Writers Workshop

CLA Writers Workshops are open to individuals of all backgrounds--including those who are exploring creative writing for the first time--as well as aspiring writers who want to prepare their work for publication. Workshops are modeled on graduate-level creative writing courses, and may include short in-class writing assignments to jumpstart the writing process, as well as work outside of class that will entail reading the work of select published writers, critiquing the work of other workshop participants, and writing a piece to be workshopped by the class. Each participant will receive written comments from the instructor. Workshops are led by accomplished local authors, including students and alumni of the San Jose State University Creative Writing Program. 

For more details, click here to read the workshop policies and procedures and the cancellation policy.

Using Invented and Foreign Languages as Tools for World Building: A Fiction Workshop

 

FRIDAYS

Starting November 6

10:00AM–12:00PM (noon)

Running 6 weeks

Cost: $250

Instructor: Rita Bullwinkel, author of Belly Up

Course Description

One of the big things that makes us, as readers of fiction, read on into a book is mystery and, very often, that mystery comes in the form of a word or idea we don't yet understand. As a writer, one way to rope your readers in is to deliberately use words that you know your audience might not understand, and then, through context, teach your readers the meaning of those words. This is a tool used frequently in fantasy as well as literary writing. In this workshop we will explore several examples of this invaluable literary tool and learn how we can best deploy this strategy in our own fiction.

About the Instructor

Rita Bullwinkel is the author of the story collection Belly Up, which won the 2018 Believer Book Award. Bullwinkel’s writing has been published in Tin House, The White Review, Conjunctions, BOMB, Vice, NOON, and Guernica. She is a recipient of grants and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Brown University, Vanderbilt University, Hawthornden Castle, and The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Both her fiction and translation have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. She is an Editor at Large for McSweeney’s and a Contributing Editor for NOON. She lives in San Francisco and teaches at the California College of the Arts.

Approaching “Truth”:
A Memoir Workshop

FRIDAYS

Starting November 6

1:30PM–3:30PM

Running 6 weeks

Cost: $250

Instructor: Dickson Lam, author of Paper Sons

Course Description

Memoirs are thought of as true stories, but this notion is misleading. Tell the same story at different points in your life, and you will emphasize different details, sometimes new details you had not previously recalled. Other times, you will forget some details. Or maybe someone offers details to your story that you had never known. Now their version has snuck into your version. If each version of a story is a kind of truth, as memoirists, how do we decide how to tell our stories? And which version of you is telling the story?

In this six-week class, we’ll generate new material, provide feedback to each other through mini-workshops, and discuss how to analyze readings from a craft perspective. We’ll review the basics of storytelling, paying particular attention to dialogue, plot, voice, description, and narration. We’ll discuss storytelling challenges specific to memoir writers including how to approach “truth.” We’ll also examine how our identities and positionality influence us as writers.

Whether you have lots of workshop experience or no workshop experience, this class will be an encouraging space for you to take risks and to challenge yourself as a writer in unexpected ways.

About the Instructor

Dickson Lam is author of Paper Sons: A Memoir. Lam’s work has appeared in StoryQuarterly, The Kenyon Review Online, Hyphen Magazine, The Normal School, PANK, The Good Men Project, The Rumpus, and Kartika Review. He is a VONA alum and has been a resident fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. He holds MFA degrees in creative writing from the University of Houston and Rutgers-Newark. Lam is a Professor of English at Contra Costa College and lives in Oakland.

Thank you for your interest in the literary arts. Consider donating to the CLA to support creative voices:
THE CENTER FOR LITERARY ARTS OF SAN JOSÉ

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

FIND US!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • goodreads-512
  • Vimeo
  • SoundCloud

CHECK OUT...

CONTACT:

Center for Literary Arts

1 Washington Square

San José, CA 95192

© 2020 The Center for the Literary Arts of San José.