FALL 2018 – NONFICTION


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You may be wondering which nonfiction class you should take. If you use the form above, we will be happy to advise you on the most appropriate class for your project and experience level. Keep in mind that Nonfiction I and Introduction to Nonfiction Genres are generally for beginners who are interested in exploring personal narrative (memoir in short or long form) and/or non-personal narrative (creative nonfiction, journalism, art criticism, science writing, etc.). Nonfiction II is designed for writers who have taken an introductory course and would like to keep the freedom to write either form of narrative. Memoir I is for students who have decided they wish to write personal narrative (memoir or personal essay). Memoir II is generally for writers who have taken Memoir I and are in the early stages of a project (a memoir or collection of personal essays). Mixed levels classes like Writing Your Memoir are customized for both level I and II students. Essay Writing is designed to produce inquisitive essays in which the primary focus is not personal experience. One- and two-day seminars look more closely at particular fiction techniques or explore craft questions.

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ONLINE CLASSES


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Enrollment limit: 8 students
New $130; Returning $120

Show & Tell with Seth Fischer

 
Two Saturdays
11:00 am to 1:00 pm (Pacific)
November 10 and 17, 2018

When you first hear it, “show, don’t tell” sounds like good writerly advice, but have you ever wondered how you’re supposed to tell a story without actually telling anyone anything? Have you ever felt like you lacked the tools to draft and revise your own writing with this advice in mind? This seminar will explore how to move past that old writing class cliché to think of your writing in terms of summary, scene, and story. Using examples from James Baldwin to Cheryl Strayed, students will explore how other writers have created successful scenes using dialogue, description, and action. They will delve into how these authors have written strong summary—using tools like detail, voice, and precision—and how they wove summary and scene together to tell immersive, compelling stories.

Before the seminar, students will do two short readings and one brief writing assignment, which can be either fiction or creative nonfiction. In the first meeting of the seminar, we will explore the readings and define our terms and concepts. In the second meeting, students will use this new knowledge to experiment with scene and summary in their own writing through a series of exercises. This class will meet online in real time using the Zoom platform. We will contact you with details.


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Enrollment limit: 8 students
New $130; Returning $120

The Art & Craft of Fact in Nonfiction
with Chelsea Biondolillo


Online
Two Sundays
10:00 am to 12:00 pm (Pacific)
December 2 and 16, 2018

Research can be a writer’s best friend and worst enemy. It can provide needed context and depth to an essay, but it can also start with a simple question like “do cats really always land on their feet?” and somehow turn into two hours spent watching Wild Animal Kingdom outtakes on YouTube. During this generative two-day seminar, we’ll look at ways to structure research tasks so they work for us, rather than against us, and how to incorporate the results of research gracefully into our prose.

In the first meeting, we will talk through effective methods for turning interviews into scenes and for adding background and historical information without stopping the flow of your narrative. During the second meeting, after a two-week break to write, we will discuss how much imagination a writer can use while still calling their reportage "nonfiction," and participants will have the opportunity to workshop their essays in progress. This seminar is open to nonfiction students of all levels.

This class will meet online in real time using the Zoom platform. We will contact you with details.


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Enrollment limit: 8 students
$550 new; $500 returning
(Payment plans available to returning students.)

New Class! Websites for Writers with Chris Daley


Online
Two Saturdays
11:00 am to 1:00 pm (Pacific)
December 8 and 15, 2018

Publishing companies and small presses are increasingly asking authors to do more of their own publicity, and agents often consider platform as part of a query’s appeal. As a result, it is more important than ever for writers to have a well-designed website. However, a professional website by an experienced designer can cost over $1000 and easily much more, leaving the writer without knowledge as to how to update content.

This two-week online seminar will walk you through creating your own Squarespace site from scratch. In the first week, we will cover best practices for author websites, discuss the different considerations that go into choosing a template, and learn the basics of how to navigate Squarespace and create a site. Writers will then spend the week customizing their own websites. At the second meeting, we will reconvene to provide feedback on the sites and discuss any questions or issues that have come up. The second meeting will also offer a basic introduction to setting up a newsletter and social media, using CSS to code design workarounds, and how to use the Squarespace forum when in doubt.

The class will meet online in real time using the Zoom platform. We will contact you with details. Even if you’re not a writer, you’re welcome to come create a website with us.

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LOS ANGELES SEMINARS


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

May we recommend Show and Tell, The Art & Craft of Fact in Nonfiction, or Shaping Your Story?

All Talk—Writing Dialogue
with Chris L. Terry in Hancock Park

SOLD OUT


One Sunday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
November 4, 2018

Well-written dialogue brings characters to life and quickly moves a story forward. In this seminar for writers of fiction and nonfiction, we will study examples of great dialogue and complete writing exercises that help us get our characters’ authentic voices on the page. We will discuss a range of topics such as exposition, dialogue versus monologue, writing in dialect, use of dialogue with first and third person narrators, and the mechanics of attributing dialogue. And, yes, we will all take parts and read everyone’s in-class writing out loud. This seminar will be most helpful for writers who have a sense of the narrator or characters that they are writing or plan to write.

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.


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Enrollment limit: 8 students
$190 new; $170 returning

Shaping Your Story: How a Screenwriter’s Toolkit
Can Help You Finish (or Start) Your Book

with Christopher DeWan in Pasadena

1 spot left!


Two Sundays
10:00 am to 1:00 pm
November 11 and 18, 2018

Nobody wants a formulaic novel or a memoir that feels like it's painted by numbers. Understanding basic principles of story structure can unlock your story in ways that are both surprising and satisfying. Borrowing techniques from screenwriting, we'll examine the structures inherent in your book-in-progress and experiment with ways you can use those structures to make your story more powerful.

In our first session, we’ll explore “loglines” and how they can be used to clarify the arc of your story. Then we’ll introduce the archetypal three-act “hero’s journey” as a tool—not for hammering your story into a prescribed or predictable shape, but as a way to help you focus your character’s (and reader’s) emotional transformation. During our one-week break, you’ll create a “beat sheet” outline to define the key moments of your story, mapping your book to the “hero’s journey” paradigm, and in our second class, we’ll share these outlines and offer feedback to strengthen the arc and the structure of your book. We’ll also discuss other alternative structures and what to do with books that don’t seem to fit the archetypal models.

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


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Enrollment limit: 8 students
$190 new; $170 returning

Insider/Outsider—Writing The Participatory Essay
with Summer Block in Burbank

3 spots left!


Two Saturdays
10:00 am to 1:00 pm
December 1 and December 15, 2018

This class is dedicated to getting out from behind the keyboard and into the weird, wide world of Los Angeles to write “gonzo” nonfiction that straddles the border between observation and participation. More personal than journalism, more outward-looking than memoir, these hybrid essays combine personal insights with investigation, research, and adventure.

In the first session, we'll read and discuss essays that take us from hippie communes to Amway sales meetings to witches’ covens and beyond. Students will also have the opportunity to develop and refine their own essay ideas. Then, during a two-week break, students will head out to observe, experience, and document a cultural event of their choosing. Students will return for the second session with a rough draft to workshop together.

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

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LOS ANGELES WORKSHOPS


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Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 new; $380 returning
(Payment plans available for returning students.)

Revising Your Manuscript with Diana Wagman in Echo Park

1 spot left!


Sundays
10:30 am to 12:30 pm
October 14, 2018 to December 9, 2018
(with no class on November 25)

Roald Dahl believed, “Good writing is essentially rewriting.” Ernest Hemingway claimed, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.” Michael Crichton said, “Books aren’t written—they’re rewritten.” Spontaneous eloquence rarely happens. Whether you've completed a first draft of a novel or memoir, it's now time to get down to the business of serious revision. This eight-week workshop is for writers who have completed a full draft of a manuscript.

We will begin by reading outlines of each book and together discuss ways to help each story move forward so the plot is best served. We will then look at complete chapters from each participant, starting with the first, and talk about introducing your protagonist and conflict as well as your use of language and appropriate style techniques. Finally, you will be able to choose any chapter and share that with the group. By that time, we will have a good introduction to your work and your intended outcome and we will be able to help you see how to edit, rework, and polish that chapter. You should leave the workshop with a good basis for continuing to work on your rewrite on your own, chapter by chapter.

Each participant will share an outline of their entire book and at least two complete chapters. The class will take place in Echo Park, where coffee, tea, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet snack will be served.
 


Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 new; $380 returning
(Payment plans available for returning students.)

All the Nonfiction Genres with Chris Daley in Los Feliz


Thursdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm
October 18, 2018 to December 13, 2018
(with no class on November 22)

Discover the best form for your facts. If you have a nonfiction narrative you'd like to share but you're not sure yet which form it should take—or if you'd simply like to experiment with different genres—this class is for you. In this eight-week workshop, we'll explore the many (if not quite all) shapes and colors of nonfiction, such as memoir, flash, narrative journalism, cultural criticism, and various essays forms, including lyric, personal, immersive, and braided.

We will discuss overarching issues such as memory and truth as well as techniques such as perspective, incorporating research, building a narrative arc, and the use of sensory detail. We will practice nonfiction forms through generative writing exercises, and 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 workshop is also open to more experienced writers who want to brush up on the basics or try their hand at a new nonfiction form.

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


Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 new; $380 returning
(Payment plans available for returning students.)

Nonfiction II—Personal Essay and Memoir
with Elizabeth L. Silver in Encino/Sherman Oaks

3 spots left!


Tuesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm
October 16, 2018 to December 11, 2018 (with no class on November 6)

This eight-week intermediate level workshop is designed for writers who have a clear idea of the persona, audience, and purpose driving their work, whether personal essay or memoir. Our main goal will be to bring projects toward completion through a process of feedback and revision in a challenging but supportive environment. There will be assigned craft readings and suggested exercises that will help students develop their projects. Writers will have the opportunity to submit work for feedback from the instructor and other students twice. 

This class will take place in Encino near Sherman Oaks, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet snack will be served.
 


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Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 new; $380 returning
(Payment plans available for returning students.)

This workshop is open to experienced writers via application only—seats are limited. To apply, please send a project description
and ten sample pages to
enrollment@writingworkshopsla.com by September 26.

Nonfiction III: Application Workshop
with Chris Daley in Franklin Village

Closed


Tuesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm
October 16, 2018 to December 11, 2018
(with no class on November 6)

In this eight-week advanced workshop, students will develop, write, and/or revise their short- and long-form nonfiction. The focus of the class will be shaping stand-alone essays or sections of longer projects through a process of drafting, feedback, and revision. Students will read and discuss published models to examine and incorporate helpful techniques, and they will complete writing 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.

The workshop will be held in Franklin Village, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet cheese will be served.


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Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 new; $380 returning
(Payment plans available for returning students.)

May we recommend All the Nonfiction Genres or Nonfiction II: Personal Essay and Memoir?

Writing Your Memoir with Erica Garza in Los Feliz

SOLD OUT


Wednesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm
October 17, 2018 to December 19, 2018
(with no class on November 7 or 21)

This eight-week workshop will introduce writers to the essentials of the memoir, both short- and long-form. We will explore all the fiction 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 create compelling personal experiences on the page, and rigorous discussion of student work will aim for fully realized autobiographical prose. This class is also open to more experienced memoirists who are in the ongoing process of honing their craft.

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


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Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 new; $380 returning
(Payment plans available for returning students.)

May we recommend All the Nonfiction Genres or Nonfiction II: Personal Essay and Memoir?

Westside Nonfiction with Lisa Fetchko in Mar Vista

SOLD OUT


Wednesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm
October 17 to December 12
(with no class on November 21)

We’re living in a golden age of nonfiction—from memoir to long-form journalism, there are more ways than ever to work in this incredibly versatile genre. In this eight-week mixed levels workshop, we will read and discuss different forms of nonfiction, including New Journalism, the personal essay, creative nonfiction, and the lyric essay. Mostly, though, I will push you to write. And rewrite. And write some more. With short exercises, field research, and an in-depth look at craft—especially narrative voice, structure, and the “carnality” (as Mary Karr puts it) of detail—you will define and hone your own nonfictional style(s). Over the course of the semester, you will have the opportunity to workshop two pieces (or two versions of the same piece as long as edits are substantial). There will be a strong focus on the challenges and rewards of editing, especially for students who aren’t new to nonfiction.

This class will take place in Mar Vista, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet snack will be served.