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Featured Online Writing Workshop

Melanie Faith

Developing Your Authentic Voice: A Writing Workshop by Melanie Faith

START DATE: Friday, March 13, 2020

END DATE: Friday, April 10, 2020

DURATION: 4 weeks

LOCATION:  Private Facebook group and email

FEEDBACK:  Instructor feedback and critique on all assignments

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Voice is a key component to successful writing and is so much richer than just choosing words and putting them into an ordered pattern on the page. Jamie Lee Wallace has said, “The true voice of a writer is the nameless fire that burns inside, turning up the heat, licking at the mind and heart until it becomes unbearable to wait even a single moment longer before putting pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard.”

This four-week workshop will explore numerous techniques and approaches to freeing and then sharpening the unique quality of voice that each writer brings afresh to the page. Students will need a copy of Writing Begins with the Breath: Embodying Your Authentic Voice by Laraine Herring (Shambhala 2007). Whether you pen prose, poetry, or both, we will delve into inspiring yet practical viewpoints on approaching our writing with openness, wonder, and excitement. Each week, students will choose a “Touchstone” exercise from a chapter of their choosing from the reading to complete as a writing assignment for constructive, helpful feedback from the instructor.

Topics covered will include: Risk, Curiosity, Acceptance, Inner and Outer Worlds, Shadow Boxing, Point of View ‘I am Not I,’ Characterization: Deep Questioning, Focused Awareness and Imagery, Integration, Stillness, and more. There will be a private group for students to discuss our creative process and literary resources, such as markets and quotations about nurturing your genuine voice.

Melanie has always shown great insight into my work. Often times, she is able to pull out deeper meanings, that even I wasn't consciously aware of while writing. Her constructive criticism has moved my writing into new directions. I find that I feel more confident and prepared as a writer by having her constant editing eye. I respect that she critiques my poetry honestly, letting me know areas that are weak as well as strong points. I wouldn't be able to grow as a writer if she always told me my poems were great. It's from her perspective of my work that I grow. I enjoy learning through her and appreciate her sharing tricks of the trade that she learned in her masters program. I'm thankful to know Melanie and hope we remain friends and a poetry support system for the rest of our lives. She's the type of person and writer that anyone would feel lucky to know. She is a great mentor and holds a wealth of knowledge in the written language. Her achievements and constant pursuit as a writer inspire so many. Her determination and skill will go very far and I suspect she'll leave a lasting imprint in the written world. She already has. ~ Courtney Burger

I have taken three courses from Melanie and in each course I grow tremendously as a writer. The texts she uses as well as the handouts and daily writing prompts all contribute to what she refers to as “the writing life” and in her courses that’s exactly what it becomes. Her comments on the pieces go way beyond grammar and punctuation. She delves into the content and clarifies what is good and what can be adjusted to make the piece stronger. I can tell she spends time reading what I write and is prompt in returning the assignments so I always have plenty of time for revision. She treats me, and everyone in the class, like a writer. Her classes are a joy. If there is a course offered by Melanie and I can fit it in, I always take it. ~ Holly Helscher

I highly recommend the writing courses offered by Melanie Faith. She is one of the most engaging instructors I’ve ever worked with—her passion for her craft, and for nurturing other writers, is evident from the very first contact, and she maintains that level of energy and engagement throughout the course. Her feedback is superb; her praise is specific and helps validate the choices I make with my writing, and her suggestions for improvement are gentle and equally specific. Either way, her suggestions and comments always make my work stronger, and increase my confidence that perhaps I do have something to say after all. If you have a chance to take one of Melanie's courses, by all means do it! I'll be back for another one as soon as I can. ~ Karen V, North Carolina

I decided to try Melanie Faith’s WOW! poetry class because writing and creating in different genres helps my writing. I am so glad I did! Melanie is upbeat, inspiring, supportive, professional and an incredible instructor and writer. Now I see poetry as always being a part of my life. I don’t know how she does it with all the demands on her professional and writing life, but Melanie makes you feel like you are her only student. Her comments are always on point and she strikes the right balance of teacher and colleague. Months after the class has ended she continues to answer questions and cheer on us budding poets. She has an amazing and giving spirit. I will take another writing class from Melanie, no matter what the subject. She has so much to offer on so many different levels! ~ Kate Bradley-Ferrall

I have to rein myself in every time I see in the WOW classes list that Melanie is teaching another essay class. And why is this? In all of my education (B.A. in English and M.A. in English), I never took a writing class. When I was in college, writing was taught only in Freshman English; after that class, we were just expected to know how to write. I learned to teach writing myself by reading books about writing. How refreshing and educational to find a teacher/mentor who exhibits the characteristics that I know an excellent writing teacher has: the creativity to come up with topics that students want to write about, the ability to critique without finding fault, the desire to encourage students to keep on writing even when the juices aren’t flowing. Believe me . . . she’s an excellent teacher. In addition, she became my friend through being my teacher. To be a friend AND a teacher takes real talent. ~ Sandy Young

WEEKS AT A GLANCE:

Duration: (4 weeks) Friday, March 13, 2020 - Friday, April 10, 2020

Friday, March 20, 27, and April 3 and 10, 2020, students submit weekly Touchstone exercise assignment of their own choosing from one of the assigned chapters and in any genre the student prefers to the instructor for constructive feedback.

Week One: Focusing the Mind, Curiosity, Authenticity, Empathy, Relationship

Reading from Writing Begins with the Breath:

  • Introduction and all of part one, from “Risk” through "Relationship," p. 1-60.

Assignment: Try a “Touchstone” exercise found at the end of a chapter of your choice from this week’s reading. Submit your results (with a chapter and exercise number) for constructive support and feedback. Bonus: You may feel free to add a note in your email submission with what you enjoyed or disliked about the exercise as well as what you learned from it.

Week Two: The Deep Writing Process, Self-Awareness, Process vs. Product, Inner and Outer Worlds

Reading from Writing Begins with the Breath:

  • Chapters 8-13 in Part Two, from “Self-Awareness” through “Inner and Outer Worlds,” pages 61-103.

Assignment: Try a “Touchstone” exercise found at the end of a chapter of your choice from this week’s reading. Submit your results (with a chapter and exercise number) for constructive support and feedback. Bonus: You may feel free to add a note in your email submission with what you enjoyed or disliked about the exercise as well as what you learned from it.

Week Three: Observation, Characterization: Deep Questioning, Focused Awareness and Imagery, Shadow Boxing, Point of View: I am Not ‘I,’ Suffering, Perseverance

Reading from Writing Begins with the Breath:

  • Chapters 14-21 in Part Two, from “Shadow Boxing” through Perseverance,” pages 104-159.

Assignment: Try a “Touchstone” exercise found at the end of a chapter of your choice from this week’s reading. Submit your results (with a chapter and exercise number) for constructive support and feedback. Bonus: You may feel free to add a note in your email submission with what you enjoyed or disliked about the exercise as well as what you learned from it.

Week Four: Surrender, Evolution, Integration, Solitude, Stillness

Reading from Writing Begins with the Breath:

  • Part Three, chapters 22-27, “Impermanence” through “Stillness,” p. 161-204 and Epilogue, p. 205-206.

Assignment: Try a “Touchstone” exercise found at the end of a chapter of your choice from this week’s reading. Submit your results (with a chapter and exercise number) for constructive support and feedback. Bonus: You may feel free to add a note in your email submission with what you enjoyed or disliked about the exercise as well as what you learned from it.

Materials needed: Students will need a copy of: Writing Begins with the Breath: Embodying Your Authentic Voice by Laraine Herring (Shambhala 2007). Readily available at Amazon in new or used versions and other bookstores.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Melanie Faith holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, NC. Her writing has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. Her full-length, historical poetry collection set in the 1918 flu epidemic, This Passing Fever, was published by Future Cycle Press in October 2017. Vine Leaves Press published her craft books about writing and editing flash fiction and nonfiction and her craft book about writing poetry (both 2018). In December 2019, her craft book, Photography for Writers, was also published by Vine Leaves Press. Most recently, her shorter pieces appeared in After the Pause, Contemporary Haibun Online, The Sandy River Review, The Writer’s Monthly Review Magazine, and Embodied Effigies. Her flash fiction, “The Slades,” placed honorable mention in the 2014 Bevel Summers Prize for the Short Short Story and was published in Shenandoah (Washington and Lee University). In addition to numerous photography publications, her art made the cover of both OVS Magazine and Chantwood Review in 2017. Her instructional articles about creative writing techniques have appeared in The Writer and Writers’ Journal, among others. To learn more about Melanie’s writing, teaching, and photography, please visit: www.melaniedfaith.com/blog/.

COST:  $155, which includes e-mail critique and positive feedback on student writing, and access to a private group for student interactions.

BUY NOW:  Developing Your Authentic Voice: A Writing Workshop by Melanie Faith (4 weeks, starting 3/13/2020) Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. She will contact you via email so you can get started.

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Additional Testimonials for Melanie Faith:

I took the nature writing class a few weeks ago and it was one of the best courses I've even taken. Melanie Faith is an excellent instructor. ~ Jean Forsythe

Your course has jump-started me back into writing. I have missed it. Thank you. ~ Melissa Healy

Melanie knows how to offer on-the-mark suggestions for writing improvement while also being extremely encouraging (and a joy to work with). I've taken many classes with her, including the flash class, and I plan on taking many more. ~ Marilyn Fahey

Melanie has been a total joy as a teacher and guide. I found her feedback, critiques, and comments to be extraordinarily helpful and insightful. And the daily prompts and positive reinforcement made this writing class a wonderful experience! ~ Mary Purdy

Melanie’s class taught me economy of words by using strong verbs and nouns, implying and showing rather than telling, and exploring topics outside of my comfort zone. Her feedback is prompt, detailed and constructive. ~ Rajni Gupta

The course was great. I did not want it to end. I have taken several college level creative writing courses, as well as, attended many writer’s workshops, but I have enjoyed this course the most. I really appreciated that Melanie would also critique our re-writes which was very, very helpful. This course has really helped to motivate me creatively. ~ Barb Cramer

Melanie has always shown great insight into my work. Often times, she is able to pull out deeper meanings, that even I wasn't consciously aware of while writing. Her constructive criticism has moved my writing into new directions. I find that I feel more confident and prepared as a writer by having her constant editing eye. I respect that she critiques my poetry honestly, letting me know areas that are weak as well as strong points. I wouldn't be able to grow as a writer if she always told me my poems were great. It's from her perspective of my work that I grow. I enjoy learning through her and appreciate her sharing tricks of the trade that she learned in her masters program.

I'm thankful to know Melanie and hope we remain friends and a poetry support system for the rest of our lives. She's the type of person and writer that anyone would feel lucky to know. She is a great mentor and holds a wealth of knowledge in the written language. Her achievements and constant pursuit as a writer inspire so many. Her determination and skill will go very far and I suspect she’ll leave a lasting imprint in the written world. She already has. ~ Courtney Burger

The course was great. I did not want it to end. I have taken several college level creative writing courses, as well as, attended many writer’s workshops, but I have enjoyed this course the most. I really appreciated that Melanie would also critique our re-writes which was very, very helpful. This course has really helped to motivate me creatively. ~ Barb Cramer

Melanie demonstrates particular qualities in a writing teacher/coach that I would recommend for anyone looking for focused attention to help move their writing forward.

I had not taken an on-line course previously, and didn't know what to expect, but Melanie melted the distance, was always accessible, and never missed a beat with out on-line communication. I always felt like I had Melanie right here around my writing table, or knocking on my door saying—“I had a few thoughts..." She provided a wealth of resources and provided us with course materials that were tuned to our course level.

Her insight into my work, in terms of critique, were extremely thoughtful, thorough, and eye-opening. I feel that working with Melanie has allowed me to be braver with my writing and editing—as she was supportive of experimentation and taking chances with style, vocabulary, and theme. She provides serious critique in an atmosphere that, well, just makes me want to keep on writing!” ~ Mary Ellen Sanger

I have taken three courses from Melanie and in each course I grow tremendously as a writer. The texts she uses as well as the handouts and daily writing prompts all contribute to what she refers to as “the writing life” and in her courses that’s exactly what it becomes. Her comments on the pieces go way beyond grammar and punctuation. She delves into the content and clarifies what is good and what can be adjusted to make the piece stronger. I can tell she spends time reading what I write and is prompt in returning the assignments so I always have plenty of time for revision. She treats me, and everyone in the class, like a writer. Her classes are a joy. If there is a course offered by Melanie and I can fit it in, I always take it. ~ Holly Helscher

I have the normal anxiousness of sharing my work while so excited to have Melanie Faith’s critical eye read my writing. It is always reviewed with an eye to improvement and an eye to the thoughts the words contain. This is the first computer class I have ever taken and want to take many more. I also look forward to many more classes with Melanie Faith. ~ Benita Cervantes

Because I love memoir writing, I have taken two memoir/personal essay classes from Melanie. I can’t believe this, but because I enjoy the teacher herself and her method of teaching so much, I’ve even taken a poetry-writing class. I’ve always steered away from writing poetry of any kind ever since I wrote a poem in college (an assignment, not a by-choice piece) and the class laughed because I wrote about a controversial topic and was so naïve that I didn’t even know it was controversial. Every time I’d mention to Melanie that I’d never write a poem, she’d encourage me to take her class, assuring me that I’d be successful. I took the class, and sure enough, I was successful, thanks to Melanie’s velvet critiquing, encouraging comments, and thoughtful suggestions, many times seeing in my writing what I couldn’t see for myself.

I have to rein myself in every time I see in the WOW classes list that Melanie is teaching another essay class. And why is this? In all of my education (B.A. in English and M.A. in English), I never took a writing class. When I was in college, writing was taught only in Freshman English; after that class, we were just expected to know how to write. I learned to teach writing myself by reading books about writing. How refreshing and educational to find a teacher/mentor who exhibits the characteristics that I know an excellent writing teacher has: the creativity to come up with topics that students want to write about, the ability to critique without finding fault, the desire to encourage students to keep on writing even when the juices aren’t flowing. Believe me . . . she’s an excellent teacher. In addition, she became my friend through being my teacher. To be a friend AND a teacher takes real talent. ~ Sandy Young

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


 

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