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Finishing School

Finishing School will re-open for enrollment for Fall 2023

Welcome to Finishing School, a course for creative writers!

It’s time to finish your work.

This Fall, we’re taking four intensive months to create revision plans, learn about our writing processes, engage with mentor texts, learn to give and utilize feedback, and most importantly — complete a project by the end of the year!

There are:

Put them all together, and you get this specific schedule designed to help you complete your work and develop skills of careful reading and revision planning for all of your future projects. Take a look at the writing deadlines, one-on-one meetings, and live group meetings (6pm EDT Tuesdays).

August: Writing Audit+ Readings
  • Read Welcome Packet
  • Sign up for presentation dates
  • Complete Writing Audit and decide what to work on this Fall
  • Readings due before our first meeting
September: Revision Plans

week of Sept 5: One-on-ones focusing on defining project goals, writing exercises for the month, and personalized readings for Resonance Presentations

Sept 6: Kickoff Meeting – class overview, example of Resonance Presentation with assigned readings, scheduling workshops

Sept 30: Writing Deadline #1 – current draft of project

  • Four video lectures + guided writing exercises focused on different strategies for finishing stories
  • Read assigned, personalized work
  • Write first draft

Although you can follow the suggested weekly schedule, all of the video lectures will be released to you at once.

The work in the later half of September is asynchronous. This is our academic foundation for the rest of the course — studying not just published works that can serve as examples for us, but putting in the majority of drafting and content that will be refined later.

October: Resonance Presentations

week of Oct 3: One-on-one focusing on mentor texts, articulation of goals and style, identifying areas for craft growth

Oct 11, 18, 25: Re-centering writing check-ins + Resonance Presentations: Each writer will take us through a close reading of their mentor text, provide imitation or writing exercises, and offer examples of craft elements for everyone to bring back to their own work

Oct 28: Workshop submission due

  • Read assigned mentor texts
  • Create close reading/inspiration exercises for your text
  • Revise based on craft observations from peers
November: Workshop of Recognition

Nov 1: Resonance Presentations

week of Nov 7: One-on-ones focusing on new craft realizations, identifying final stages of project, making plans for finishing draft

Nov 8, 15, 22, 29: Workshop of Recognition — writers present on each others’ work using the same framework as the Resonance Presentations. Discussion of work with a focus on understanding its purpose, value, social context, and effect on the reader.

  • Read fellow writers work each week
  • Add notes to class doc for each writer’s submission
  • Process your feedback for revision plan
December: Refinement

week of Dec 5: One-on-ones: how to apply feedback from workshop, creating a personalized plan without getting overwhelmed, setting final goals, discussing paths to publication

Dec 13: Final Class Reading

Dec 30: Final writing deadline – final feedback as voice memo from me in January

It’s time to join Finishing School if:

Here’s what you need to get started:

Finishing School is about finishing drafts as well as revising them, so you don’t need to know the ending yet if you haven’t written it! Endings will be a major topic for our class.

I am so excited to work with a dedicated group of writers in this personalized, intensive format. After you sign up, keep an eye out for your welcome packet mid-August!

Finishing School is currently closed for enrollment. Stay up to date on new classes by signing up for the newsletter.

If you are a POC writer interested in one of the scholarships for this Fall term, please email me!

If you have any other questions, reach out as well!

Check out this overview video where I add some explanations to the class schedule above:

(please note that group meetings will now take place on Tuesdays, instead of Wednesdays as pictured in the video)

FAQs

What if I’ve never finished a project before?

Then you are in the right place! The curriculum is going to be focused on new things, as in, getting your writing to a new stage, feeling a new form of inspiration, and reading and responding to work in a new way. What you need to join this intensive class is not ability or experience, but commitment and curiosity.

What if I’m not operating at the same level as the rest of the group?

These groups are always amazing, and the folks who are signed up so far are the best people. Not just because of their incredible writing, but because of their curiosity and generosity. So, the qualities you need to ‘keep up’ with everyone else has nothing to do with writing ability or accomplishments, but a sincere desire to learn and respect for the written word. Everyone shows up each week excited about what they’ve been reading, excited about each other’s work, and excited about their work. Enthusiasm is the currency of this community, not experience.

What if I don’t have time for this class?

This is definitely an important consideration! There are several things to consider in your schedule. Monthly one-on-ones which we’ll schedule in advance, weekly class meetings on Tuesday evenings, and at least one hour of writing each week. It might not sound like a lot of writing time, but if you can commit to at least one hour a week you will absolutely make progress on your work and have new realizations to discuss the next time you see the group. You will also have readings each week –either mentor texts or workshop submissions.

What if I’m not able to finish my project?

Here’s a little spoiler of the first topic we’re going to cover at our kick-off meeting. Things change. As we change and gain new skills in observation, our view of our projects change. The most important ability for a writer is flexibility and responsiveness to inspiration. You may come in with a firm goal to complete a specific novel, but as you realize what fuels your motivation you might identify a different piece that is calling to be written right now. Our constant discussions and accountability are the framework for supporting those changes. The focus is on developing new insights into our writing process that can help us finish projects, not finishing projects at all costs.

Check out more of my classes here.

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