FALL 2018 NON-FICTION CLASSES

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PERSONAL ESSAY | FICTION/MEMOIR HYBRID

8-Week Introduction to the Personal Essay

Class Begins Sunday, October 21, 2018

2 SPOTS OPEN

Did you know that Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir, Wild, which later became a blockbuster movie starring Reese Witherspoon, was based off of one of Strayed’s personal essays? In this course we will read that piece, in addition to many others, in order to identify and investigate the fundamental techniques for writing personal nonfiction. We will also consult selected chapters from Lee Gutkind’s You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, which will guide our weekly discussions of topics ranging from narrative frame and rendering scenes to ethical concerns and fact checking.

Each week, we will talk about the assigned readings, participate in writing exercises, and—most importantly—discuss each other’s work. Students will have two opportunities to have their work critiqued (up to 20 pages each time), and they will receive feedback from the instructor as well as their classmates. In addition to providing written feedback, students will also be expected to adhere to respectful and open-minded workshopping standards. No prior nonfiction study or workshop experience is required.

NOTE: Students are required to purchase a copy of Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, edited by Lex Williford and Michael Martone and You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, by Lee Gutkind.

Instructor Mag Gabbert holds a PhD in creative writing from Texas Tech University and an MFA in creative writing from UC Riverside. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, 32 Poems, Stirring, Carve Magazine, Sugar House Review and The Nervous Breakdown, among other places. She currently teaches creative writing for the Graduate Department of Liberal Studies at Southern Methodist University and serves as an editor for Iron Horse Literary Review.

Fee: $495 for new students; $470 for returning students.

  • Mag Gabbert, Instructor

  • Enrollment limit: 8 students

  • Meets Sundays 6:30PM to 8:30PM / October 21, 2018 to December 9, 2018

  • Class meets at The Drawing Board at 75 & Campbell: 1900 Jay Ell Dr / Richardson, TX / 75081

Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this class2

8-Week Memoir & Fiction: Exploring Voice & Vision in Different Genres

Class Begins Tuesday, October 23, 2018

All stories, fiction or nonfiction, grapple with the interplay of truth and imagination. Writers strive to manifest a voice that will compel a reader’s trust but also empower their vision and drive to discover new, unanticipated meanings and possibilities in their narratives. The late Tom Wolfe, both journalist and novelist, described his hybrid work in these terms: “It’s not just that reporting gives you a bigger slice of life—lends verisimilitude to what you are doing—it’s that it feeds the imagination.”

In this spirit, we'll explore fiction and memoir as platforms from which to tell our stories. What genre might offer perspectives, form, and techniques to best realize your intentions? Or does one best suit the particular story you want to tell? You’ll have the opportunity to treat the same story in different genres, or maybe you have different ideas to pursue in both fiction and memoir. To guide our inquiry, we’ll consider the formal and expressive qualities of each genre through published short stories and creative nonfiction, along with essays on craft. The aim of this class is not to choose one genre over the other as the “right” one for you. Rather, we’ll approach our inquiry in the spirit of experimentation, guided by the questions: What domain summons your most authentic voice and ignites your most vital and powerful writing? How will you use your imagination to gain a deeper connection with your narrative and characters—whether they’re people you’ve known in life or are discovering on the page?

Each writer will have two opportunities to have his or her work critiqued during class and will receive written feedback from the instructor and classmates.

NOTE: Students are required to purchase a copy of The Stuff of Fiction, by Douglas Bauer and The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr as the foundational texts for the course.

Instructor Eden Elieff is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, a teacher, and private writing coach. She has published work in literary journals, the Dallas Morning News, and also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Fee: $495 for new students; $470 for returning students.

  • Eden Elieff, Instructor

  • Enrollment limit: 8 students

  • Meets Tuesdays 6:30PM to 8:30PM / October 23, 2018 to December 11, 2018

  • Class meets at The Drawing Board at 75 & Campbell: 1900 Jay Ell Dr / Richardson, TX / 75081

Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this class.