For Teens
In-Person: Seaport

Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP): Writing Like a Hermit Crab: New Beginnings for Stories & Essays

Saturday, May 13th from 12:00pm - 3:00pm
In-Person: Seaport
See Map
Level: Teens
Teen (13-18)
25 seats max

***We are planning for this class to be held in-person at our beautiful new Seaport location! This is subject to change depending on COVID case numbers. We will stay in communication with registered students as more information becomes available.***


Class Description:

Just like a hermit crab finds a shell to make its home, in this class, we'll practice finding shapes and letting short stories and essays live inside of them. When you find yourself staring at a blank page, a borrowed form can be a great way to get started—whether trying to write a story in the form of a Kickstarter campaign (like Carmen Maria Machado's "Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead") or an essay in the form of a customer service letter (like Lydia Davis' "Letter to a Frozen Pea Manufacturer").

Together, we'll look at examples of this kind of "hermit crab" writing, then do some creating of our own, crafting stories and essays in the form of postcards and text messages, recipes, Google Maps directions, a multiple choice quiz, or a Spotify playlist. We'll think about how these forms impact a reader's understanding of character, plot, and meaning, and we'll finish class by trading prompts for new pieces. For writers age 13-18 ONLY.


Students will leave class with the beginnings of several new stories or essays, recommendations for further reading, and bonus prompts for future "hermit crab" writing.

Class Format:

This class will take place in-person at our Center for Creative Writing in Boston's Seaport neighborhood. Students who need an MBTA pass to commute to class can request one using this form. Snacks, pens, notebooks, chromebooks, and post-class pizza will be provided! 

Space Accessibility:

Our space is fully ADA accessible with automatic door openers, ADA compliant restrooms, desk and table spacing, braille signage, and elevator. Our classrooms can be equipped with ALS for hard of hearing individuals. We cannot guarantee a scent-free environment. For more accessibility requests, please contact our Operations team at [email protected] or (617) 695-0075.

Covid-19 Updates:

GrubStreet is a mask-friendly space. When our community Covid risk level is low or medium, masks are optional. We are currently at a medium community risk level, so this offering is: mask optional. If our community Covid-19 risk level becomes high, we will follow the CDC recommendations and require masks within our space. Learn more about our Covid-19 Policy here.

Registration Instructions:

  • If the student is under 18, parents/guardians must complete this permission form online. You only need to fill this form out ONE TIME, NOT for every class. If you cannot remember whether you have already filled it out, please email [email protected] and we will check for you! If you do not complete this form, your registrations could be voided and the cancellation policy will apply.
  • If the student is 18, simply let us know by emailing [email protected].
  • If you are registering on behalf of a student, add their email in the “For a Friend or Child?” field on the right-hand side of the screen at check out. This will send them a direct link and reminder to create their own profile with GrubStreet.
  • Please register with your preferred name :)


***If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at [email protected]. We’re looking forward to writing with you this winter!***

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Maggie Cooper
See Bio


  • Short Fiction
  • Personal Essay
  • Nonfiction

Commitment Level