6-Week How to Read Like a Writer, starts Sept 2, 2020
Class Starts September 2, 2020
*If social distancing measures are still in place due to COVID-19, classes will meet via Zoom.
Students in writing classes always ask:
Where do you get ideas for stories?
How can we keep up the momentum to learn after the class is over?
The answer to both questions is reading—and reading not just to be absorbed by a story, but to ignite the imagination, to engage critically and actively with the fiction’s elements and with every detail. Saul Bellow, the Canadian-American Nobel laureate, said “a writer is a reader moved to emulation.” Indeed, writers learn their craft by studying the work of their predecessors. So, taking Bellow’s statement one step further, let’s assert that you can only write to the level that you’ve read. Art of any kind does not emerge from a vacuum.
This six-week class has two aims: to introduce—or reconnect—students to both a range of bedrock literature of our tradition and to great contemporary voices; and secondly, to develop lifelong skills in close and insightful reading. Yes, we’ll study the form, voice, and tone of the literature. But our mission here is to understand how the various elements cohere to create meaning and a moral vision as well as a memorable journey of imagination. Ultimately, we’ll be reading the masters to expand our sense of what is possible in our own work.
Students will read two or three short stories a week, selected from the works of Flannery O’Connor, Sherwood Anderson, James Joyce, John Cheever, Raymond Carver, Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, Barry Hannah—for starters. Participation in our discussions is essential to the success of the class.
NOTE: Students are required to purchase Oedipus Rex, Sophocles, translated by Stephen Berg and Diskin Clay. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 0195054938. Weekly assignments will be distributed by email scan
Class size limited to 12 writers
Meets Tuesdays 7:00PM to 9:00PM / September 2, 2020 to October 7, 2020
Class will meet in instructor’s home in North Dallas (address distributed to admitted students).
If you have questions, please contact us HERE.
Instructor Eden Elieff, a native Chicagoan who’s wrapping up her fourteenth year in Texas (Dallas and Houston), has published fiction and nonfiction in various journals and The Mississippi Review, the Crab Orchard Review, Mid-American Review, Quarter After Eight, Chautauqua LiteraryJournal,where her essay was a contest finalist, Sycamore Review,which nominated her essay for a Pushcart Prize. Her work was a finalist at a New Millenniums Writing contest in 2017. She’s also published essays in the Dallas Morning News and the online magazine Role Reboot, and has upcoming work in Minerva Rising. Eden Elieff holds an MFA from the Writing Seminars of Bennington College, a Diploma from Trinity College, Dublin, where she received the distinction of First Class Honors, a Bachelor of Music from DePaul University, and an AB from the University of Chicago, where she graduated with Honors in English. In addition to Writing Workshops Dallas, Eden these days teaches at the Creative Arts Center in Dallas. Her teaching experience is extensive: She’s also conducted her own private workshop, taught at several college prep schools throughout the country, at Rice University, and middle schools in Texas.
“This fiction workshop exceeded my expectations! It was an amazing learning experience. Eden exposed me to new writers that I had never read before which really opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about my own writing. I feel like Eden raised the bar on what I should expect from myself and my writing. She used really great examples of specific writing to drive home how elevating your entire writing process can truly make you a better writer. I feel like I am walking away from this class with new skills to practice and a new way of looking at how I read.”
“There are lots of good writing teachers; Eden Elieff is one of the great ones. She’s not just a published writer & extremely knowledgeable about the entire field. She’s also a great instructor. She focuses on supporting you & your writing goals and makes you do the work. From provoking you to counseling you to giving you actionable ideas, Eden will help you get to where you should go. Whatever writing subject she teaches - take her course!”
“I took the introduction to Fiction class with Eden Elieff and she really opened my eyes to really great literature that I didn’t know was out there. The class became a tight knit group and we were sad to see it end. I learned so much from not only the readings, but from others in class as well. I feel like there’s so much more to learn. Thank you Writing workshops and Eden!!”
“I would highly recommend taking Eden Elieff’s 8-Week Fiction workshop. She promotes and encourages thinking, reading and writing to higher levels.”
“I attended a workshop last weekend with Eden Elieff. There were 5 of us so we enjoyed a lot of reading and discussion, and were able to move at whatever pace we felt comfortable with, though Eden kept saying, "I have so much more I want to cover!" So much great writing, so little time! As a group we chose not to spend too much time writing but to focus on reading and sharing great writing. For me this was perfect; one of my goals this yeas is to read more excellent writing, as it is one of the best ways to improve your own writing. I really enjoyed Eden and the group. I'm sure I could have stayed at least a few more hours.”
"Yesterday filled me with joy. What was I doing? I was in Eden Elieff's Fiction or Memoir Class. Her energy and enthusiasm were contagious. Her materials (excerpts from esteemed texts, both memoir and fiction) were eye-opening. Her writing exercises were invigorating. The entire three hours transported me back to my beloved MFA days and reminded me of why I am a writer. (Bonus: She has her MFA from Bennington!) Through the examination of the passages, I was able to further paw my way out of my pile of confusion over what I am writing and I feel I am closer now to what I must pursue: an autobiographical novel, which I had no idea existed. Or rather, was classified as such. I highly HIGHLY recommend her as a teacher. I look forward to more classes with Eden!"
“Eden's teaching has quickly turned my decades of writing insecurity into a deep well of creative confidence. Her engaging class guides both the novice and experienced writer through highly acclaimed written works meant to enhance and broaden their own writing throughout her courses. Reading, writing and critiquing is enlightening and creatively freeing. Thanks, Eden. Your Writing Workshops Dallas classes have had a great influence on my writing!”
“Eden loves teaching, loves preparing for class (she makes LOTS of handouts), loves discussing what makes good writing, and is simply 'doing what she loves best' with her students. The textbooks for both of the Memoir/Fiction classes that I took were excellent, giving examples of both memoir and short stories, as well as defining the unique characteristic of each genre and where they overlap. Eden's handouts were writings by authors she admires and often personally knows, allowing her to explain why or how these authors chose to write in one genre or another, and how/why they may have decided what to include and what to leave out. Occasionally some students didn't like the stories or the characters within, and Eden always replied, "If you want to learn to write, your job is to become a better reader: expose yourself to writings you'd not normally choose, and examine the styles and details that make the characters likeable or not, so that you'll learn how to do it yourself!" Five of us students took Eden's first Fiction/Memoir class this summer, desperate to tell our stories, whether to analyze them, to preserve our memories, or to re-create the lives we've lived. We made progress, but when the 8-week class was over, we decided it wasn't time to quit yet. So all of us signed up again, wanting to continue with the camaraderie and trust Eden's classes provided. The second 8-weeks were worth it! We became ever more confident, our writing was growing alive with detail, and we understood at last what those readings were all about! Eden always made sure that the discussion of each student's manuscript was aimed at clarifying what we thought worked well, what we felt the 'aim' of the writing was, whether this aim was achieved, and then how to better achieve it. And, by the end of the 2nd eight weeks, it was great fun to see the employment of all the tools Eden had taught us and the amazing improvement in each other's writings and in our own.”