Fiction Classes in SF ” . . . Josh is a fabulous teacher. . .”

Dear Jane,

Josh Mohrmanages to give super-supportive enthusiastic encouragement and precise, practical, advice. The double word score! I learned so much, read all kinds of instructive stuff that I would never have otherwise encountered, and got constructive suggestions for more things to do. I’ve also gotten renewed motivation to write.

Josh is a fabulous teacher. Have him teach more classes!

Anna Williams

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Freelance Magazine Writing – Your license to probe the world

Nine Tuesdays, July 15th-Sept. 9th, 7-9:30 p.m.
$335 members/$365 non-members;
Location: San Francisco

“I’ve done stories on everything from home computers — back when only three companies were making them — to a portrait of the Sherman House (a landmark hotel that survived the 1906 earthquake) to a profile of the Emmy Award-winning sound engineer who worked on Basic Instinct,” says Cary Pepper. “But my favorite piece is probably the one I did about a new reading program for kindergartners; the kids pulled me right into the class and I learned more that one day than I ever learned in kindergarten. That’s one of the things I love most about magazine writing — it’s a constant learning process. It gives you a license to probe into how the world — and the people in it — work. It’s also the most accessible way to break into professional writing. Even when you have no publishing credits, if you come up with the right idea, and pitch it to the right editor at the right time, you can get the assignment.”

In this class Cary will provide a nuts-and-bolts workshop on writing the magazine article. “We’ll analyze elements of craft such as structure, flow, and language. Students will write an article on a topic of their choice, bring it in, and we’ll break down the specifics of each one. We’ll also discuss editing: its power as well as its pitfalls. We’ll also cover: How to get ideas…how to determine your market…why the query letter is as important (sometimes more!) than the actual article…how to write a query editors will read…the rules of the game (and when to break them)…getting rejected (and how to handle it)…getting accepted (and how to handle it)…dealing with editors… being a professional…using one article to get the next assignment…and putting yourself out there as a freelance magazine writer.”

Cary Pepper has been a freelance writer for 30 years. He has published dozens of articles in such publications as The New York Times, TV Guide, Premiere, Advertising Age, Town and Country, and Mad. He is also an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced throughout the U.S. and in Europe. He has taught writing at Media Alliance, the San Francisco Art Institute, and privately.

Magazine Writing: “. . . great instruction. Thank you, Cary”

Hi Cary,

It’s been quite some time since our last class. I’ve been busy implementing what I learned from you [in Freelance Magazine Writing] and wanted to share the results.

After all those rewrites on my class article about Ferry Point, I set it aside and developed a totally different article. The idea came from my experience working with boat covers. Fallout from cargo ships and airplanes seemed to be causing unusual damage to boat covers in marinas near seaports and airports. I wanted to find out more about the link and thought others would be interested, too.

I pitched the article in an email to the Marine Fabricator magazine, expecting to wait for weeks before hearing something like “Well . . . . maybe . . . . could work . . . . how about a little 25 words or less blurb . . . ” Instead, Chris replied before 2 hours had passed and gave me an assignment, on spec, for an 800 word article, plus photos and captions. Since it was my first time working with them, he couldn’t commit to pay me until after he’d seen the article. Oh, and by the way, could I make the deadline in 4 weeks?

Of course I said yes.

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