April 2022 Online on zoom
This small group will focus on guiding writers through goals, blocks, and organization strategies for writing. The group is capped at 4 participants. These sessions will be run as a writing consulting meeting, with a focus on your individual projects and goals and weekly advice!
In these meetings, we will check in with each writer and focus on:
- group goal-setting and weekly accountability
- writing & surviving capitalism
- the business of writing and balancing writing with life
- project organization & planning
- the writer’s mental health
- sustainable writing practices and habits
- writing for the self vs. writing for audiences
- submitting to literary magazines
- maintaining stamina and inspiration for long projects
- developing your unique voice
- personalized writing assignments and reading recommendations
These meetings will re-center your writing practice in your life and make sure that you’re on track to complete your current projects while still giving yourself grace and empathy. The goal is to understand better how you work and what systems, habits, or strategies will best serve you. I’ll offer individual advice and exercises to everyone, and engaging with your fellow writers and hearing about everyone’s different processes will also inspire new possibilities in writing for you!
For four sessions the price is $111. There is one scholarship available for a writer of color, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like that spot!
If you’re an alumni of one of my classes, or a past consulting client, please sign up directly! If we haven’t worked together before, I would love it if you could email me a short 5-page writing sample and tell me a bit about your writing goals.
After payment, you will receive the zoom link for our meetings. I will also send out a welcome email one week before the session starts which will include the zoom link again, and our group google drive where we’ll do our collective goal setting each week.
Mon: 4, 11, 18, 25
Tues: 5, 12, 19, 26
Some quick policy notes:
- Meetings will be recorded, so you can watch if you missed a session, or rewatch
- refunds and pro-rated refunds are possible in the case of cancellation
- You can cancel your subscription at any time
Current Grubstreet Classes
How many words does it take to create true terror? In this seminar we’ll examine tiny tales of horror and learn how to create short and scary stories. We’ll study the similarities between comedy and horror in terms of timing, expectation, and subversion. There are many genres of horror that can exist in little spaces. We’ll learn about wildcard characters, invented worlds, and pacing strategies to set up suspense. Throughout the workshop we’ll stay close to character and keep an eye on how turning points and climaxes are related to the specificity of voice, desire, and fear.
By the end of this seminar, participants will have the beginnings of several new horror flash pieces based on in-class writing prompts, a worksheet for outlining a short horror piece, and resources and recommendations for further reading.
In this seminar, we’ll use guided writing exercises and discussions in order to identify perfectionism, procrastination, and other downfalls to our writing productivity. We’ll learn how to understand our unique writing processes and where our inner voices or expectations are interrupting our goals. For the brainstorming stage of writing, we’ll discuss how to overcome imposter syndrome and our fears surrounding our ideas.
For the drafting stage, we’ll explore how to develop a healthy relationship with our inner editor and a positive conduit to the story. For editing, we’ll learn strategies for organization and control that don’t stifle the magic of the project.
And finally, when it comes to submissions and publication, we’ll develop tangible plans and reminders for ourselves to create the stamina and perspective needed to maintain a long writing career. By the end of this session, writers will have completed several worksheets with specific insight into their writing process, and will develop a personalized plan to intercept destructive perfectionist habits in the future.
Literary Alchemy is a symbolic story structure that uses the mythical and scientific process of alchemy to outline a story by putting the main character through the alchemical stages to undergo a deep change, just like lead turns into gold. We’ll learn about how characters act as reagents such as Mercury, Sulfur, and Salt, and how their symbolic role in the story ties into the main character’s growth. We’ll learn about the three stages of alchemy and how to set up an alchemical wedding and philosopher’s stone by the end of the story. This story structure was used by Tolkien, Rowling, Lewis, and Stoker, so we’ll use examples from popular fantasy literature to study the stages.
During this seminar we’ll practice applying alchemy to our favorite movies, tv shows, and books, and there will also be time to fill out an alchemy worksheet for your own story and share the ways that your work fulfills the stages or changes you might make based on this new type of symbolism.
Do you know which characters in your story are the Heart, Mind, or Body? What about Id, Ego, and Superego? In this seminar, we’ll learn about how to effectively wield soul triptychs by investigating the symbolic potential of groups of characters and how they inform the central journey of our main characters. Soul triptychs are an especially important layer of symbolism for stories with large casts of characters. We’ll add in Spirit, Innocence, Doppelgangers, and Shadow Selves as we round out our understanding of how characters interact with each other to tell a complex story about the internal journey of the central character. We’ll practice identifying triptychs in film and tv, and then we’ll fill out worksheets where you can write about how your own characters fulfill these triptychs in your stories.
In this class, we’ll apply elements of the traditional workshop—a focus on craft, language, character, and plot—to the specific considerations of science fiction and fantasy writing. We’ll concentrate on story elements that are unique to these genres, such as believability and consistency in world-building, the “hero” arc of the protagonist, genre tropes, and invented languages. This class involves weekly readings and discussions (20 – 40 pages), short writing prompts, and workshop. Short story writers and novelists alike are welcome, as are students new to the genre; however, writers should come to class either with an existing project or a concrete idea to develop.
Mirrors, moons, trickster gods and talking lions — there’s a reason we keep returning to our favorite fairy tales, myths, and folk tales. Through the bravery and cunning of heroes we learn how to navigate our own world in the language of symbols. But if we want to explore those themes and aesthetics in our own writing, how do we do so without completely copying or re-tracing faded steps? In this course, we’ll identify our personal connection to myths and stories and learn how to identify their core and morality from their aesthetic. We’ll interrogate Western conventions and themes and examine patterns in international fairy tales by exploring Bolivian folklore, American cryptids, Middle Eastern oral stories, Scottish ghost stories, Asian mythology, and African fables. By the end of this class, students will have completed several short “fairy tale field work” entries exploring their personal relationship to ancient stories, and workshop 2 creative pieces of prose, creative nonfiction, or poetry that examine, re-tell, or re-imagine existing tales and myths. The goal in our writing and feedback to each other is to analyze and articulate each writer’s connection to these mythic stories, and how that will inspire and inform their own work.
ONLINE SYNCHRONOUS ON ZOOM
What is the secret ingredient to witty banter? How do you pull off a believable love triangle? What role do sex scenes play in characterization and plot? Whether you’re working on a romance book or you just want to uplevel a romantic subplot in your story, this course will help you define your characters, their desires, and their relationships.
Over six weeks, we’ll explore romance tropes and how to use them or subvert them effectively, how to improve dialogue through strengthening character desires, and how to write intimate scenes that connect the characters to their larger arc and world. Each week, we’ll focus on a different aspect of romance––like using description effectively in romantic scenes, creating purposeful and complex plot situations, dialogue, characterization and relationships, and emotional beats––and read examples of well-written romantic scenes from authors such as Bolu Babalola, Kate Stayman-London, Alyssa Cole, Courtney Milan, Jenny Han, Sierra Simone, and others. We’ll study romance beyond heteronormative tropes and include queerness, asexuality, different body types, and neurodivergence in our discussions. Weekly writing exercises will help you apply what you learn to your own work, and each writer will have two scene workshops with feedback from the rest of the class.
You will come away from the class with detailed character notes, outline ideas for longer works, scene-level checklists and exercises, and feedback on two scenes (or one scene + 1 revision) from your work in progress.
What happens when we layer ancient myth over reality? In this course, we’ll learn about the Hero and Heroine’s journeys and how to use mythic story structures to elevate creative nonfiction and memoir. We’ll read examples of speculative nonfiction and personal essays engaging with myth and storytelling. Each writer will get to workshop a piece of their writing, and we’ll have readings and writing prompts each week to generate new pieces of creative nonfiction or memoir.
Writers will leave this course with a complete mythic memoir, worksheets for using the hero and heroine’s journeys in writing, and feedback on their submitted essay.