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Featured Online Writing Class

Chelsey Clammer

THE WOMEN WRITERS’ BOOK GROUP: Building Meaning in a Memoir by Chelsey Clammer

DATES: Monday, March 13, 2017 - Sunday, April 9, 2017

DURATION:  4 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this group is to act as a writer’s book group. What that means is that we will read a book together and learn different writing craft techniques from it. This month we will be reading Lying by Lauren Slater. Reading the memoir as a guide, we will explore the different stages of building an engaging narrative that fully engages the reader. Along with this, we’ll look at what “truth” is in regards to how the narrator grows throughout the memoir. Concentrating on specific craft elements such as voice, tone, structure, organization, description, and word choice, this course will show the possibilities of how we can get our readers hooked on our true stories by toying around with what “truth” in memoir writing means.

Throughout the course, book group members will take turns giving and receiving feedback on participants’ writing, and each participant will receive line edits on her own writing from the instructor every week. Members will also engage in discussions online through the course’s website. The group will be coordinated through email and a private forum. We’ll be reading about 50 pages of the book per week.

testimonials

Having Chelsey for a writing teacher happily exceeded my expectations. She a gifted and accomplished writer, fully dedicated to the writing life and to sharing her talent and knowledge with others, and it felt to me she was a much a member of our class as she was the instructor, which allowed me to trust her and take risks with my writing. ~ Patricia Heim

Chelsey’s class has been absolutely amazing. I have produced three refined and excellent pieces--one has already been pubbed by The Nervous Breakdown, and I just got an acceptance from Hippocampus for the second (pub in January)! The third is still out there, submitted to three places. Chelsey provided me excellent edits and emailed back quickly when I had questions. The class was fun, I learned a lot and was inspired to continue writing after it ends using the prompts she gave. She was even generous enough to answer questions I had about MFA programs. I am thankful that I ended up in her class. ~ Sarah W. (Previous WOW class participant)

This past August I signed up for Chelsey Clammer’s four-week WOW! course, The Women Writers’ Book Group: Furiously Happy. Not only have I never participated in an online book club or writing class, but I have never tried my hand at flash/short fiction or humorous fiction. But I can read, and thought it would be fun to dissect the book with an instructor and other writers. And laugh a little along the way. I was blown away. Not only was the online class a lot of fun and very informative, but Chelsey’s exceptional insights into the book combined with her weekly exercises and feedback gave me some confidence and inspiration to try my hand at writing humor. She kept the pace and energy level of the class high, not easy to do online. Chelsey also expertly guided me with her edits and encouragement. She suggested I submit a couple of my pieces that came out of her exercises. I was so new to all this, I didn’t even know where to begin to submit. Chelsey walked me through that process, too! I thought you’d like to know that one was published online. I couldn’t have been published without Chelsey and the WOW! classroom. Thank you so much for offering the opportunity to grow as a writer! ~ Kate Bradley-Ferrall (Previous WOW class participant)

Chelsey is a careful and thoughtful editor who let’s other writers’ voices stand out while at the same time helping them clarify and distill their words. ~ David Olimpio

Chelsey Clammer is professional and prompt, with a keen eye for detail. I trust her editorial advice absolutely. ~ Jen Palmares Meadow

Working with Chelsey I feel I’m in a rich partnership that as much about preparing essay drafts for publication as it is about growth, discovery, and the joy that comes from telling the stories that matter to me. ~ Kineret Yardena

WEEKS AT A GLANCE:

Week 1: Introducing Yourself and Your Story

You know that the very first line of any piece of writing needs to grab the reader’s attention. Slater takes this standard to heart in Lying, and as we will see this week, the hook of her first sentence is just a glimpse into how an author can catch—and more important hold onto—the reader’s attention. Through this, we’ll discover interesting ways to introduce the reader to your story. By looking at how the narrator’s voice is established, how themes can be set up, and how word choice and tone can impact meaning, we’ll explore key ways to introduce the reader to who you are and what your story is about.

Assignment: Read the assigned pages, and complete at least one of the writing exercises on your own. Post your response to one of the discussion questions online. Email the instructor your writing-in-progress for the week (700-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays as assigned.

Week 2: How to Engage Your Reader

Now that we’ve seen how an author can grab your interest in who she is and what her story is about, this week we’ll look at how a writer can build from that first impression in order to engage the reader even more. Presenting the reader with well-timed and key facts, new characters, and unexpected situations, the reader’s perspective on the writing can begin to expand and gain depth with complexity. We’ll specifically look at how structure and organization can enhance the reader’s engagement with the text.

Assignment: Read the assigned pages, and complete at least one of the writing exercises on your own. Post your response to one of the discussion questions online. Email the instructor your writing-in-progress for the week (700-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays as assigned.

Week 3: Telling Your “True” Self

Shocking the life out of the reader can undoubtedly bring some intrigue to a piece of writing. But what if you don’t have a plot twist in your story? How can you surprise the reader when there really isn’t some huge situational surprise? It’s all in how you tell your story. For this third week, we’ll be looking at how the ways a narrator’s emotional growth are revealed throughout a memoir can lead to a huge shift in understanding and meaning. By focusing on character interaction through the craft of dialogue and description, we’ll discover the different ways we can create tension and further intrigue by exploring a narrator’s emotional shifts.

Assignment: Read the assigned pages, and complete at least one of the writing exercises on your own. Post your response to one of the discussion questions online. Email the instructor your writing-in-progress for the week (700-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays as assigned.

Week 4: Making Meaning

What makes a good memoir different from an extraordinary memoir is meaning. In other words, a successful piece of writing must do more than just tell a story—it needs to create a larger sense of meaning through that story. For this final week, we’ll look at the different aspects of a well-crafted ending, and how those elements can create more meaning in the story as a whole. Focusing on the art of weaving together self-reflection with in-scene action, we’ll see how being able to oscillate between the two types of storytelling can impact the meaning you are wanting to make.

Assignment: Read the assigned pages, and complete at least one of the writing exercises on your own. Post your response to one of the discussion questions online. Email the instructor your writing-in-progress for the week (700-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays as assigned.

Sample Lesson: Click to view a sample lesson from Chelsey Clammer’s course The Empathy Exams: Week I.

Materials needed: Please purchase your own copy of Lying in preparation for the first week of the course.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Chelsey Clammer is the 2016 winner of the Red Hen Press Nonfiction Manuscript Award for her creative thesis, Circadian (publication in Fall 2017). She is a Pushcart Prize-nominated essayist who has been published in The Rumpus, Essay Daily, The Water~Stone Review and Black Warrior Review, among many others. She is the Essays Editor for The Nervous Breakdown and Founding Editor of www.insideoutediting.com. Her first collection of essays, Body Home, was released in 2015. Her second collection, There Is Nothing Else to See Here, is forthcoming from The Lit Pub. Clammer is currently enrolled in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program. You can read more of her writing at: www.chelseyclammer.com.

COST:  $125, which includes weekly assignments and individual feedback from the instructor. You will also be invited to a private group for student interaction and discussion.

BUY NOW: THE WOMEN WRITERS’ BOOK GROUP: Building Meaning in a Memoir with Chelsey Clammer (4 weeks, starting 3/13/2017) Limit: 16 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check out Chelsey’s upcoming class, Women Writers Anonymous starting January 2.

For Class Session Starting 3/13/2017

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Notes:  Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. Just before class begins, she will e-mail you with instructions on how to get started.

Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
classroom[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com

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