Susan's Blog

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I’m Offering A Writing Workshop Online

The process for producing a publishable piece: Nailing the essay-length work

This two-part class will give you the basic tools for crafting opeds, personal narrative, book proposals, pitch letters, beginning memoirs. You will also have opportunity for peer review and one free session of my editing. 2 Saturday mornings in January, TBD


  1. Overview: The essay, what it is used for:
  • Pitch letters
  • Opeds
  • Summary of book for an agent
  • Persuasion


  1. The three most important goals for an essay
  • To catch the reader’s eye
  • To get the reader to keep reading
  • To “win,” i.e., to fully convey your point and persuade


  1. The nutshell: how do you create perfect essay-length works?
  • Structure
  • Tools, techniques, and strategies
  • Tone
  • Understanding your reader


  1. The bricks and mortar: structuring your piece
  • Lede
  • Background
  • Active story
  • Falling action
  • Kicker


  1. Let’s talk about tools, techniques, and strategies


  1. Learning from others: read and write the type of essay you are aiming for.
  • Best ledes:
  • B. White
  • Brent Staples
  • Maya Angelou
  • Opening of Glass Castle
  • Best kickers:
  • Joyful Noise
  • NY Times pieces


  • Assignment#1: Read the essays. Analyze two of these essays for next time: structure & techniques, with examples. Critique the pair: are there problems?
  • Assignment #2: Write out your idea(s) for next time.


The process for producing a publishable piece: Nailing the essay-length work



  1. What is your idea?
  • Sometimes there is more than one essay within your essay
  • Current topics
  • Evergreen topics


  1. What is your angle? Is it special and new, shocking, revelatory, solution-oriented?


  1. Finding your own process: Outlines, free-writes and brain dumps





  1. What techniques will you use?
  • Your favorite techniques
  • Less familiar techniques
  1. Give your work its due
  • Never ever believe your first draft is THE ONE
  • Put it away, print it out, try not to edit online
  • Get a reliable reader


  1. Read-around/peer review


  1. Wrap-up


  1. Feedback

Cost is $150 for both days, or $100 for one day.

January 4 9am-12pm EST and January 11 9am-12pm EST

Contact me for registration details.

1 comment

Sounds like a great program!

— added by Lynne C. in CT on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 7:20 pm