Researching Your Novel: How to Get the Details Just Right
with Taylor Jenkins Reid
In order to write believable fiction that transports your reader to another time or place, you must focus on the details. In this class, Taylor Jenkins Reid supports writers to know what details to look for, how to zero in on the most effective details, and what is arguably the hardest part of researching: knowing when to stop and learning what not to include. Jenkins Reid will share her own process that’s resulted in two best-selling novels, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugoand Daisy Jones & The Six. While this course will focus on fiction examples, memoirists can also benefit from understanding how research can inform your writing process—how to maximize it, integrate it, and when to leave it so your story can take centerstage.
Am I Allowed to Write That? How to be a Responsible and Conscientious Creator
with Rebecca Makkai
Unless every character you write is exactly like you, fiction involves writing across difference. Those differences might involve identity and demographics, or they might touch upon knowledge, experience, setting, or historical era. With so much valid concern and debate around the touchy issue of appropriation, writers can find themselves crippled by fears: Do I have permission to write this? What if I get it horribly wrong? And even if I do it well, will people be upset that I wrote outside my own life experience? In this course, Rebecca Makkai tackles the subject of writing about “the other” and how to do it responsibly, and well, using her own experience with her novel, The Great Believers, which took her far outside her own lived experience and identity. This class offers strategies and techniques for researching lives unlike our own, for working with filter and sensitivity readers, and for making sure we approach our characters with the respect they deserve.
How to Write Your Best Memoir
with Claire Bidwell Smith
In this class dedicated to the heart of memoir writing, best-selling author Claire Bidwell Smith, author of the acclaimed The Rules of Inheritance, takes students through an emotional and creative journey of the heart and soul to support them to access their stories, step into the story they’re meant to write, and then crack it all the way open. Memoir requires much of the storyteller—full transparency, self-understanding, and considering what the reader needs and wants from your story. It also requires writers to lay bare the truth, to be fully exposed—and vulnerable in the process. This class will support writers to go there, with compassion and understanding, providing tips that will support you to let your story shine, all the while providing meaning to your waiting readers.
Bringing Hidden Stories to Light: 20 Tips for Uncovering the Story You’re Meant to Write
with Lisa See
Lisa See has been writing and publishing for over 20 years. She’s written twelve books—a novel series, a memoir, and multiple historical novels. See is known for writing about China, inspired by her own Chinese heritage, and in this class she dives deep into the many ways writers can support their own process—through inspiration, writing what you know, cutting to the bone, and 17 other tips she’s learned over her illustrious career. See will take students of this class on a journey through what she’s learned and what she knows, leaving writers and authors alike with ideas for their own process, new ways of looking at the world of writing and publishing, and a heavy dose of inspiration and connection to the story that’s wanting to be told.
Writing a Thriller that Grabs Hollywood’s Attention
with Wendy Walker
Wendy Walker, whose page-turners have grabbed the attention of Hollywood and been optioned by Eva Longoria and Reese Witherspoon, offers personal and professional insights on how to write a thriller that will know the socks off your readers—and publishers and studio execs. This course is a nuts-and-bolts of thriller writing class appropriate for beginners who want to understand what sets thriller writing apart from other fiction genres, and also for more experienced writers looking to deepen their craft. Walker will address how to come up with an idea, how to grow it into a novel by choosing a narration structure, how to choose which narration style best suits your story, how to handle backstory, how to choose mood and style for each character, writer’s block, and of course, building in plot twists.