogether, ending vague erotic embroilments with a wet spot, panties on the floor and a shame walk?

In this four-week course, you will not write good sex scenes—at first. You will write bad ones. After the performance anxiety is removed, we will get down to the business of what really matters the most, which is that horrible, awkward, exciting and heartbreaking truths are revealed about your characters throughout a sexual interaction. Sex scenes are important because it’s an opportunity to allow your characters to lay bare while being pushed up against their greatest fears and desires. Great sex scenes are not about what goes where and how lubrication advances but what is revealed about your characters during the sexual encounter. In this 4-week course, you will write about desire and heartbreak like your life depends on it. This course is designed for writers of fiction and creative non-fiction of all levels.

 Out Of The Box: From Memorabilia To Memoir with Tammy Lechner, November 8 – December 6

MemoirThink you have a story or a book in you? Wondering how to begin? Here’s a creative writing workshop designed to guide the process of organizing and writing a narrative work (non-fiction or fiction, prose or free verse) by the use of memorabilia (any kind of object, image, or document) as prompts. Read more and register…

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Fueling your Fictional Characters with Family Details with Kate Maruyama, November 15 – December 6, 2015

Thhome for the holidaysis two week course will be spread over three to give you time to meet up with family or friends over Thanksgiving and get material! Our families drive us nuts in complicated and varying ways. But did you know that the very thing your uncle does that you can’t stand is actually an interesting character trait? You won’t be creating characters from of family, but you will mine all of the human details you notice about your family (and trust me, you know more than you think you do) to take back to your fictional characters and even create new ones. Read more and register…

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