Hello Writing Salon,
I just finished Fiction Gym Workshop with Cary Groner, and I could not be more satisfied with Cary as a teacher or with my overall experience in the course. In class, Cary is a calm, kind, intelligent – I’ll go ahead and say wise – presence. He gives excellent feedback, and his praise is meaningful because he is unafraid to tell student writers when a piece of work isn’t there yet (better, he can explain why). He’s drily funny. It’s telling that a couple students in our group were taking the class for a second time.
The workshop itself is thoughtfully organized. Each week is devoted to a specific aspect of craft, with excellent readings that support the lesson. There’s also a writing exercise that is tailored to the topic at hand but also open enough that you feel you’re working on real stories, not just prompts designed to get your juices flowing in an amateurish way. I spent some time looking for a writing course that was suitable for savvy beginners – the kind of people who aspire to take their fiction seriously someday, and want the kind of rigorous, supportive, specific instruction that will really help them get there.
I agree with the student who said that Cary’s course appears to pack as many of the beneficial aspects of an MFA program as possible into a nine-week course. It was just what I needed. I’ll be back for the continuation class later this fall.
-Katherine S., Berkeley CA
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