"I gained confidence in myself as both a writer and reader in Rachel's class." - former student
The craft of writing has become an academic discipline, but that doesn't mean it can't be deeply productive! In this class we will use the basics—structure, style, setting, character, dialogue, dramatic tension, and pacing—as jumping-off points to generate discussion and produce a whole lot of new work. A variety of weekly readings will be our foundation. Discussion will help us build our online community. And weekly exercises will guide us in the generation of material. Writers who take this class will walk away with a coherent overview of these aspects of craft, a bunch of new material, and a practical foundation they can use to get started on new projects.
While there are no live meetings or workshops in this class, I will respond to each of your writing exercises, and discussion and peer feedback is strongly encouraged.
Rachel Lyon is the author of the novel Self-Portrait with Boy (Scribner 2018). Her shorter work has appeared in Joyland, Iowa Review, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, and elsewhere. Rachel teaches for Sackett Street Writers Workshop, Catapult, and other institutions. She sends out a weekly Writing/Thinking Prompts newsletter, and cohosts the reading series Ditmas Lit in her native Brooklyn, NY. Visit her there or at her website.
"Rachel made it clear that writing required passion but also discipline, and she was able to convey her vast knowledge throughout the course. She was crystal clear throughout, giving us excellent writing prompts for each class. Everyone was engaged."
"Rachel was funny, smart, and kept us focused on the material at hand, guiding each writer to be the best they possibly could. She gave detailed feedback that was thoughtful and incredibly instructive. I gained confidence in myself as both a writer and reader in Rachel's class."
"Rachel Lyon has written a haunting tale of how a singular, devastating event in the life of a young woman photographer changes the trajectory of her life and comes to define her utterly. Beautifully imagined and flawlessly executed, SELF-PORTRAIT WITH BOY will suggest, to some readers, the obsessive interiority of the great Diane Arbus, conjoined with an original and disturbing examination of the ill-defined borders between life and art."
"SELF-PORTRAIT WITH BOY captures the furious beauty of a vanished New York, an irresistible whirlwind of passion, violence, love, struggle, and above all else, art. Rachel Lyon paints an unforgettable portrait of a true art monster—a young woman hellbent on pursuing greatness, no matter the cost."
"A formidable novel, equal parts ghost story, love story, and riveting Bildungsroman. Full of big ideas about art and love and ambition, with prose so vivid it gives off sparks, this debut won me over completely. Chilling and beautiful, just like the work of the artist at the heart of the story."
"I read Rachel Lyon's sharp and achingly beautiful novel about art and fame and loneliness and death in a frenzy, full of a deep and urgent need. With this gorgeous debut, Lyon will unravel you and then stitch you together again as something entirely new."