6 sessions, 7 students max
Beginning Wednesday, June 5th, 6:30-8:30PM
Note: we’ll skip the week of July 4th
Location: 25th & R
Textbook: Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern
This workshop is designed for intermediate & advanced writers who want to improve their craft. Students will submit work for workshop two times. Students may submit flash fiction (2-3 pieces per turn), short stories, or novel chapters. The class features weekly craft discussion and sample fiction, as well as student work. Writers provide written feedback for their peers.
About the Workshops
I’ve been teaching writing for ten years now, and I think smaller is better when it comes to workshop size. Most of the workshops I teach for universities run 15-20 students. I think capping the class size at 6-7 allows more room for personalized attention and for more student interaction. Everyone will get to participate, and nobody’s quiet presence will be overlooked. Successful writers work hard at their writing, taking a story, essay, or novel through many drafts before publication. I take my students seriously enough to view their work as a practiced, professional reader of fiction, and I provide feedback that will enable you to reconsider and revise your work over time.
In six-week workshop sessions, you’ll be able to present two pieces for workshop, and you’ll have to read and comment upon two pieces from your classmates. I firmly believe reading and responding to other stories improves your own writing abilities over time (mine were honed as a literary contest and magazine reader as well as a workshop participant). In larger classes, however, responding to workshop stories can become burdensome if/when outside responsibilities intrude. Shorter, smaller classes lend themselves to the natural rhythms of a writer’s life, which must blend the solitude of a regular writing practice with the need for community and feedback.
Wendy Dutwin, MFA
Anyone serious about writing will be fortunate to work with Valerie Fioravanti. Her dedication to craft is evident in her remarkable award-winning writing, and her generosity as a teacher and mentor remains the high standard by which I compare all other instructors.
I took advanced short story writing classes at UCLA Extension with Valerie, and consider it the turning point in my development as a writer. Valerie believes every comment is in service to the writing being the best it can be. She pushed and challenged me to stretch myself as a writer with her very precise edits of my work. She really gets into the guts of a story to illuminate what works and gives detailed suggestions for fixing what doesn’t. It was this guidance as a mentor that helped me rewrite my short story “Uvalde,” which won the 2010 James Kirkwood Award in Short Fiction. I credit Valerie and the work I did with her for that incredible honor. [Valerie’s note: I credit Wendy.]
Valerie taught me how to take myself seriously as a writer and to see myself in this light. Writing is my calling and everything I do supports that now. Any serious writer will stick to her like glue.
I’d never really considered taking a writing workshop. Sure, I wanted to improve my craft, but I’d graduated with a Masters in rhetoric, penned some academically acclaimed papers and wrote throughout my career in marketing. I just needed to buckle down and do it! Right? Well, for me, WRONG! Taking a workshop with Valerie Fioravanti was the best six weeks of my writing life. It has changed the way I view the writing process, taking me from “thinking about writing” to actually producing work I am eager to share. I’ve moved from being afraid to tell my stories to welcoming the release that comes through the writing process. That transformation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Valerie offers a safe haven for the fragile writing psyche. She is gracious, yet genuine as she helps you develop your skills. Offering critical insights in a nurturing environment, Valerie is generous with praise about what works well and gentle as she helps you recognize what could be better developed. She fosters lasting camaraderie in the space of a few short weeks. I’m looking forward to working with Valerie again!
How to Register
I will tentatively hold a spot for writers with a written/verbal confirmation, but require full payment to guarantee a spot. This is necessary because last-minute cancellations imperil small workshop classes. To register or to ask further questions, fill out the contact form below.