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The 5 best writing classes in NYC

Harness your inner Zadie Smith at these stellar writing workshops for every type of writer on every type of budget

Written by
Tiffany Gibert
Annalise Mantz
Alex Floyd-Douglass
Camila Karalyte

Whether you want to write the next murder mystery and hope it gets picked up by Hollywood directors, or you think your life is interesting enough for an autobiography (whose life is that interesting?), these writing classes in NYC will help you put those incredible stories onto paper. And hopefully into some of the best independent bookstores and NYC libraries (fingers crossed!). The remarkable literary institutions employ authors-cum-teachers to teach courses in everything from personal essays to poetry, so you’re sure to find a discipline that suits you. And if you need inspiration, re-reading the best books about New York should do the trick. Enjoy.

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NYC writing classes

Character Creation
Courtesy: coursehorse

1. Character Creation

Characters can really make or break a story. This Character creation class is a compact workshop for character creating and development, to help give you the skills to make your story work. The workshop will focus on areas like principles of characterization, consistency and effects of dialogue, plus more to help with your character-building and storytelling. It's a two-hour session with a teacher, working anywhere that suits you both and 1-2-1 to ensure you have thorough guidance and help. 

How To Write An Award-Winning Screenplay
Courtesy: coursehorse

2. How To Write An Award-Winning Screenplay

If you want to follow in the footsteps of Ari Aster or Guillermo del Toro, a screenplay masterclass might be for you. In a two-hour 1-2-1 session between you and the instructor, you will go over what, how, and why to write your screenplay, for which you will get a certificate for and free feedback on your screenplay. You will decide on a time and date with your instructor, as well as where to meet, like a library or cafe, wherever gets the creative juices flowing. 

The New School
Photograph: Courtesy Alex Kwok

3. The New School

Though its best known for its undergraduate programs, the New School also has a thriving continuing education arm. Budding scribes can enroll in everything from a 15-week course on personal essays and memoir taught by a widely published essayist to a one-day intensive on personal nonfiction. The school's Publishing Institute is particularly noteworthy: This five-day course explores new methods of book publishing through sessions with agents, publicists and CEOs in the industry.

The New York Screenwriters’ Lab
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. The New York Screenwriters’ Lab

If you would prefer to see your creation come to life on the silver screen, these courses led by working screenwriter Dylan Gary might be the best fit. Gary draws on his experience writing for big-name companies like HBO and Sony to help you turn your million-dollar idea into a premise with legs. By the end of the introductory workshop, you might even have a finished script to shop around.

Brooklyn Public Library
Photograph: Laura Gallant

5. Brooklyn Public Library

The public-library system is a gem of untapped resources, and at some of the 60-plus branches, writing workshops are offered several times a month. Join courses on spoken word poetry, creative writing for English language learners, storytelling and more. And yes, these workshops all embody our favorite word: free.

Looking for literary inspiration?

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