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  • Workshop
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Writing and Publishing the Risky Personal Essay

No Longer Enrolling

  • $480.00 Non-Member
  • $455.00 Member

Class Description

Heartbreak, death, trauma, abuse, loss, relationships: This is subject matter that's tough to write about well in a personal essay. The effort, however, often yields amazing results. But how to write these essays about dark and deeply personal matter in a way that's not too sentimental, preachy, self-indulgent, insular, or raw as to be of little interest to a reader? In this workshop, you'll study exemplary work by essayists working today in a variety of magazines and journals—from Salon.com to the New York Times and literary quarterlies—to see how these authors do it. At least one essay (and possibly two essays) by each student will be workshopped in class. Via short, weekly required in-class and out-of-class writing exercises, you'll apply some key craft lessons about structure, beginnings and endings, characterization, scenes, and time travel and try formal experiment to practice this in your own work. We'll also discuss the idea of psychic distance, tone, and voice. Finally, we'll look at where students might publish their essays once revised and ready for the marketplace. Note: This class is for daring writers.

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!