Our short weekly exercises are designed to stimulate students’ imaginations while also teaching a lot of nuts-and-bolts narrative strategies. Students learn that a narrative voice is born out of conscious creation and is not merely the voice we use when speaking or keeping a journal. We encourage students to turn autobiographical fragments into publishable work by using different narrative personas to tell their story in fiction and poetry.
The class is organized around a weekly assignment based on a piece of published writing. The teacher helps students understand the technique that makes the piece effective. The following week students bring their written exercise to class, where it is read aloud. Classmates offer feedback, and then the teacher, who has been trained for three years in The Writers Studio method, gives the final supportive critique. In the last few weeks of the class, students work toward turning one of these exercises into a story or poem. We also teach students to give constructive, supportive feedback. We work to assure that critiques build on each other, so that students never leave the class with a head full of conflicting reactions and suggestions.
In all on-site Writers Studio Workshops, we ask students to remain silent when their classmates and the teacher offer feedback. Though this may seem harsh at first, the policy is enormously helpful, as it lets students take in the information calmly and without the reflexive tendency to grow defensive. The workshops are designed to help students learn from their own work, as well as from the work of others. As the student’s understanding of technique deepens so does the emotional power of the writing.
Students taking NYC classes will submit their exercises electronically. During the video chat, students and teachers will respond to student work and discuss the next week’s exercise. Teachers will send students a link to the video chat and will provide support as needed. We hope you will continue to write and stay connected to our community during this time. When in person, classes meet in Greenwich Village at The Village Community School, 272 West 10th Street. Bring a photo i.d. to sign in at the front desk.
For more information, please call us at (212) 255-7075 or visit us on Facebook.