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Featured Online Writing Class

Chelsey Clammer

THE WOMEN WRITERS’ BOOK GROUP: How to Write an Essay that Reaches Beyond Personal Experience by Chelsey Clammer

START DATE: Monday, May 1, 2017

END DATE: Sunday, May 28, 2017

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 The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison and engage in an online discussion about different craft elements of the book. The book will help to guide our discussions on how to write an essay that reaches beyond personal experience and brings the larger world into our personal writing. Other aspects that we will look at are the use of description, narrative voice, structure, and even grammar and punctuation!

Each week, book group members will have the option to post her response to one of the writing exercises and/or the latest draft of the essay she started at the beginning of the course. Members will give brief feedback on every person’s work, and the instructor will provide thorough comments and revision suggestions each week. The group will be coordinated using a private website so that group members, if they choose to, can further engage with their peers in a social way.

testimonials

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)

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 is a careful and thoughtful editor who let’s other writers’ voices stand out while at the same time helping them clarify and distill their words. ~ David Olimpio

Chelsey Clammer is professional and prompt, with a keen eye for detail. I trust her editorial advice absolutely. ~ Jen Palmares Meadow

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: Reporting with “I”

We will read two essays this week to explore how we can bring larger societal events and issues into our personal essays.

Assignment: Read the two assigned essays, and complete at least one of the writing exercises. Post your exercise to the course’s page to receive feedback from your peers (700-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays.

Week 2: Welcome the Reader into Your Literary Life

How do we get a reader to care enough about our lives so that she continues to read our personal essays? There are many aspects of writing that can help to persuade the reader to keep reading. This week we will look at voice, tone, pace, and structure to see if your essay is opening its doors and welcoming the reader to not just come inside, but to stay for a little while, too.

Assignment: Read the two assigned essays, and complete at least one of the writing exercises. Post your exercise or the essay you are working on to the course’s page to receive feedback from your peers (700-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays.

Week 3: Metaphor and the Sentimental

Sappy. Lovey-dovey. Roses are red. That kind of thing. We all have so much to say about love, but how can we write about it and not sound so grossly sentimental? This week we’ll look at how we write about emotions and how we can use metaphors in such a way that the driving force of our essays are not the emotions behind them, but rather the ways in which we write about those feelings.

Assignment: Read the two assigned essays, and complete at least one of the writing exercises. Post your exercise or the essay you are working on to the course’s page to receive feedback from your peers (1000-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays.

Week 4: Finding the “I” in Nonfiction

Sometimes there’s an event that we really want to write about, but aren’t quite sure how to fit ourselves into that story. How do we position ourselves as the narrator in an essay that might not directly be about us? In week 1, we looked at how to write a larger story into our personal essays, and this week we’ll go in the opposite direction—we’ll look at how we write the “I” into an essay about a larger topic.

Assignment: Read the two assigned essays, and complete at least one of the writing exercises. Post your exercise or the essay you are working on to the course’s page to receive feedback from your peers (1000-word limit). Comment on your peers’ essays.

Sample Lesson: Click to view a sample lesson from Chelsey Clammer’s course The Empathy Exams: Week I.

Materials needed: Please purchase your own copy of The Empathy Exams in preparation for the first week of the course.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Chelsey Clammer is the 2016 winner of the Red Hen Press Nonfiction Manuscript Award for her creative thesis, Circadian (publication in Fall 2017). She is a Pushcart Prize-nominated essayist who has been published in 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 Founding Editor of www.insideoutediting.com. Her first collection of essays, Body Home, was released in 2015. Her second collection, There Is Nothing Else to See Here, is forthcoming from The Lit Pub. Clammer is currently enrolled in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program. 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 with Chelsey Clammer (4 weeks, starting 5/1/2017) Limit: 16 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check out Chelsey’s upcoming class, Women Writers Anonymous starting January 2.

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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