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Featured Online Writing Class

Chelsey Clammer

THE WOMEN WRITERS’ BOOK GROUP: Writing About, Writing with the Body by Chelsey Clammer

START DATE: This class is currently closed.

END DATE:

DURATION:  4 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this group is to act as a writer’s book group. What that means is that we will read a book together and learn different writing craft techniques from it. This month we will be reading Season of the Body by Brenda Miller and engage in an online discussion about different craft elements of the essay collection. The book will help to guide our discussions on how to write about the body, how to bring your own body more into your work, and how to express the body’s movement (and its stillness) on the page. We’ll look at specific craft techniques such as juxtaposition, word choice, imagery, narrative structure, and pace.

Each week, book group members will take turns posting her response to one of the writing exercises or the latest draft of an essay she has been writing while in the course. Members will give brief feedback on every person’s work, and the instructor will provide thorough comments and revision suggestions every week. Members will also engage in discussions online through the course’s website. The group will be coordinated through email and a private forum.

testimonials

Having Chelsey for a writing teacher happily exceeded my expectations. She a gifted and accomplished writer, fully dedicated to the writing life and to sharing her talent and knowledge with others, and it felt to me she was a much a member of our class as she was the instructor, which allowed me to trust her and take risks with my writing. ~ Patricia Heim

Chelsey’s class has been absolutely amazing. I have produced three refined and excellent pieces—one has already been pubbed by The Nervous Breakdown, and I just got an acceptance from Hippocampus for the second (pub in January)! The third is still out there, submitted to three places. Chelsey provided me excellent edits and emailed back quickly when I had questions. The class was fun, I learned a lot and was inspired to continue writing after it ends using the prompts she gave. She was even generous enough to answer questions I had about MFA programs. I am thankful that I ended up in her class. ~ Sarah W. (Previous WOW class participant)

This past August I signed up for Chelsey Clammer’s four-week WOW! course, The Women Writers’ Book Group: Furiously Happy. Not only have I never participated in an online book club or writing class, but I have never tried my hand at flash/short fiction or humorous fiction. But I can read, and thought it would be fun to dissect the book with an instructor and other writers. And laugh a little along the way. I was blown away. Not only was the online class a lot of fun and very informative, but Chelsey’s exceptional insights into the book combined with her weekly exercises and feedback gave me some confidence and inspiration to try my hand at writing humor. She kept the pace and energy level of the class high, not easy to do online. Chelsey also expertly guided me with her edits and encouragement. She suggested I submit a couple of my pieces that came out of her exercises. I was so new to all this, I didn’t even know where to begin to submit. Chelsey walked me through that process, too! I thought you’d like to know that one was published online. I couldn’t have been published without Chelsey and the WOW! classroom. Thank you so much for offering the opportunity to grow as a writer! ~ Kate Bradley-Ferrall (Previous WOW class participant)

In May, I took Chelsey Clammer’s course on writing memoir based on the empathic writings of Leslie Jamison. Discussion and analysis of Jamison’s essays, formed the backdrop for our approaches to our essays. I worried; I’d been writing only poetry for the past five years. Would I have enough ideas and skills to shape a coherent essay for feedback from the mentor and classmates? Ms. Clammer taught me that, whether published or not, all of my writings are important. She showed me how rewarding it is to investigate a portion of one’s life and share it with an audience. I discovered I could write about a tiny segment of my past. The resultant essay gave information and a degree of entertainment to my readers. Two of the essays completed during the four-week course are now under consideration by editors: one at an essay contest at Under the Gum Tree and the other at Mom Egg Review. ~ Carole Mertz (Full review at 1888 Center.)

Working with Chelsey I feel I’m in a rich partnership that as much about preparing essay drafts for publication as it is about growth, discovery, and the joy that comes from telling the stories that matter to me. ~ Kineret Yardena

WEEKS AT A GLANCE:

Week 1: When Going in Circles Actually Gets You Somewhere

Two facts: 1) We experience the world through our bodies. 2) We can’t escape our bodies. Our physical selves are always there with us, gathering stories and experiences as if our skin can hold memories like our minds do. Well, actually, that’s exactly what skin does. As we set out to write about our lives, to remember our pasts and explore them with our words, one thing we can keep coming back to that will help us to understand our experiences, is our bodies. For this first week, we’ll look at how we can use our bodies as a focal point in our writing to help us discover the stories that circle us.

Assignment: Read the assigned essays, and complete at least one of the writing exercises on your own. Post your response to one of the discussion questions online. Email the instructor your writing-in-progress for the week (1000-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays as assigned.

Week 2: Moving Through, Moving with the Body

Now that we’ve seen how we can use our bodies to anchor our stories, it’s time to get going and move through our stories with our bodies. What does that mean? Movement. Moving beyond the concept of the body as our writing’s destination, this week we’ll look at how the body helps to create movement in an essay—both in terms of how we write and what we write about. The body becomes a vessel that helps us to journey through what stories we must tell.

Assignment: Read the assigned essays, and complete at least one of the writing exercises on your own. Post your response to one of the discussion questions online. Email the instructor your writing-in-progress for the week (1000-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays as assigned.

Week 3: Alone

So, who are we and how do we relate to ourselves when no one is around us? Writing about moments of isolation, solitude, and reprieve, we’ll bring our body right into the dead center of our writing so we can see our stories differently. Through pace, rhythm, imagery, and narrative tone, this week we’ll look at these different craft techniques that will invite the reader to join us as we discover who we are when we only have to take care of ourselves.

Assignment: Read the assigned essays, and complete at least one of the writing exercises on your own. Post your response to one of the discussion questions online. Email the instructor your writing-in-progress for the week (1000-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays as assigned.

Week 4: Interactions

Now that we’ve seen who we are when our bodies are alone, we’ll end the course on discovering how to leap beyond our bodies as we put ourselves in interaction with other people in essays and stories. We’ll discuss how to write scenes in which our interactions with other characters helps the reader to further understand something about who we are and how we live. Focusing on dialogue and structure, we’ll end the class on writing about not just our bodies, but the bodies of those who impact our stories the most.

Assignment: Read the assigned essays, and complete at least one of the writing exercises on your own. Post your response to one of the discussion questions online. Email the instructor your writing-in-progress for the week (1000-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays as assigned.

Sample Lesson: Click to view a sample lesson from one of Chelsey’s classes: The Women Writers’ Book Group: Empathy Exams: Week I.

Materials needed: Please purchase your own copy of Season of the Body by Brenda Miller in preparation for the first week of the course.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Chelsey Clammer is the award-winning author of Circadian (Red Hen Press, 2017) and BodyHome (Hopewell Publications, 2015). A Pushcart Prize-nominated essayist, she has been published in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Normal School, Hobart, The Rumpus, Essay Daily, The Water~Stone Review and Black Warrior Review, among many others. She is the Essays Editor for The Nervous Breakdown and a voluntary reader for Creative Nonfiction magazine. You can read more of her writing at: www.chelseyclammer.com.

COST:  $125, which includes weekly assignments and individual feedback from the instructor. You will also be invited to a private group for student interaction and discussion.

BUY NOW: THE WOMEN WRITERS’ BOOK GROUP: Writing About, Writing with the Body with Chelsey Clammer (4 weeks, starting 9/4/2017) Limit: 16 students. Early registration is recommended.

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

For Class Session Starting 5/1/2017

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Notes:  Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. Just before class begins, she will e-mail you with instructions on how to get started.

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

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