It is a truth universally acknowledged that a New York City writer in possession of a manuscript must be in want of a workshop.
Wed Nov 25 2009
Date: November 6, 2009 1:39 PM
Subject: question for you...
Has Time Out New York ever done a roundup of writing classes in New York?
For bookish inspiration
Wine fuels six-person workshops held weekly at Cobble Hill’s Freebird Workshops (Freebird Books and Goods, 123 Columbia St at Kane St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 718-643-8484, freebirdworkshops.webs.com; $230 for eight sessions), where local authors lead discussions on any genre. As a bonus, participants are encouraged to overcome their fears of submission—each eight-week session wraps with the distribution of stamped envelopes and literary magazines addresses.
Admission requirements: Short writing sample
For gender parity
Twice a month, the Morningside Writers Group huddles around moderator Kendall Williams’s kitchen timer at the Sony Plaza Atrium (550 Madison Ave between 55th and 56th Sts; morningsidewriters.com; $84 for six months, $120 for one year) so no one rambles on for too long. This crew takes the idea of balanced criticism to a new level—each group has an equal gender split. “Women and men view the world different,” says Williams. “So a workshop of all men, when there’s a female character, who’s gonna tell me if the woman’s worldview is accurate?” Similar insight for those writing about an undead vampire’s worldview is, sadly, unavailable.
Admission requirements: Ten-page writing sample and personal statement
For published proof
The courses at New York Writers Workshop (Jewish Community Center, 334 Amsterdam Ave at 76th St; 646-505-444, newyorkwritersworkshop.com; $400 for ten sessions, $395 for conferences) come with no shortage of success stories; student Lauren Weisberger got the deal for The Devil Wears Prada while she was learning from instructor Charles Salzberg. Classes range from “Introduction to Writing a Graphic Novel”—don’t worry if you can’t draw!—to advanced groups for already-published scribes. Special “Perfect Pitch” conferences put book ideas in front of editors from big-name houses, but a Prada-size advance is far from guaranteed.
Admission requirements: Three-page writing sample
For thorough screening
Don’t let the name of the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y (1395 Lexington Ave at 92nd St; 212-415-5500, 92y.org/poetry; $385--$610 for eight sessions) scare you; there are courses in fiction, nonfiction, and playwriting, as well as poetry (plus the occasional master class). Acceptance is the first hurdle; a $10 fee will get your manuscript read by the program teachers, who’ll then battle it out over who gets your genius. Open-enrollment courses are available to all paying word junkies.
Admission requirements: Writing sample up to fifteen pages
For ladder climbing
Like making baseball’s major leagues or winning a reality show, getting published is all about wanting it badly enough. At least that’s the attitude of The Writers Studio (272 W 10th St between Greenwich and Washington Sts; 212-255-7075, writerstudio.com; $370--$455 for ten sessions) founder and Pulitzer Prize winner Phillip Schultz; the school’s fiction and poetry classes are about giving tools to writers that are already passionate. Students move up a five-level system like karate kids earning belts, and Schultz himself teaches the Level V master classes.
Admission requirements: None, but new students can enter only at Level I or II.
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