Writers on Craft

Do you long to dive more deeply into your characters? Are you in need of some new methods to invite the reader into your work? Do you wish to get over your fear of dialogue? Do you want to write at the intersection of the personal and the political? Have you always wished you understood the poetic line? Please join our favorite Writing By Writers faculty members online on Monday nights as we offer two-hour topic-specific craft seminars in character, structure, dialogue, and all the elements of style and storytelling. Choose your favorites or sign up for the whole series. Classes will be offered via Zoom and capped at 20 participants. More writers being added.

John M
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
ginger-gaffney
Paul Lisicky
Chip Livingston foto
lidia authorphoto1
pamnew
Aimee_NezhukmatathilBlack-240x360_edited
John M
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
ginger-gaffney
Paul Lisicky
Chip Livingston foto
lidia authorphoto1
pamnew
Aimee_NezhukmatathilBlack-240x360_edited

Is There a Lyric Essay in Your Toolbox* Sandbox with Chip Livingston

Class Full

Online Seminar - $75

August 10, 5:00pm - 7:00pm PDT

Chip Livingston leads a workshop on purposefully employing the miscellaneous writings that don’t seem to easily fit into a traditional form. This craft seminar looks at the surprising history of the “newish” form being called the “lyric essay” and its many varieties, exploring also why sometimes what we think we “should” do isn’t always what the writing wants us to do. Livingston will argue that you’ve probably already written a lyric essay but called it something else, and will provide prompts and examples of writing intentionally into these margins. The seminar will also examine a number of found forms that are perfectly suited for a lyric essay. (* We often talk about craft elements as tools, and tools make me think of work, but I like us to think of writing lyric essays as fun, as play; therefore, I’ve changed “toolbox” to “sandbox” for the title.)

Chip Livingston is the author of a novel, a collection of essays and short stories, and two poetry collections. His poems, essays, and stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Mississippi Review, Cincinnati Review, Court Green, The Journal, and on the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Academy websites. Chip teaches in the low-residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He lives in Montevideo, Uruguay.

How To Write A Hot Scene Without Shame with Steve Almond

Class Full

Online Seminar - $75

August 17, 5:00pm - 7:00pm PDT

Even though people think about sex all the time, and even have it occasionally, writers tend to shy away from the subject. Which is crazy. Because sex is the one experience that makes us all hopeful and horny and embarrassed and vulnerable (at least if we’re doing it right). In this freewheeling workshop, we’ll look at the work of Mary Gordon, Mary Gaitskill and other literary horndogs in an effort to figure out how to infuse our own sex scenes with genuine emotion and ecstatic sensation, not evasions and porn clichés. Arrive ready to lay your characters bare.

Steve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and nonfiction, including William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life, Bad Stories, and the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. For four years, Steve hosted the New York Times Dear Sugars podcast with his pal Cheryl Strayed. His short stories have been anthologized widely, in the Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Erotica, and Best American Mysteries series.

Dismantling the House: Endings as Beginnings with Paul Lisicky

Class Full

Online Seminar - $75

August 24, 5:00pm - 7:00pm PDT

How to write an ending at a time in which the world is beginning? How to say no to the old order and imply a vision that’s richer and inclusive, with care restored to its rightful place? How to do this in a way that signals light and dark, open and closed, emotional and intellectual complexity? In this craft session we’ll talk about struggles and strategies that feel true to this time of isolation, survival, community, and power. We’ll do a close reading of several recent endings (both fiction and nonfiction) and try out an exercise suggested by those excerpts.

Paul Lisicky is the author of six books including Later: My Life at the Edge of the World, The Narrow Door, Unbuilt Projects, The Burning House, Famous Builder, and Lawnboy. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Conjunctions, The Cut, Fence, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Tin House, and in many other magazines and anthologies. He has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he has served on the Writing Committee since 2000. He has taught in the creative writing programs at Cornell University, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere. He is currently an Associate Professor in the MFA Program at Rutgers University-Camden and lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is at work on a memoir Animal Care and Control.

Revision; Where trust, hard work, and art come together with Ginger Gaffney

Register

Online Seminar - $75

August 31, 5:00pm - 7:00pm PDT

We each have the skills to dig deep and be present in our original writing. But when it comes to reflection on our first or third draft, we can lose our compass. Revision is a tool which should refine that compass, that original urge to write THIS PARTICULAR STORY. As a first time author, let me walk you through my journey of revision - from input of early mentors, agents, and eventually my publishing house editor. Learning to trust our work in the hands of others, then trust ourselves to bring that work home.

Ginger Gaffney is an author, a horse trainer, and teacher of riding and writing. She has been working with horses and their people for over 25 years. She works with experienced riders as well as anyone who wishes to get close to the power and honesty of the horses. Ginger holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Half Broke is her first book.

Gimme the Loot!: How to Steal Like a Poet with John Murillo

Register

Online Seminar - $75

September 7, 5:00pm - 7:00pm PDT

"Good poets borrow, great poets steal."--T.S. Eliot

 “What we call originality is just a new amalgam of old influences.”—Marvin Bell

 

In this class, we will explore strategies by which poets may enrich their own art by deliberately imitating their favorites... and their favorites' favorites!  We will discuss such topics as voice, influence, and originality, as well as the imperative of serving a serious apprenticeship.  Participants should bring to this session either a few passages from their one favorite writer, or one passage each from a few of their favorite writers. 

John Murillo is the author of the poetry collections, Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher 2010, Four Way 2020), finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (forthcoming from Four Way Books 2020). His honors include a Pushcart Prize, the J Howard and Barbara MJ Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and Best American Poetry 2017, 2019, and 2020.  He is an assistant professor of English at Wesleyan University and also teaches in the low residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.

Mining Memory with Nicole Sealey

Register

Online Seminar - $75

September 21, 5:00pm - 7:00pm PDT

In this generative workshop, participants will mine their respective memories via back-to-back prompts. The goal is to walk away with drafts, interesting lines and/or words that move. Participants are invited to share, but are not required to do so.

Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is the author of Ordinary Beast, finalist for the PEN Open Book and Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her other honors include a 2019 Rome Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, the Poetry International Prize and a Daniel Varoujan Award, grants from the Elizabeth George and Jerome Foundations, as well as fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo, Cave Canem, MacDowell Colony and the Poetry Project. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times and elsewhere. Nicole holds an MLA in Africana studies from the University of South Florida and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. Formerly the executive director at Cave Canem Foundation, she is currently a 2019-2020 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.

More writers being added each week. Check back often for new craft seminars!

REGISTRATION INFORMATION & CANCELLATION POLICY: When you register you will receive an immediate confirmation email with the zoom link. If you do not receive this please check your junk mail folder. If it is not there, send an email to info@writingxwriters.org and we will confirm your registration. Please note, we DO NOT record the craft seminars. If you cancel your registration more than 48 hours before the start time of the seminar, you will receive a full refund. If you cancel within 48 hours of the start time, we will refund you based on our ability to refill your spot. To cancel please send an email to info@writingxwriters.org. 

Our Mission

To create a rigorous and compassionate environment to learn the art of reading and writing from accomplished authors.

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info@writingxwriters.org