Class Starts Monday, October 10th, 2022
Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
Led by Lizzie Lawson, a Minnesota-born, Midwest-based writer and educator. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, Redivider, The Sun, Wigleaf, Atticus Review, Identity Theory, and others. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The Ohio State University.
Personal essays can take on all kinds of shapes and structures. From experimental forms such as lyric, braided, and hermit crab essays to the traditional narrative structure, how do you decide on a form that is right for the content of your essay? In this class, we will read essays by T Kira Madden, Sarah Gerard, Lidia Yuknavitch, Samantha Irby, Jaquira Diaz, Kristen Arnett, and more.
Each week, we will explore different essay forms, discuss how different forms impact the reader’s experience of the essay, and experiment with effectively executing each form. The class will provide weekly readings, writing prompts, and feedback on one longer essay written in your choice of form.
In this class you will:
- Experiment with prompts and strategies for approaching different essay forms
- Read form-bending essay examples
- Generate one full-length essay
- Receive written instructor and classmate feedback
- Gain ideas for revision and places to publish
Week One: Breaking from traditional narrative structure. This week we will read specific examples of essays written in traditional and nontraditional forms. We will discuss how to keep an essay moving forward without linear plot and the benefits and constraints of traditional versus nontraditional forms.
Week Two: Introduction to lyric essays and hermit crab essays. For this class, we will familiarize ourselves with essays that make use of gaps and poetry techniques and essays that borrow the form of non-literary texts.
Week Three: Introduction to braided and fragmented essays. We will discuss essays that weave together multiple threads, essays composed of titled lists, and essays that piece together moments and ideas between white space. Each student will also share and discuss ideas for the essay they plan to share for feedback.
Week Four: Identifying the form that is right for the story you want to tell. We will discuss what kinds of stories work best in each form, what mood each form creates, and what effect they can have on the reader. Each student will share a rough plan for their essay.
Week Five: Executing your choice of form. We will discuss the constraints of our chosen forms, where to remain within these constraints, and where to intentionally reject them. We will read and give constructive feedback on the first group of student essays.
Week Six: Revision strategies and places to submit for publication. We will read and give constructive feedback on the second group of student essays and discuss strategies for revision and publication.
"Lizzie exposed us to so many unique voices/perspectives and always generated a comfortable environment to share our work in. The essay selection was phenomenal."
"My favorite quote from Lizzie was 'you don't have to tell a story only once.' I can't explain it well, but it opened a door somewhere in my writer's mind. I don't have to be scared I'll mess up a piece and that memory will be wasted. I can simply start again."
"The feedback that Lizzie provided was really detailed, constructive, and thorough. You can tell she really cared about making us better writers."
"I was offered feedback on a very personal essay I wrote for this class---Lizzie was gentle, practical, and helpful in her approach to helping me write and edit this piece. Her advice on other students' writing also provided a great perspective for a broad range of pieces."
ONLINE COURSE STRUCTURE:
This class is entirely asynchronous which means you complete the weekly assignments on your own schedule. There are no set meeting times in order to allow for greater participation; your cohort will consist of writers from across different time zones, which allows for a wonderful diversity of voices.
Along with your weekly deadlines there is plenty of interaction with Lizzie and your peers within Wet Ink, our dedicated online classroom. Craft materials, lectures, reading assignments, and writing prompts are all available through the online classroom. Students also post work and provide and receive feedback within the online classroom environment.
You can get the work done as you see fit week-to-week, so it is perfect for any schedule. There are discussion questions each week inspired by the assigned readings and topics in the lecture notes. Students are encouraged to take these wherever is most compelling and/or useful for them. Lizzie engages with these discussions throughout the week and you will receive feedback from all assigned writing activities.
HOW DOES WET INK WORK?
Wet Ink was built and designed specifically for online writing classes. Wet Ink is private, easy to use, and very interactive. You can learn more about the Wet Ink platform by Watching a Class Demo.
- Instructor: Lizzie Lawson
- Starts October 10th, 2022
- Course is fully ONLINE and will meet via Wet Ink