Stuck in a writing rut or looking for fresh inspiration? In this six-week class best suited to writers with some workshop experience, we’ll find narratives in unexpected places as we read essays, stories, and poems that emerge out of itemized lists, receipts, instructional manuals, recipes, letters, advertisements and marginalia. We’ll discuss how these unconventional forms challenge our expectations of what a piece of writing can be, as well as how they complicate, contribute to, and enrich each selection.
Weekly mini writing assignments, workshop discussions, and one-on-one meetings with the instructor will give you the opportunity to experiment with new techniques and polish your writing while building a portfolio of completed work and works-in-progress. Writers will leave with renewed creative energy and an expanded sense of what is possible in their written work, as well as several exciting pieces of new work.
- weekly readings, generative writing exercises, and in-depth craft lessons
- introductions to new literary forms and tools for incorporating them in your own writing
- thoughtful and detailed peer and instructor feedback on two workshop submissions
- one private conference with the instructor to discuss your writing goals and how to meet them, with personalized reading suggestions
- information and tips on how to successfully submit work for publication, from an experienced literary editor and publicist
- more confidence, fresh ideas, and a portfolio of new and in-process work to continue building upon
Week 1: Introductions, writing processes and goals, two-sentence stories
Week 2: Letters and how-to guides, Workshop #1
Week 3: Obsessions, indexes and logs, Workshop #2
Week 4: Atlases, maps, and other image or place-based texts, Workshop #3
Week 5: Found objects, Workshop #4
Week 6: Submitting for publication, sustaining a writing life, wrap up
*no class October 8th or November 12th
Ariel Lewiton is a writer, editor, and literary consultant based in New York. Her stories, essays, and criticism have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, The National, Guernica, Los Angeles Review of Books, Vice, The Paris Review Daily, Tin House online, and elsewhere. A former editor and marketing director at Sarabande Books, she is a contributing editor at Guernica magazine and PR strategist for Mission Creek Festival, an annual celebration of arts and culture. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program.
“I can only paraphrase what I've already said in the acknowledgment section of my latest book: my work would be much dumber without the gift of Ariel Lewiton's mind. She's that rare writer who thinks as passionately, generously, rigorously and creatively about your work as she does her own.”
“Ariel Lewiton worked closely on my debut memoir in dual roles: editor and publicist. I was astounded at the clarity of vision, resourcefulness, and ingenuity she possessed in both roles. I always had a teammate, someone who saw beyond what I did in the manuscript, and knew exactly how to realize it. Throughout our editorial rounds, she switched hats constantly to act as my book’s tireless advocate. Ariel was essential in securing reviews in heralded, widely read outlets, placement on lists in top publications, and scheduling events that expanded my book’s readership in smart, unique ways. It was, by far, the best professional experience I’ve ever had.”
“During the final bleary push of making my book into a book, Ariel renewed the vision. She offered constructive and concrete feedback, allowing me to see the whole in a new way. She transformed the editorial process into a conversation, one that is informed by her extensive experience in the publishing industry and her own work as a creative writer. That extended and generous conversation allowed me to see the work in a new way.”
“The course gave me the opportunity to become a better, more critical reader of others’ work, and a more courageous and thoughtful writer of my own. I got great practical experience in communicating with my peers, and Ariel’s instruction style was approachable and inspiring.”
“This class opened my eyes to many forms of writing I had never known about or explored before. It helped me to develop my knowledge, thinking, and writing skills, and I’m very proud of the writing I did in the class. Ariel did a great job choosing examples for us to read that aided us in our own writing process, and everything we did was effective because we learned through the act of practice.”
“The class gave me a safe and supportive environment for sharing my ideas, opinions, and writing. Ariel was very good at challenging us and making us not afraid to fail, which allowed us to do so much more than we initially thought we could.”