Introduction to Creative Writing and Workshop (7/29/2013 to 8/2/2013) – CLOSED

July 29, 2013  |  9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Grade Level: Rising 8 - 11   |  Class Cap: 20

Course Fee: $559 (lunch & snack provided)

Many of us write in our journals, write essays for school, or dabble in poetry with little guidance or feedback, or any opportunity to share our work with an audience. In this course students will have a chance to read, write, and sample a variety of creative writing genres ranging from poetry, to short story writing, to plays, with a focus on use of language, detail, and story organization that is vital to all forms of writing.  Students will have a chance to read and discuss compelling works of fiction, poetry, and short play-writing, as well as have ample opportunity for in-class writing to practice their newfound skills. Students will also learn to draw from their everyday life to craft compelling narratives, in lessons that actually explain the old adage “write what you know”. Students will also have the unique opportunity to share their work in a group workshop setting, both giving and receiving feedback with their peers.

Students will leave this class with an understanding that they have a wealth of experiences to draw from when approaching stories and college essay writing and the tools they need to craft compelling narratives, Students will fine-tune their awareness of audience, vital to the success of any piece of the writing, and finish the week with a portfolio of writing generated from our time together.

Who should attend? Rising 8th– 11th grade high school students

  • with no prior background in creative writing
  • Who love creative writing and are excited about the opportunity to have an audience for their work
  • Who have an existing piece of writing that they would like to develop in the workshop portion of our class.

Daily Schedule:

Day 1 Writers, Audience, and writing what you know. In this session we will explore what it means to write with the intention of communicating to an audience. We will practice and explore the techniques that writers employ to communicate big ideas using concrete language, and students will have a chance to practice what they have learned by beginning a piece of writing firmly grounded in their own experience.

Day 2 Poetry. Building on the use of language and concrete detail from day one, in this session students will read, discuss, and analyze a variety of different examples of poetry, culminating in the students‘ draft of narrative poetry of their own.

Day 3 Story Writing . Every narrative is built from the basic building blocks of narrative structure, from stories to personal essays. In this session we will explore the parts of narrative and how writers use the structure of narrative to build compelling stories. Students will begin a story that they will have the option to continue to develop throughout the week.

Day 4 Playwriting and Dialog. In this session we will explore monologs, scenes, and short plays to explore the use of dialog in storytelling. We will focus on the how writers use dialog to build and release tension in a scene, get audiences needed information, and show us about characters through word choice and styles of speech. Students will have the opportunity to write a ten minute play, or to develop a dialog scene from a narrative from a narrative story they are interested in continuing to develop.

Day 5 Workshop and Open Mic. Receiving feedback from your peers as well as sharing your work with an audience are both vital steps in the both the writing process and in the development of an individual writer. In this session each student will workshop a piece of writing with their peers, giving and gaining feedback, with time for editing and revision. We’ll end today sessions with an open mic style share, where students will have the opportunity to share a favorite piece or excerpt that they’ve developed over the course of the week.

Special Instructions: None. Students will be given notebooks for their use during the week. Laptops are not required.

This is a summer class for middle and high school students.

Registration for this class will close 48 hours before the class begins. If you have not yet registered your student during those final 48 hours, please contact us so that we may confirm whether seats are still open for the class.


Katie May

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Katie May is a playwright, Comedy Writer, and performer.  Her plays include Black Sheep Gospel (Great Plains Theater Conference), A History of Freaks (finalist for the David Mark Cohen Award in Playwriting), and Manic Pixie Dream Girl (SF PlayGround fellowship commission), among others.  Her short play Rapunzel’s Etymology of Zero (Best of Playground Festival, Short + Sweet Sydney) was published in the Best of PlayGround Anthology, 2011. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Virginia Piper Writing Center and the National University of Singapore, a grant from the Society for Women in Film, and an E-merging Writers Award from San Francisco Playground.  She is also a contributing writer to the live sketch and video show, Mad Stash produced by Battlestache Studios.  She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Arizona State University.