Curriculum & Schedule
Phase I: Craft and Tradition, September 8th – September 29th, 2020
The 2020-2021 program will meet on Tuesday nights, from 6:00pm-9:
In this craft and tradition orientation phase, discussions and readings of exemplary published work across the diverse history of the form will help writers understand the essay tradition and their place in it. Also, students will review advanced lessons in essay-craft (structure, form, narrative modes, narrative arc, use of time, description, voice, etc.), to develop a common language with which to talk about craft and how to offer effective feedback to their peers, in preparation for the first workshop phase (Phase 2). Writers will complete goal-setting exercises, share short exercises, and will learn about each other’s work. Students will also be introduced to revision strategies and practice giving constructive, craft-based feedback. By the end of this phase, students will select and fine-tune 3 to 5 essays for Phase 2.
Phase II: First Workshop, October 6th - December 15th, 2020
Note: Class does not meet November 3rd.
During this phase, each student will workshop a total of 3 to 5 essays (student’s choice). Each week, these essays will be presented to the workshop (schedule to be determined). Each writer will be given a thorough critique on each essay, with notes on strengths and weaknesses, and suggestions from the instructor for overall growth areas for their writing. Ongoing discussions of exemplary published work will focus on advanced craft lessons as they arise.
By end of this phase, in conjunction with a private consultation with the instructor, each writer will identify the essay “tradition” or “traditions” in which they place their own work, and develop a list of essays and essayists in these traditions to seek as models and inspiration to better hone their craft. Based on feedback received in the workshop, they will also identify at least 2 craft goals to work on for subsequent phases, and a set of readings or other activities to help reach those goals.
Phase III: Revision Strategies, January 19th - February 9th, 2021
In four weekly class wide sessions, writers will be introduced to a comprehensive framework for revision. During this phase, writers will select 3 to 5 essays to move toward publishable quality and begin revising. Students may also choose to share additional new essays or drafts with each other and the instructor for additional feedback, where needed. Students are also encouraged to use this phase to identify the marketplace options for their work, develop a short list of likely publications, consider revising with specific publication in mind, and begin to send out their essays.
Phase IV: Revision Workshop, Publishing, and Career-building, February 16th - April 27th, 2020
[Note: Includes a one-week break to be determined by the instructor and class]
During this phase, students will present a portfolio of 3 to 5 revised essays to the workshop, with a goal of having at least 3 essays in finished and ready-to-submit form by the end of this phase. Students will also share with the class an informal lecture related to a craft issue they addressed in their own work. Students will be coached on the process for identifying publications pertinent to their work, and receive practical advice on submitting to these publications and building their careers as essay writers. Students will also be encouraged to begin to submit their work. Students will continue to identify publications pertinent to their work, receive practical advice on submitting to these publications, be encouraged to begin to submit their work and build their careers as essay writers. In advance of the Muse and the Marketplace, students will receive help preparing for the conference and their Manuscript Mart meeting.
At the end of this final phase, in a private one-hour consultation with the instructor, students will discuss their progress in the program, their publication and career plans, and steps for moving forward in their work and career.