FALL 2018 – SEMINARS


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ONLINE


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

Narrator as Cinematographer—Camera Shifts
in the Third Person
with Joshua Mohr

Closed


Two Saturdays
11:00 am to 1:00 pm (Pacific)
October 20 and 27, 2018

Writers figuring out how to work in the third person point of view face a common challenge: How do I make the work more emotional, more intimate, more immediate? We know how to forge these bonds in the first person, and yet the third person can feel distant, obfuscating. This seminar will unpack our various options in the third person POV. We will ponder how style, diction, syntax, and ultimately, the protagonists' preoccupations can take work that feels unemotional and transition it into something nimble, vibrant, and vital. Writers ranging from Chris Offutt to Colson Whitehead to Susan Steinberg will supply techniques and examples that we'll examine and thoughtfully poach. The third person POV can read every bit as close as the first—it just takes some skill to manufacture that ever important camaraderie between the reader and main character.

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
$130 new; $120 returning

Show & Tell with Seth Fischer

Closed


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
$130 new; $120 returning

The Art & Craft of Fact in Nonfiction with Chelsea Biondolillo

Closed


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


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-day 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


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

All Talk—Writing Dialogue
with Chris L. Terry in Los Feliz

1 spot left!


One Sunday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
December 9, 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, do writing exercises that help us get our characters’ authentic voices on the page, and discuss a range of topics such as exposition, writing in dialect, 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 Los Feliz where coffee, sparkling water, and light snacks will be served.


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

May we recommend Websites for Writers?

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

with Christopher DeWan in Pasadena

SOLD OUT


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—but understanding basic principles of story structure can unlock your narrative 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.


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

May we recommend The Art and Craft of Fact in Nonfiction?

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

SOLD OUT


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

Family Ties—Mining the Personal for Tension-Filled Fiction with Lilliam Rivera in Los Feliz

SOLD OUT


One Sunday
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
December 16, 2018

As writers, we strive to capture the truth on the page. We often conjure up painful and sometimes exhilarating moments from our own lives and translate them into the experiences of three-dimensional characters. This one-day seminar introduces ways writers can unearth the intimately personal and repurpose those moments into compelling fiction. Participants will explore their own histories with in-class exercises that urge them to write bravely. The most personal experiences make for the most powerful fiction. This seminar is an interior mixtape where fiction and authenticity will flow freely.

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.