The program provides students with a framework and sustained blocks of time to work extensively on their own writing. Guided by our faculty of professional writers and authors, students focus on their manuscripts, both in the workshop and in individual conferences with their chosen instructor. The emphasis is on the creative acts of self-editing and revision. Workshops meet once a week in a 2.5-hour session. Structure and content are adapted to the area of concentration:
Class sessions are principally devoted to reading and discussing students' fiction, usually short stories or excerpts from novels-in-progress. Students learn how to balance inspiration with revision; explore methods for strengthening characterization, storytelling, and style while developing their voices to the utmost; and explore narrative forms and techniques.
Class sessions are principally devoted to reading and discussing students' poems. There is constant attention to the craft of modern poetry - skills and strategies, aspects of prosody and new directions in writing, and the discovery (and invention) of techniques appropriate for the poet's voice and subject matter. There is special emphasis on the process of revision.
Class sessions are principally devoted to reading and discussing students' nonfiction, usually in the form of personal reminiscences, reflective essays, reportage, and biography. Topics include the art of choosing a subject; developing a sense of structure; cultivating tone, style, and personal voice; and techniques of characterization, dialogue, imagery, and drama. Skills for interviewing and methods of documentary research are described and discussed.
Writing for Children and Young Adults
Class sessions are principally devoted to reading and discussing students' writings for children and young adults, which might include picture book texts, fiction or nonfiction for 8- to 12-year-olds, and teenage fiction or nonfiction. There is equal emphasis on learning proven techniques and strategies of writing successful literature for children, developing one's own voice and finding forms appropriate for personal projects, and expressing ideas in styles appropriate for children of different ages.