Past Classes

Re-centering Writing

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 (contact@marcellaphaddad.com) 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.

Meeting dates:

April 2022

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

SHORT CLASSES

Horror Flash Fiction

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.

Untangling Perfectionism from Practice

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.

Mythic Story Structures Series: Literary Alchemy

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.

Mythic Story Structures Series: Soul Triptychs

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. 

ONLINE ASYNCHRONOUS

Sci-Fi Fantasy Workshop

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.

Fairy-tale and Myth: Re-telling and Re-imagination

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

There’s Only One Bed: Writing Romance

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.

The Mythic Memoir

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.

Alchemy, Symbolism, and the Mythic Journey

March 7 – April 15, 2022 Asynchronous on Google Classroom

This 6-week class contains self-study materials in the form of video lectures, notes, readings, guided questions, worksheets, writing assignments, and a culminating workshop week to share your writing. We’ll be deep-diving into complex symbolic topics such as the stages of alchemical storytelling, assigning symbolic roles to characters, and how to use mythic story structure.

This is an asynchronous class with no live meetings so you can complete the content on your own time. Each week has assignments in the form of writing worksheets and reading responses, and the class ends with a workshop where you will submit your own symbolic writing!

Check out the Syllabus below:

Week 1: Symbolic Literature

  • Use symbols to activate cathartic storytelling
  • the difference between real life and story space
  • how to consciously use symbolism to tell multi-layered stories

Week 2: Soul Triptychs

  • How characters represent heart, mind, body, spirit
  • the Freudian triptych of Id, Ego, Superego
  • Using triptychs to inspire character interactions in scenes

Week 3: Literary Alchemy

  • The three stages of literary alchemy; Nigredo, Albedo, Rubedo
  • Alchemical characters such as sulfur, mercury, and salt
  • How alchemy can activate stronger character arcs and changes

Week 4: Hero’s Journey

  • Historical importance of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey
  • How to use the Monomyth as guidance instead of feeling stifled by structure
  • The most important stages of the Journey and how they mark character growth

Week 5: Heroine’s Journey

  • Maureen Murdock’s response to Campbell and mythological connections to the modern
  • Differences between the journeys; rescue vs. destruction
  • Using mythic structures to explore our modern lives and creative nonfiction

Week 6: Workshop

  • Using structures and symbolic worksheets to expand our stories
  • Submit original work
  • Give and receive feedback on your stories using symbolic frameworks

Tuition is $275 for 6 weeks of lectures, readings, assignments, and writing workshop. You will have access to the material through Google Drive after the class ends.

Writing the New Year

Let’s kick off 2022 with joy, organization, and a clear direction for our writing projects!

Writing the New Year is a group class that takes place during the first three weeks of January and involves synchronous meetings, audio lectures, and written assignments. You can see topics in the schedule below. Our goal is to reflect and re-order our past and upcoming year of writing in order to celebrate our projects and design our writing practice so that we have the fuel to engage with our work in a productive way all year long.

With Monday Discussions, Wednesday Write-ins, Writing Caffeine mini-lectures, and one-on-one meetings, you’ll have structure and accountability to meet your goals and kick off the new year with inspiration and new drafts!

Monday Discussions and Wednesday Write-ins are synchronous zoom meetings from 6-7pm EDT.

Writing Caffeine lectures are delivered during the first three days of the week for you to listen to in the morning or before your writing session.

Each writer has two one-on-one meetings with me during the class, which you will sign up for the last week of December, after registering. We will discuss your individual projects and goals.

Schedule:

Week 1: Jan 3 – 7

Monday Discussion: Writing Reflection

Wednesday Write-in: Project Audit

Friday Assignment: Collected Works

Writing Caffeine:

  • Time milestones as re-energizing
  • Embracing structure and accountability as part of the process
  • Emotions and past works

Week 2: Jan 10-14

Monday Discussion: Writing Fuel

Wednesday Write-in: Juicy Scenes

Friday Assignment: Perfect Day 

Writing Caffeine:

  • Joy from readers
  • Joy from work
  • Joy from self

Week 3: Jan 17 – 21

Monday Discussion: The Writing Life

Wednesday Write-in: Grunt Work

Friday Assignment: Data Decoration

Writing Caffeine:

  • What if you’re erratic?
  • Clarify the end goal, cut out unnecessary assignments
  • Sit with accomplishment, embrace extra credit

For the $333 tuition, writers receive:

-9 Writing Caffeine audio recordings

-3 group meetings

-3 guided write-ins

-2 half-hour one-on-one meetings

Make sure that the email you enter for payment is the best contact email for you, as that’s the one I’ll use for class communications.

If you are a BIPOC writer who would like to be considered for a scholarship for this upcoming course, please reach out at contact@marcellaphaddad.com and let me know.

Looking forward to writing with you soon!

-Marcella

Class Policies:

  • Writing Caffeine lectures will be .mp3 files sent by email at the beginning of each week, and stored in our shared folder available for students to keep
  • Monday Discussions will be recorded and uploaded to our shared Google Drive folder
  • Wednesday Write-ins will not be recorded, but instructions and guiding prompts will be emailed to absent students
  • One-on-one meetings can be rescheduled with advance notice
  • Partial or full refunds are available by request and processed on a case-by-case basis

Re-centering Writing

4 Thursdays, 9am-10am EDT

Online on zoom

I’m excited to work with you on your writing projects for the fall and discuss goals, blocks, and organization strategies for writing! This small group will focus on guiding writers through their specific projects and goals. The group is capped at 6 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 all four sessions in September, the price is $111. There is one scholarship available for a writer of color, email me (contact@marcellaphaddad.com) 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.

Meeting dates:

9/2, 9/9, 9/16, 9/23

Some quick policy notes:

  • refunds and pro-rated refunds will be available in the case of cancellation
  • Meetings will not be recorded to protect the safe and vulnerable sharing of our artistic process. If you miss a live meeting, I’d like to make it up with you via email, where you can send me your goals and challenges for the week and I can respond with suggestions and goals for the following week.

Sci-fi and Fantasy Workshop: Online

Six Weeks, Six Stories — Remote!

FREE Brown Bag Lunch

Writing Strong Female Characters

Sci-fi and Fantasy: A Generative Course

For Young Adult Writers:

Piecing It Together: Storytelling through Letters

Week of Sci-fi and Fantasy: Focus on Made-up Languages

Week of Sci-fi and Fantasy: Focus on Multi-dimensional Female Characters