ACW offers online writing classes for students of all experience, backgrounds, and genres. We’re excited to announce our upcoming classes for the winter:

[January 15 – February 19, 2018]

Course #1: The Promise of a Good Story: Writing Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels

Teacher. Chris Tebbetts [Bio]

Register. [Student Registration]

Class Description. What makes a good story? What makes a good story for young readers? How are those questions the same, and how are they different?

This five-week class will include discussion of story’s building blocks, including character, setting, plot, and voice, as well as the writing process itself. Participants should come prepared to work on an existing novel for young readers or to begin writing a new one.

The goal of this class will be to spark creative thinking and discussion; to share responses to each other’s work, with an emphasis on the positive; and to move each writer a step closer to the completion of his or her respective novel. If there is interest, we will also schedule a short follow-up workshop later in the year, to see where our individual stories have taken us.

Course #2: Essay Associated: Experiments in Creative Nonfiction

Teacher. Jessica Hendry Nelson [Bio]

Register. [Student Registration]

Class Description. Creative nonfiction narratives are having a cultural moment, not just because they reflect modern and dialogically complex experiences, but because they give writers and readers an avenue through which to push against the boundaries of the lived metaphor.

By experimenting with a variety of forms in creative nonfiction, the writer can activate wonder by juxtaposing conflicting or adjacent narrative elements, often without transitions, creating threads of meaning across seemingly disparate ideas. A beast by many names, these new forms are also referred to as collage, montage, lyric, segmented, hermit crab, braided, etc.

Writers may blend prose and poetry; fact and fiction; memoir and science; playwriting and poetry—finding innovative structures to best support a-linear storytelling. In this 5-week workshop, we’ll read, analyze, and write short creative nonfiction narratives that rely on poetic prose and unconventional structures—including lyric, braided, and hermit crab memoirs—and harness the power of vivid imagery, dialectical movement, and specificity.

[February 19 – March 26, 2018]

Course #3: Shazam: The Superpower of Shortform

Sequel to Lightning in a Bottle: Reading and Writing the Nature Flash

Teacher. Julia Shipley [Bio]

Register. [Student Registration]

Class Description. Back by popular demand, a course solely focused on creating riveting writing with word counts of 1000 words or less, The Superpower of Shortform utilizes the ideas inside last year’s Nature Flash class, “Lightning in a Bottle” but introduces and explores new content. Nature Flashes are short passages concerned with the natural world, think: a mash-up of nature writing and compressed prose, (sometimes known as “flash fiction” and its non-fiction equivalent, the “short short.”)

In this five-week course, we’ll study examples by brief-prose practitioners—paying attention to how structure, imagery, rhythm, voice and narrative energy combine to create exciting work. Using “real world” assignments,  (drawing on submission guidelines from journals that showcase short writing, including nature flashes) our class can serve as an opportunity to try out content that may be stashed away in your journal and electrify it.

Course #4: We Wear the Mask: The Truth in Playing Pretend

Teacher. Samantha Thornhill [Bio]

Register. [Student Registration]

Class Description. Can delving into others’ points of view usher us to our own sleeping realizations? What would our poems gain by assuming the voices of people that are otherwise distant from us?

This five-week generative writing course will focus on the persona poem as a method of unearthing surprising truths about being human, animal, or myth. With empathy and imagination being major tools of engagement, writers give voice to mythological figures, deceased ancestors, movie stars, villains, and historic figures–known and unknown. Each week, writers will be exposed to poems with crucial craft elements to help in the creation of their own deeply-imaginative works.


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