Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘workshops’

Shop Talk |

A Moveable… Writer's Workshop

Lots of people read on the subway. But how about writing on the subway? The NY Writers Coalition recently offered many the chance to do just that–by transforming a subway car into a free writing workshop! With pens and paper in hand, a group of writers on the #7 train wrote from Times Square to Flushing, reports the New York Times: After leaving Manhattan, the train emerged from its tunnel and rose along elevated tracks into the bright sunlight in western Queens. It was an unconventional writer’s space, with the train rumbling into a new station every few minutes and […]


Shop Talk |

How to Hatch a Novel

Most writing classes revolve around the workshop—but the workshop format, in which participants usually read 25-30 pages of a student’s work and then critique it as a group, is ill-suited to the novel form, where 30 pages may not even be a full chapter. Is there a better way to give feedback on a novel-in-progress? Grub Street, Boston’s independent writing center, aims to find out with an experimental new course dubbed the “Novel Incubator.” (Disclaimer: I have taught for Grub Street, but have not been involved in the novel course.) Billing itself as a “year-long MFA-level course, team-taught by two […]


Shop Talk |

826 Michigan's "How to Write Like I Do Series"—This Weekend!

Not a kid, but wish you could go to 826’s amazing writing programs? Now, thanks to 826 Michigan‘s How To Write Like I Do workshops, you can—and you don’t have to put your hair in pigtails and pretend to know about Bakugan. Inspired by a similar series at 826 Seattle, the How To Write Like I Do workshops for adults are held 5-6 times per year, led by writers like Daniel Alarcon and Peter Ho Davies. Novelist and UM MFA faculty member V.V. Ganeshananthan leads the next session February 4, 2012 (that’s tomorrow!) titled “The Reported Imagination: Journalism Techniques for […]


Shop Talk |

Under the Influence: A Parable of Courage

When I send out submissions, I’m easily spooked. After receiving my 4,575th “positive rejection”—i.e., “Not a good fit this time… send more”—I wonder if He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is mwa-ha-ha-ing behind the scenes: “Everyone Else is Going to Be Published. Die, Sucker.” Fortunately, better writers than me have endured the soul-sucking chill of the Dementor’s Kiss. My go-to writing mantra is a story about a Really Successful Writer (hereafter known as Harry Potter) told to me by my favorite writing mentor, whom I’ll call… Hermione Granger. Perhaps the story means so much because she believed in my work. When I can’t maintain faith […]


Shop Talk |

Under the Influence… of Sands Hall

Immersed in a 9-to-5, year-round office job since early 2007, I haven’t led a fiction workshop for some time. But if I should inhabit that particular teaching role again, I’d want to remind myself how the job is best done. Ideally, I’d do that by sitting in on one of Sands Hall’s workshops. I met Sands when I enrolled in her “Tools of the Writer’s Craft: Novel” workshop at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival in 1997. I subsequently returned to Iowa to take other workshops of hers. We’ve stayed in touch, and I’m proud to say that we’re friends. In […]


Interviews |

Write from Your Own Chair: An interview with Bret Lott on teaching

In the midst of a stellar authorial career and after a quarter century of teaching creative writing, Bret Lott takes a moment to talk about sending students in the right direction, maintaining a sincere workshop practice, and keeping your writing (and reading) life alive as you teach.




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