Three styles: 4-week mostly-asynchronous deep-dive studios, multi-session classes, and single-session classes.
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PREVIEW OUR SPRING CLASSES: KATHIE & PAUL SPEAK WITH CHARLOTTE READERS PODCAST’S LANDIS WADE
Charlotte Lit’s studios are 4-week immersions using multiple modes of teaching and learning that help you dive deeper into your craft. Here’s what you can expect:
• Deep content. Class content is delivered online, self-paced, in four weekly lessons. Each week you’ll participate in a mix of experiences, including video presentations, specially-selected craft articles, sample texts, group discussions with your classmates and teacher, and complete writing assignments—all on your own schedule.
• Instructor feedback. Best of all, you’ll receive in-depth written instructor feedback on your work.
• Zoom sessions. Want live interaction, too? Each Studio also includes two optional Zoom sessions, where you can ask questions, have concepts further explained, and chat live with your teacher and classmates.
This studio takes place asynchronously over four weeks using the Wet Ink platform, Sunday, March 7, to Saturday, April 3. There will be two optional live Zoom meetings, Monday, March 8 & 29, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
With Megan Rich and Paul Reali. Writing a novel is hard work worth doing—and the hardest part for a first-timer is not knowing what you’re doing. This four-week mostly-asynchronous studio will help you decide if you want to write a novel, and if so, will help make the journey must less fraught.
Through recorded lectures, readings, online discussions, and short assignments, we will examine the structures of stories, protagonists and their journeys, story worlds, story time, genre, point of view — and the habit, discipline, and support needed to get it done.
Cost: $300 members; $375 non-members (includes one year Charlotte Lit General Membership) • Register
This studio takes place asynchronously over four weeks using the Wet Ink platform, Sunday, April 4, to Saturday, May 1. . There will be two optional live Zoom meetings, Monday April 5 & 26, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
With Kathie Collins. In her instant classic The Art of Memoir Mary Karr writes, “Memoir done right is an art, a made thing. It’s not just raw reportage flung splat on the page.” In this four-week online course, we’ll explore what goes into turning hard-won experiences into works of art. Instructor Kathie Collins has curated essential advice on the form from the genre’s best teachers and writers and assembled it into engaging, easy-to-grasp lessons that will inspire and prepare you to write your own. We’ll take a look at memoir’s many shapes and structures, from hybrid forms like micro-memoir to personal essay to full-length books. Each week, you can expect stimulating lectures, readings from classic and contemporary memoirs, and online group discussion. You’ll also develop a 750-word piece and receive feedback on first and second drafts.
Cost: $300 members; $375 non-members (includes one year Charlotte Lit General Membership) • Register
Live Classes via Zoom
Looking for the Charlotte Lit experience from home? Our remote classes combine the great teaching and great community you’ve come to know from our in-person classes. These classes are live, interactive, and just the right size: 90 minutes per session.
90-minute single-session synchronous Zoom classes
The Zen of Writing
Thursday, February 18, 6:00-7:30 pm
With Kim Wright. Everyone talks about a writing flow, but exactly what does that mean and how do you get into one? In this class Kim Wright will discuss the mental and psychological side of writing – dealing with self-doubt, establishing a personalized writing practice, how to write “into the void” when you aren’t sure where the story is taking you, and why writing remains a valid dream even in an industry that’s often discouraging. Kim will lecture at the beginning on some tips the pros use to continue producing words, day in and day out, but the second half of the class will zero in on the personal. So bring your questions and whatever obstacles are keeping you from working on a regular basis. Writing isn’t meant to be drudgery and willpower will only get you so far – this class aims to not only increase your word count but also your pleasure and confidence in the process.
The Art of Submission: From the “Slush” Pile to the “Rush” Pile
Tuesday, February 23, 6:00-7:30 pm
With Ashley Memory. Technology makes submitting for publication easier than ever. At the same time, as more and more writers offer their work, competition for space has never been fiercer. But take heart. In this class, we’ll cover the art behind successful submissions and how to move from the “slush” pile to the pile editors rush to accept. We’ll discuss how to find the best fit for your writing, tips on putting your best foot forward, and a little secret to boost the number of marketable pieces in your portfolio. We’ll also discuss the nuts and bolts of submission: cover letters, biographies, tracking and more, such as how to stay motivated as you cast those precious pearls out into the world.
With Kim Wright. Agents can be angels – potentially helpful, but hard to find. This class will talk about 1) what agents do for writers 2) the different types of agents and how to know which type is right for you 3) how to find an agent and 4) how not to find an agent, i.e., mistakes writers often make in the all-important agent search. We’ll also talk about the dark side of the industry – how to recognize an invalid or predatory agent and what to do if you find yourself yoked to the wrong agent partner. The class will also cover search engines, query letters, contracts, the editing process that comes before the editors even show up, and when it’s time to get on that plane and head to New York.
With Betsy Thorpe. When it’s time to start submitting your book, a professional and compelling query letter makes the difference between success and failure. Don’t waste all your years of hard work on your memoir or novel by not paying attention to what makes a great query letter. We’ll be discussing the essential five paragraphs that make up a query letter, including the elevator pitch, author bio, and the dreaded comparison books. We’ll take a look at some query letters that won the notice of agents, and those that were so awful they got posted online. We’ll review a few elevator pitches and author bios, and discuss whether a good title makes a difference, why rhetorical questions are a no-no, and how to do a little test marketing.
Optional Add-on: private critique of a query letter by the instructor, $75. (Details on this option will be sent after registration.)
The Pleasure and Perils of the Epistolary Form
Thursday, April 22, 6:00-7:30 pm
With Bryn Chancellor. Fiction writers have had a long and lovely affair with the epistolary form, a.k.a. stories and novels in which documents as varied as letters, diaries, emails, news clippings, transcripts, texts, posts, or tweets govern the narrative or parts of it. Whether written from a single point of view or as an exchange among characters, the letter form can create a brilliant sense of intimacy, voice, and realism. The trick: we’re not actually writing a letter but a story, so we have to find sneaky methods for characterization, setting, dialogue, exposition, and movement. Together we’ll read and discuss some contemporary epistolary examples and then explore letters in our own work through brief prompts and take-home exercises.
With Landis Wade. In this interactive session, lawyer turned author and podcaster Landis Wade will guide you through building and expanding your author platform. Whether traditionally or indie published, marketing is a critical part of an author’s life, and platform building has become essential. While writing great books can certainly help, platform building is about more than just writing. It’s also about finding that “something else” that leads to connections, exposure and maybe even a few readers willing to give your books a chance. While this course won’t offer the winning lottery ticket to author platform building success, it will offer ideas that cause you to think about what you might do to complement your writing that feels less like marketing and more like fun, a good use of your creative energy and talent. Landis will offer tips and suggestions from his experience—bring yours, too!
With Caroline Langerman. Writing is craftwork: draft once, revise many times. Hemingway even said, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.” Can you learn to love revising as much as you love drafting? In this class, you will learn different techniques and approaches for revision—both how to do it and how to think about it. At the end, you should be more confident in your vision of revision.
Jaki Shelton Green, Poet Laureate of North Carolina. How does writing from the body function as a nation of stories on the page. How do you create the anatomy of story, poetic narrative, characters? In what ways do our bodies carry everything that came before us? What strategies and techniques can you utilize to write from the body on back through lineage? (Think of your human museums, memories, passed down stories, artifacts…what we keep keeps us. Remembering to remember….
How do we think of ourselves as liminal writers? Liminal means relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process…occupying a position at, or on both sides of a boundary or threshold. Liminal experiences are transitional, a suspension in identity, time, or community. How do your dreams, rituals, wildernesses, births, deaths, visions, ghosts, tricksters, crossroads, revolutions, and all kinds of collapses of the status quo write themselves into the thresholds of your creative process or suspend, mute, or erase your creativity? What happens when we or our characters cross a significant boundary? We step into an unsettling in between zone, where we have to abandon accepted structures or truths. We embrace the tension between now and the next big thing.
Multi-session synchronous Zoom classes, 90 minutes per session, some with optional teacher feedback for an additional fee.
Poetry Workshop: MFA-Style Discussion/Feedback Group
Six Wednesdays, March 24 & 31, April 7, 21 & 28, May 5, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Dannye Romine Powell
With Dannye Romine Powell. Though a poem might appear to have been poured in a single gentle stream from poet’s mind onto page, the process of creating it might be better compared to working the Sunday crossword or catching a sparrow by the tail. Good poems usually require multiple revisions, and good poets appreciate the quality feedback they receive from dedicated workshop members who can point out what works inside a given poem—and what doesn’t. If you enjoy giving and receiving helpful critique and have poems that you’d like help with to revise and polish, please join us for one (or both!) of these workshop opportunities. For: Poets of all levels, published or emerging, with at least a handful of finished poems. (Each participant will share at least one completed poem each week.)
With Angelo Geter. This two-part class will introduce participants to the art of spoken word poetry. It will educate on the origins, and purpose of spoken word and poetry slam. This course will expose students to the artform, techniques, and skills used to craft spoken word pieces. Furthermore, it will examine spoken word work to demonstrate how literary devices employed in traditional poetry are expanded in this genre. Participants will be guided through several prompts and exercises to help them craft their own original work. In the second part of the course, participants will perform their spoken word pieces and receive critique from the instructor and the other participants. This class will show you how to literally bring your words to life from the page to the stage.
Writing in the Age of Loneliness: Eco-Literature & the Writer’s Task
2 Thursdays, April 29 and May 6, 6-7:30 p.m.
With Nickole Brown. We are now in the throes of a sixth mass extinction of plants and animals. Biologist E.O. Wilson said it may be called by scientists and poets alike the Eremozoic: “The Age of Loneliness.” If we take the worries of climate change and habitat destruction seriously—and in this lonely age potentially bereft of our fellow creatures—doesn’t this threaten to render literature and poems utterly useless? In this two-session class we’ll strive to find ways past this potentially debilitating hurdle. We’ll ask questions that instead of silencing ourselves will urge us on: What is our responsibility as writers to this epoch? Can the average working person with limited access to nature make any difference? How might we depict the suffering of non-human but sentient beings? How can one write about plants and animals without producing work that is sentimental, overly personified, flat-lined with facts, or, worse, rendered incapable of communicating from its own rage? What impact can we make with our words? We’ll study poems, lyric essays, and stories that have their own solutions to these pitfalls and will try our hands at writing through this darkness with awareness, control, and yes, even hope.
With Charles Israel, Jr. Writing a personal essay is like wandering through your lives and thoughts. Maybe it’s a wander you’ve been waiting to let out so you can write about it. Like no other form, the personal essay stresses reflection, both of your life and the world beyond. Our class goal is straightforward—to complete a personal essay. You’ll be guided—step by step—starting with an image or an anecdote or a thought, the kind that just won’t leave you alone. Then, you’ll uncover the theme that rises organically from your beginning. By elaborating on your theme, you’ll build your essay, using prompts, freewriting exercises, feedback, and revision. To help you, we’ll also look at some model essays and define the form. In this class, you can share your work with others, and I’ll also comment on some of your work. You may also elect to receive written feedback from the instructor.
Optional Add-on: private critique of a 750-word personal essay by the instructor, $75. (Details on this option will be sent after registration.)
Fictional Thinking: Generating Stories, Nurturing Ideas, and Removing Roadblocks
3 Thursdays, May 20 & 27, and June 3, 6-7:30 p.m.
With Jeff Jackson. Do you find yourself getting stuck partway through your stories? Do you have trouble generating compelling openings or resonant endings? In this class, we’ll use the techniques of flash fiction — which is storytelling in its most compact and immediate form— to learn different methods of generating ideas, creating and sustaining narrative momentum, and unlocking the hidden paths and possibilities within your stories. You’ll be given a toolbox of practical exercises to help you transform writing roadblocks into narrative opportunities, so you can see your ideas through to their most compelling conclusion.
Optional Add-on: private critique of up to 1000 words by the instructor, $75. (Details on this option will be sent after registration.)
Better Blogging: What to Write and Where to Post It
Two sessions, with Paul Reali. There are more than a hundred million blogs in the universe, and maybe as many reasons for creating one. What are yours? And how can you make the best use of this platform to support your writing goals? This class will help you: clarify why you should have a blog; identify who you’re writing for; find your unique voice and point of view; determine how often you will post; provide tips for writing seven kinds of posts people will want to read; and discuss some options about which blogging platform to use.
Three sessions, with Luke Whisnant. Flash is the genre for fast times, with hundreds of journals and websites publishing shorter and shorter work. In this three-week class we’ll take a look at some common misconceptions about flash (what it is, what it’s not); delve briefly into the history of short-form prose, including prose poetry and micro-essays; introduce six strategies for crafting short fictions; and end with suggestions for submitting your flashes for publication. We’ll read and analyze a number of model stories, learning to “steal like an artist,” and each meeting will include several prompts for new writing. Fiction writers, prose poets, and concise nonfiction writers are all welcome.
Into and Out of the Garden: Exploring the Myth of Paradise through Poetry and Prose
A single poem, alone / can turn tides / scatter galaxies / and burst forth with rivers / from paradise. ~Sanober Khan
Two sessions, with Larry Sorkin and Kathie Collins. In this two-session class, we’ll look closely at some of the variety of ways writers and artists have interpreted and been inspired by this foundational biblical narrative—and even used its themes as metaphors for the writing process itself.
We’ll engage in discussion about how those themes have shaped our personal lives and influenced our own creativity. Then, we’ll enter the gardens of our imaginations where we’ll create a single piece of art—a poem, prose piece, painting, collage, song (anything at all)—to share with the group during the second meeting. Advance reading packet provided. First and second sessions spaced three weeks apart to provide plenty of time for germination.
Start-to-Finish: The 10-Minute Play
Three sessions, with Paula Martinac. The 10-minute play is a close cousin of flash fiction—a scrumptious bite instead of a four-course meal. At the same time, it shares elements with full-length plays: dialogue, stage directions, a dramatic question and theme, and what’s known as theatricality. In this three-session workshop, participants write a 10-minute play from start to finish, with the option of private critique from the instructor. We’ll create characters in conflict, craft believable dialogue, design theatrical moments to engage live audiences, and discuss submission opportunities. All levels of writers are welcome to come and play around!
Tapping into Sound: Using Music to Create Prose
Two sessions, with Beth Gilstrap. We’re not poets, but we prose writers know the power of a musical line. One of the central tenets of memorable writing (fiction or non-fiction) is lyrical prose, but the discussion of how to craft it often turns ethereal. It’s inherent. It’s just how I write. While it’s true lyricism can be magic—a tap on the shoulder from the elusive muse—it can also be cultivated. In short forms such as flash, where every word bears weight and must bend in the right direction, arrangement, diction, character lexicon, sentence structure and paragraph length matter. The skeleton of the sentence must enhance the content and vice versa. In this workshop, we’ll examine several examples of lyrical flash by masters like Jamaica Kincaid, Kathy Fish, and Carmen Maria Machado. In generative exercises, we’ll experiment with structure, imagery, musicality, and rhythm. In week two, we will share our work and talk about ways to revise and rework the pieces for sound.