Ploi Pirapokin: Speculative Fiction: A Magical class for the (Un)Real

Authorphoto3Five Saturdays, Feb. 27-March 26, 2-4:30 pm     Berkeley
$215 members/$245 others     Cancellation/Refund Policy

I was attracted to science fiction because it was so wide open. I was able to do anything and there were no walls to hem you in, and there was no human condition that you were stopped from examining. — Octavia Butler

“The act of writing fiction is lying; you write about people who never existed and events that never happened,” says Ploi. “Whether it’s science fiction or fantasy or mystery stories or high-brow art, all those things are essentially untrue. But it has to have a truth at the core of it all.”

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Jenny Pritchett: Raw Writing – A Class for Generating New Material

5 Saturdays, November 5 – December 10, 10:30am-1pm
Skip November 26
$275 members/$295 others  
Testimonials for Jenny

In an interview on, Grace Paley—finalist for both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award—told A.M. Homes that every single time she sat down to write, she thought, “How come I thought I could write? How am I gonna do this? How am I gonna write this ****ing story?”

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Write-a-Thon: Stop Talking, Start Doing, Have Fun!

Mondays, April 22-June 24 (9 weeks) 7-9:30 pm 
$365 members/$395 others    Berkeley

Up and at ’em! It’s time. For you. To get going. Now. You’ve read about writing. You’ve thought about writing. You’ve talked about it, dreamed about it, bladdity bladdity blah. But when are you going to bite the bullet and just do it? Not merely once in a blue moon, but regularly, with — you know — some modicum of discipline and determination.  How about now? Or if not right this minute, how about Monday night, April 22nd, from 7 to 9:30 pm? Sure, it’s not easy to commit. But do it anyway. What the hell. You only live once. (And if you get more writing practice, maybe you’ll do better at avoiding clichés such a “bite the bullet,” “once in a blue moon,” “what the hell” and “you only live once.”)

Here’s how this will work: Every Monday night for nine weeks, you’ll show up at the classroom, ready to write . . . or not ready to write (the point being to show up whether you’re ready or not). You will be met at the door by a different Writing Salon teacher each week. We’ve lined up nine stellar Writing Salon teachers, each of whom will do their utmost to inspire and spur you on by providing writing prompts for you to plunge into. You won’t be writing every minute you’re there, of course. But at least half the class time will be allotted to in-class writing. The rest will be for sharing snippets of what you’ve written (although not for feedback or critique).

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Cary Groner: Fiction Workshop – Build & Refine Your Storytelling Skills

9 Wednesdays, July 12 – September 6, 7-9:30pm  Berkeley 
$445 members/$475 non-members
Testimonials for Cary

When we read good stories they tend to endure in our hearts as touchstones that enrich our understanding of the world. We’ve all had the experience of reading something we like and wondering how the author developed such a breathtaking idea, with such compelling characters, and brought it to fruition. Those of us who admire good writing, and aspire to it ourselves, naturally wish to develop those skills. But without feedback from others it’s hard to escape the echo chamber and get a fresh perspective on our work.

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Junse Kim & Elaine Beale: Combo: Intro to Fiction/Starting Your Novel

inst-junsekelainebeale8250910 Sundays, Jan. 24-March 27,  2-4:30 pm  Berkeley
$365 members/$395 others    Cancellation/Refund Policy  


COMBO SPECIAL: First 5 weeks: Intro to Fiction with Junse Kim; second 5 weeks: Starting Your Novel with Elaine Beale. Ten weeks for the price of a 9-week class. This combo is considered to be ONE class when it comes to our cancellation/refund policy. So please read the policy. Thanks!

Junse Kim: Intro to Fiction – Laying the Foundation

5 Sundays, April 9 – May 7, 2-4:30pm  Berkeley  
$275 members/$295 non-members  
Testimonials for Junse

“We writers too often need others to tell us that our writing is good,” says instructor Junse Kim. “And this is where it all goes horribly wrong. We become impatient for praise, obsessed with completing a story before learning the basic skills we need to write it. It’s the equivalent of, say, an aspiring carpenter who has committed to building a beautiful house, yet doesn’t know how to hammer in a nail or saw a piece of wood.”

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Alison Luterman: Write from Real Life – Personal Essays & Memoirs

Alison_Banner9 Mondays, July 10 – September 11 (skip September 4), 7-9:30pm   Berkeley
$445 members/$475 non-members

Testimonials for Alison    

In this class you will plunge into the personal themes that make your real life stories uniquely yours. In the first half of this class, instructor Alison Luterman will give you writing exercises carefully designed to elicit the undertones and overtones that elevate events and anecdotes into the realm of art. In the last half of class, Alison will guide you through workshopping and refining the pieces you have begun.

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Want to Sell Your Book? Write a Fabulous Book Proposal

dianne-jacobheadshot20081Five Weeks, 7-9:30 p.m  Berkeley
$185 members/$215 non-members
(this class is not currently scheduled)

Have you started working on a nonfiction book or memoir (or already completed one?). Have you written your book proposal yet? If not, you’re going to need one. Typically, a proposal is written before the book, but if you’ve already written the book, you’ll still need one. The proposal is the document you send to literary agents and/or editors. It’s essentially a sales pitch, making a case for why the book needs to be written, why now, and why you’re the best person for the job.

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