FALL 2016 – ALL CLASSES


SEMINARS

Two-Day Seminar: MFA Application Bootcamp (taught by Dawn Dorland in Mar Vista)

Two Saturdays
11:00 am to 2:00 pm

November 5 and November 12, 2016

This two-day seminar is an essential overview of applying for the Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing: fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. We’ll begin by surveying and parsing the Poets & Writers MFA rankings (an essential tool!) and comparing “traditional” versus “low-residency” programs. You’ll leave our first session with a tailored short- and long-list of MFAs—curated after a sensitive and candid conversation about how students actually fund the degree. And after discussing your own body of work in a small group, you’ll also leave that first Saturday with a keen sense of whether you’re sampling the strongest, most original writing for your application.

Across the two meetings, this seminar will also focus on the application itself (a sample of your creative writing and a personal statement). A custom craft talk will cover how to tell the story of why you write stories, novels, essays, or poems, and you will have the opportunity to workshop short selections of both your MFA writing sample and personal statement. And just in case you do not gain an MFA admission—or do not elicit an admission that appeals to you!—we’ll end our second Saturday by considering how a writer pursues a career outside of traditional structures. Enroll now: the earliest deadlines (December 1) are coming soon!

This seminar will be most helpful for applicants to MFA programs for 2017. It will be held in Mar Vista, where coffee, sparkling water, and light snacks will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$170 for new students; $150 for returning students

 

Two-Day Seminar: Playing with Genre—Mashups, Hybrids, and Literary Inventions (taught by Margaret Wappler in Mount Washington) – SOLD OUT

Two Sundays,
11:00 am to 2:00 pm

November 6 and 13, 2016

David Shields once wrote that "all great works of literature either dissolve a genre, or invent one." This two-day seminar will focus on mashups, hybrids, and all manner of unique inventions and blends in the literary world. Your interest could be in literary fiction, genre fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or some blend of the above. Examples of hybrid writing include realistic fiction mixed with the surreal, personal essays mixed with poetics, or a dystopian novel all written in letters.

In this seminar, we will read authors who have successfully mixed genres, such as Anne Carson, Aimee Bender, Maggie Nelson, Colson Whitehead, and Octavia Butler. We will analyze the elements of writing, such as scene, voice, tense, dialogue, and point of view, while also examining tone, hallmarks of genre, and other concerns specific to hybrids. During the first class, we will discuss published work from a craft perspective and complete writing exercises designed to play with and test your ideas. During the second meeting, participants will have the opportunity to workshop a piece of hybrid writing. Beginners and advanced writers welcome.

This seminar will be held in Mount Washington, where coffee, sparkling water, and light snacks will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$170 for new students; $150 for returning students

 

One-Day Seminar: Navigating Personal Faith in Writing (taught by Natashia Deón in Hancock Park)

One Saturday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm

December 10, 2016

This one-day seminar will explore how faith and/or religious leanings intersect with writing and how a writer can approach her religious worldviews while writing for general audiences. We will consider techniques that explore how to "show" spiritual feeling rather than just telling the reader about it, how to use detail to evoke religious or spiritual spaces, and how to demonstrate what religion means to a character without having to educate the reader on the entire history of a religion. Other discussion topics may include whether faith or lack of faith affects the stories writers choose to tell and how to navigate real or imagined religious restrictions. Students will have the opportunity to workshop a brief sample of their writing about faith. 

This seminar is open to students of all levels. It will be held in Hancock Park, where coffee, sparkling water, and light snacks will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$130 for new students; $120 for returning students
 

 

Two-Day Seminar: Building Stakes, Story, and Suspense in Your Memoir (taught by Chris Daley in Los Feliz)  – 3 SPOTS LEFT

Two Sundays
11:00 am to 2:00 pm

December 4 and 11, 2016

A sense of story is the crucial element that distinguishes a memoir from a simple, chronological reporting of personal events. This two-day seminar will help you determine the best narrative arc for your memoir, organizing your memories in ways that create tension and momentum. In doing so, you’ll establish reader investment through the use of stakes (why the narrator cares about these events) and suspense (why the reader cares about these events). We will consider techniques of both memoir and fiction to make the most of character, conflict, and the complexity of emotional truth. We will read and discuss selected craft essays and models as well as workshop a short memoir excerpt at each meeting.

This seminar is open to students of all levels. It will be held in Los Feliz, where coffee, sparkling water, and light snacks will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$170 for new students; $150 for returning students

 

MIXED GENRES

Writing Workshop for Grown-Up Women (taught by Darcy Vebber in Hancock Park)

Wednesdays
7:00 to 9:00 pm

October 19, 2016; November 2, 16, and 30, 2016; December 14, 2016 

This will be a traditional workshop for experienced women writers who want to share work, get feedback, and discuss craft and publication. Novelist Joshua Mohr says, “One of the hardest things about writing fiction is keeping your morale up” (and he ought to know as he just published his fifth novel). The group is limited to women writers of a certain age in the hopes that as people who have much in common, we might "get" each other in a way that will boost our morale and encourage our work. The group will meet five times, approximately every other week, and workshop two pieces at each meeting. The work will be emailed in advance of the meeting so everyone has a chance to read carefully and make notes. When time permits there will also be in class writing exercises. 

This course is open to students at all levels and will take place in Hancock Park, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$220 for all students

 

POETRY

Mixed Levels Poetry (taught by Elline Lipkin in Glendale) – 2 SPOTS LEFT

Tuesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

October 18, 2016 to December 13, 2016 (No class on November 22)

This eight-week workshop will focus on how to cultivate a practice of poetry as students integrate awareness, writing, and observation into their lives. Students will deepen their attention to language through use of metaphor, simile, or other poetic devices as they investigate and practice craft techniques. Writing exercises will focus on building an ongoing practice, creating poetic community, and new uses for poetry. Weekly workshopping of poems will help students to understand the mechanics of how a poem works and more about their own creative process. 

This class is open to students at all levels and will take place in Glendale, where wine and sparkling water and small snacks will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

FICTION

Fiction I (taught by Kate Maruyama in Glendale)

Thursdays
7:00 to 9:00 pm

October 20, 2016 to December 15, 2016 (No class on November 24)

This eight-week workshop will introduce beginning writers to the fundamental techniques of fiction writing such as plot, characterization, scene, dialogue, and point of view. In class, students will discuss published fiction from a craft perspective and do writing exercises designed to tackle particular techniques. Students will have the chance to workshop their writing in a serious environment meant to challenge and inspire each member of the class. The class is also open to more experienced writers who simply want to brush up on the basics.

This class is open to students at all levels and will take place in Glendale, where wine and sparkling water and small snacks will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Fiction II (taught by Christopher DeWan in Pasadena) – SOLD OUT

Tuesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

October 25, 2016 to December 13, 2016

This eight-week class will combine writing, reading fiction and craft essays, and in-class workshopping to explore advanced techniques of narrative storytelling. Each week, we will focus on a specific topic—character, plot, point of view, structure, theme, etc.—as a framework to improve and deepen our own writing. Students will write and present work each week, and they are encouraged to develop a longer piece for workshop and beyond. 

The course is open to short story writers and novelists. Since it is designed for more experienced writers, previous enrollment in WWLA’s Fiction I course is suggested, but not required. It will be held in Pasadena, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet cheese will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Novel I (taught by Kate Maruyama in Glendale)

Mondays
7:00 to 9:00 pm

October 17, 2016 to December 12, 2016 (No class on October 31)

In this eight-week class, students will develop and write their novels in progress.  Students will read and discuss novel excerpts to examine the tools of the trade, and do writing exercises designed to bring their projects into sharper focus. The class will address issues such as character, pacing, tension, progression, and voice. Every week there will be a five-page requirement to make sure students are writing and rewriting regularly. In the last few weeks of the course, students can workshop up to 40 pages of their manuscript. 

This class will take place in Glendale, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Novel II (taught by Diana Wagman in Echo Park) – SOLD OUT

Tuesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

October 18, 2016 to December 13, 2016 (No class on November 22)

This class is designed for the writer who is already working on a novel. You have the idea and the characters and have begun to write. Maybe you’re not sure where to go next, or maybe you don’t know how to get where you want to go. This class will help. We’ll continue to discuss plot, voice, character, the elements of all good stories, so that you can write the best novel possible. In addition, we’ll talk about techniques for sticking to a long-term goal, continuing to find inspiration and fresh ideas, and how to keep sight of the forest while surrounded by trees. Primarily a workshop class, students will have at least two chapters critiqued and by the end have written some version of their ending—even if it’s still 200 pages away. 

This class will take place in Echo Park, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Westside Mixed Levels Fiction (taught by Laura Warrell in Culver City) – 2 SPOTS LEFT

Tuesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

October 18, 2016 to December 13, 2016 (No class on November 22)

This eight-week mixed levels class is designed for both short story writers and novelists. For the first three to four weeks, students will do in-class writing exercises and discuss published short fiction and excerpted novels from a craft perspective. During the last four to five weeks, students will be invited to bring in their own work to receive feedback from their instructor and peers. The class will cover such topics as characterization, pacing, point of view, structure, voice, and theme, and there will be short take-home writing assignments designed to help students explore different topics and story ideas. Students will have the chance to workshop their writing in a serious environment meant to challenge and inspire each member of the class.

This class will take place in Culver City, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Weekend Mixed Levels Fiction (taught by Neelanjana Banerjee in South Pasadena) – 2 SPOTS LEFT

Sundays
10:30 am to 12:30 pm

October 16, 2016 to December 11, 2016 (No class on November 27)

This eight-week mixed-levels class is designed for both short story writers and novelists who cannot attend a workshop during the week. For the first four classes, students will do in-class writing exercises and discuss published short fiction and novel excerpts from a craft perspective. The course will cover such topics as characterization, pacing, point of view, structure, voice, and scene. Every week there will be a five-page requirement to make sure students are writing and rewriting regularly. For the final four weeks of the course, students will be workshopped in a serious environment meant to challenge and inspire every member of the class. Each student will have the opportunity to workshop either one short story manuscript or one novel excerpt (maximum 25 pages).

This class will take place in South Pasadena, where coffee and sparkling water—and the occasional snack—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Young Adult Fiction (taught by Diana Wagman in Echo Park)

Sundays
10:30 am to 12:30 pm

October 9, 2016 to December 11, 2016
(No class on November 13 or 27)

Writing young adult fiction should be easy, right? We’ve been young. We’ve had dysfunctional families, unhealthy friends, and embarrassing moments in the school bathroom. Maybe we've had compelling childhood fantasies of dystopian fairylands or alien creatures to chase across the galaxy. But it is every bit as complex to write a YA or middle grade story as it is to write one for adults. This workshop will explore YA’s unique parameters and how to get back in touch with your younger self—while concentrating on the traditional elements of all good storytelling: character, setting, plot, style, language, and narrative voice. There will be readings and in-class exercises, with the ultimate goal of an outline and first chapter for a novel or two drafts of a short story.

This class will take place in Echo Park, where coffee, tea, and delicious baked goods will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

NONFICTION

Nonfiction I (taught by Seth Fischer in Miracle Mile)

Tuesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

October 11, 2016 to December 6, 2016 (No class on November 22)

In this eight-week course, students will read, discuss, and draft essays (or chapters) that will explore the genre(s) of personal narrative and memoir. The readings will be selected to stimulate essay ideas and suggest techniques for engaging personal and creative expression. There will be in-class and homework exercises that address topics such as persona, audience, story, description, memory and truth, and ethical considerations specific to the genre. Students will have the chance to workshop their writing in a serious, respectful, and community-oriented environment meant to challenge and inspire each member of the class.

This class will take place in Miracle Mile, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Nonfiction II (taught by Chris Daley in Los Feliz)

Thursdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

October 20, 2016 to December 15, 2016 (No class on November 24)

This eight-week intermediate level course is designed for writers who have a clear idea of the persona, audience, and purpose driving their work. We will be reading the latest edition of Best American Essays, edited by Jonathan Franzen, and the focus will be on bringing projects toward completion through a process of drafting, feedback, and revision in a challenging but supportive environment. A one-page response inspired by the readings will be due each week, and writers will have the opportunity to submit work for feedback from the instructor and other students twice. A memoir or essay collection project underway or previous enrollment in Nonfiction I is encouraged.

This class will take place Los Feliz, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Memoir I (taught by Bernard Cooper in Silver Lake) – SOLD OUT

Tuesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

October 18, 2016 to December 13, 2016 (No class on November 22)

This eight-week workshop will introduce writers to the essentials of the memoir. We will explore all the fictional techniques that bring memoir to life—dialogue, setting, characterization—as well as those aspects of recollection and reflection that make it such an engaging and moving genre. Assigned readings will demonstrate how effective memoir writers have made personal experience vivid and unforgettable, but the class will emphasize rigorous discussion of student work with the aim of fully realizing autobiographical prose. This class is also open to more experienced memoirists who are in the ongoing process of honing their craft.

Seats in this workshop are limited due to returning students. To apply for entry, please email enrollment@writingworkshopsla.com.

This class will take place in Silverlake, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)


 

Memoir II (taught by Margaret Wappler in Mount Washington) – 1 SPOT LEFT

Thursdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

October 20, 2016 to December 15, 2016 (No class on November 24)



In this eight-week advanced workshop, students will continue to develop, write, and/or revise their memoirs in progress. Any book-length project with core creative nonfiction elements is welcome. Students will read and discuss published memoir excerpts to examine the tools of the genre, and they will complete writing and revision exercises designed to bring their projects into sharper focus. The class will address issues such as persona, audience, story, description, memory and truth, and ethical considerations specific to the genre. Students will have the chance to workshop their writing in a serious environment meant to challenge and inspire each member of the class.

This workshop is open to experienced writers only and seats are limited due to returning students. Previous enrollment in the Memoir Writing workshop recommended. To apply for entry, please email us for instructions at enrollment@writingworkshopsla.com.

This class will take place in Mount Washington, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Essay Writing (taught by Bernard Cooper in Silver Lake) – SOLD OUT

Thursdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

October 20, 2016 to December 15, 2016 (No class on November 24)

The essay is one of the most durable and varied forms of literature. "Essay" as a verb means "to attempt," and it invites writers to explore the world around them, to discover what they think, and how they react to a particular subject, whether that subject involves politics, the arts, science, current events, family, travel, etc. Based on experience, research, or a combination of both, a well-crafted essay is an act of engagement that leaves the writer, as well as the reader, changed.  During these eight weeks, students will read models of the form, though the bulk of the class will be devoted to a rigorous discussion of student work.

This class will take place in Silverlake, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)