“When I begin to doubt my ability to work the word, I simply read another writer and know I have nothing to worry about. My contest is only with myself, to do it right, with power, and force, and delight, and gamble.” – Charles Bukowski
In this six-week course we will examine methods for translating individual vision to an inimitable voice on the page. Through our specific lens, we will learn how to channel words and ideas into multi-faceted, dynamic prose—to do it right—in other words, to create writing that is distinctly our own.
Through readings, workshops, and class discussion, we will examine the ways craft and vision intersect, while freeing our voices from blanket rule-driven constraints. We’ll learn the elements of ‘good’ writing, from the sentence level to the universal, and what they mean to the individual writer. Alongside this work, we’ll explore methods for stimulating and supporting creativity and productivity.
By the end of our six weeks together, writers will have two complete drafts workshopped by peers and the instructor, a greater understanding and appreciation of their individual style and voice, and deeper confidence in themselves as writers, readers, and observers.
- intensive peer and instructor feedback on two submissions
- one private conference (via phone or Skype) with the instructor to discuss your writing style, goals, and areas for improvement
- methods for building a solid writing practice and supportive literary diet
- time, space, and guidance to focus on a project
- more confidence as a writer, on and off the page
Week 1: Intros, scheduling, overview, discuss writing process and goals
Week 2: Identifying the lens: workshop #1
Week 3: Form and feeling: workshop #2
Week 4: 'The Rules' and breaking them: workshop #3
Week 5: Motion and movement, plot or not: workshop #4
Week 6: Wrap-up, pitching and queries, mindful criticism, building your writing practice, looking forward
"In PLASTIC VODKA BOTTLE SLEEPOVER, Mila Jaroniec writes with a seer's wisdom and a poet's touch. Emotions are evoked in language both lovely and dangerous. I love the honesty and the beauty."
"This is a book that wasn't just typed, but carved into a mirror with a razor blade. An adventure of errors through a maze where the walls move and the floor does too, PLASTIC VODKA BOTTLE SLEEPOVER pulses with vivid neon light; if Joan Didion and Courtney Love had to band together to save the world from itself on a Saturday night. Mila Jaroniec is part leader of a punk rock cult, part soothsayer of substance abuse, part art slick angel, all genius."
“PLASTIC VODKA BOTTLE SLEEPOVER is a razor-sharp meditation on loneliness in sex, under capitalism, in the face of mortality, even in the arms of those we claim to love. Not literature, philosophy, alcohol, or commodities fill the hole, and Jaroniec's triumph is that she doesn’t cop to any easy solutions. This isn’t a book for the winners of the world, but one that celebrates the Worst Of list, the losers, the ‘kindhearted satanists and drug addicts who are not sorry.’ Those who accept the world as-is with all its fucked up characters, each more gloriously doomed than the last.”
“Mila Jaroniec’s editorial direction was extraordinarily helpful to me. She shaped my writing toward a greater purpose and effect with an assured but gentle hand. I’m very grateful for her guidance and generosity toward my work.”
“Mila Jaroniec is a strong and sensitive writer who knows how to cut to the heart of any story. I’d trust her completely with my words.”
“As an editor, Mila was able to tap into the undercurrent of my writing. She discerned the universal issues I was grasping at in my work and helped me bring them to the forefront in immediate and visceral ways, making my piece more organized and so much stronger. Her guidance helped me take my writing from ‘essay’ to ‘work of art.’”
“To be edited by Mila Jaroniec is to have the inside of your head turned inside out to ring inside your reader’s head the same as you first heard your insights in your head—hear them again from your ringside seats to her head bringing your insights out from your head to the art in your heart in your art.”