6 Weeks, 6 Essays
In this fun, intensive class, over the course of six weeks, writers will produce six short essays (between 500 and 1,000 words each). Each week we will look at model essays from a diverse range of authors, including Alison Kinney, Michele Thomas, Nicole Chung, Minda Honey, Brandon Taylor, and Lyz Lenz. We will also read essays on craft. Students will respond to prompts based on the works we have read and bring copies of their completed essays to class each week, where they will read them aloud and receive on-the-spot feedback in brief workshop sessions. At the end of the class, students will leave with a path forward to possible publication for their half-a-dozen essay drafts!
GrubStreet, Boston, MA
6 Tuesdays, 10:30 AM-1:30 PM
Beginning January 8, 2019
How To Write A Reported Essay
Personal experience can be a powerful tool to demonstrate why an issue matters. It's why personal essay writing is so powerful — it gives a human voice to issues and allows for others to identify with the writer's experience. Reported essays take that personal narrative and widen the scope. They allow you to use your personal experience as a window into an issue, but to look outward to show how others are affected by it, too, using other people's voices and expert insight. In this 6-week class, we'll learn how to write reported essays, which publications from The Washington Post to The New York Times to Marie Claire look to publish. In the first half of the class, we'll read examples and learn how to source and report. In the second half, you'll come up with your own topic, source it, and write a pitch and identify markets to submit it to. We'll workshop your pitches in class and you'll be able to submit your refined pitch at the end of class for instructor feedback. You'll come away with all the tools you need to write these essays, as well as a ready-to-go pitch and outline for a reported essay you can pitch right away.
"Britni’s experiences as a successful writer gave credibility to the techniques and various approaches covered. She stuck to the syllabus awhile being responsive to questions and comments in a friendly, non-judgmental way. This class was time well spent and exactly as advertised."
"Britni was relatable, reachable, informed, smart, interesting, generous in sharing her extensive knowledge and enthusiasms and encouragement. A total 10!"
Britni was VERY knowledgable, yet had a presentation style that was relaxed and accessible. She provided examples, hand-outs, resources, and answered all of our questions. In providing examples of her own work (in this case, related to pitching personal essays to magazines), she shared with us real-life examples and helped us realize the humanity at the heart of the process.”
GrubStreet, Boston, MA
6 Mondays, 10:30 AM-1:30 PM
Beginning January 14, 2019
How To Write (& Publish) Op-Eds: ONLINE
Tired of expressing your opinions via your Facebook status? Get your op-ed out of your head, off of social media, and into the headlines! Each week, we'll look at published op-eds, commentaries, and topical personal essays torn from the pages (and web-pages) of newspapers, magazines, and online publications ranging from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Salon to The Guardian, Boston Globe, WBUR’s Cognoscenti and publications local to each student. We'll mine these exemplary works for inspiration and instruction, and then, over our 6 weeks together, you’ll write three 600- to 800-word op-eds, each modeled after the kinds of op-eds we will be studying (problem-solution, think piece, policy opinion, etc), plus you’ll revise one op-ed at the end. You'll practice:
how to hone your topic into a focused, timely, topical and marketable idea responsive to current events, news and culture that editors want;
how to leverage your personal experience and expertise;
how to master basic op-ed structure, including crafting ledes and kickers, writing a strong body, and adding support and research;
how and where to submit them to newspapers, magazines, and online publications. You’ll be encouraged submit at least one finished op-ed for publication.
Six weeks beginning January 23, 2019
Placing Personal Essays in Mainstream Publications: ONLINE
Building a platform has become a successful avenue towards landing an agent or securing a book deal. One way to help build your platform is by publishing work in mainstream venues where your voice and stories will get noticed. Pitching essays to newspapers and print and online magazines is a skill that comes with its own rules and guidelines. This class will teach you how to pitch essays, target market audiences, and adapt your work to appeal to mainstream publications. We'll examine and break down published work, and by the end of the class, you will be able to identify the parts and structure of what makes an essay appealing to a mainstream pub. Feel free to bring in something you're working on for feedback, but it's not required. You'll go home with handouts for reference, a cohesive list of potential markets, and — hopefully — plenty of inspiration.
"I learned more from this class than in an entire semester of nonfiction class at Emerson College."
"Britni was the most informative instructor I have ever had. Spot on with every word -- no, I am not exaggerating -- being useable information. Every question was succinctly answered. Class timing was perfect. And she seemed to do a great job addressing everyone's varied places on the spectrum of essay writing and what they personally wanted to accomplish. If there were a 10, she'd have mine!"
"The seminar was well-organized, and followed a very well-thought-out progression to help make things understandable. The instructor answered questions very clearly. It was truly amazing- I had absolutely no notion of the amount of work that goes into trying to publish essays! I learned so much."
Six weeks beginning February 2019