Writing & Literature Classes
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My 10 year old homeschooled daughter is 112 pages into her first novel (an
elaborate fantasy) and needs someone to act as a mentor to support its
completion and revision. I taught middle school English and, frankly, she has
gone beyond my expertise. Anyone know of an experienced tutor out there that
would enjoy working with a talented young fiction writer?
I'm so glad you posted this and want to congratulate you in supporting your daughter
in her writing.
As an author, I would not suggest a tutor. Your description sounds more like hiring
an editor. An editor can help with re-writes and structure but this is very costly
(hundreds of dollars) and is not recommended until the manuscript is completed and
the writer had made several passes of editing the manuscript themselves.
I would recommend taking classes in the craft of fiction writing (and fantasy since
that is what your daughter is writing) as well as joining writing organizations.
Locally, the Writing Salon (SF and Berkeley) has classes conducted by authors in
various genres as well as general fiction writing. Writers taking the classes come
from various levels of the writing process. The quality of the classes is excellent
and the commitment by the students and teachers is amazing and fosters a nurturing
writing environment. I personally have benefited by the expertise of the instructors
and highly recommend the Writing Salon.
Additionally, there are various writing organizations (on-line and locally) that
provide support, advise as well as craft instruction, some for particular genres and
others for all types of writing. I do not write fantasy and thus cannot direct you
specifically, but a 'google' search will probably find them. Through these
organizations your daughter could find a critique group to also help her in the
Starting with the Writing Salon and local writing organizations would immediately
help your daughter.
Check out what's available at 826valencia.org. Might be a good match for you!
I've been thinking about your post, as a writer, and as the parent of a teen
who writes. My daughter also wrote a few novels, and plays during the years
from 5th to 9th grade. One of the plays was produced with little adult
intervention (probably too little in terms of stress on the children), and it
was performed as part of another event, so it had a large audience. In terms of
the novels, I had a friend, a YA novelist, read one. She liked the novel and
provided few suggestions for revision. However, by the time my daughter was
ready to revise she had already changed so much that she couldn't go back to
the same project.
What's been most valuable for her is reading as a writer, i.e. discussing
techniques, while continuing to write. She's taken classes at 826 Valencia and
through ATDP, and the parts of those classes that have been most helpful have
been the writing exercises.
In terms of teaching writing to children and adults, I always found that
reading good models, actually writing, and seeing what they did well helped
students more than the formal revision process that some in K-12 education
advocate. Only in the latter part of high school, has she been able to do
productive revision. The best revisions have been when she's reimagined a story
and written it again from a different character or starting point. My
suggestion would be to encourage the writing, and to help your daughter find
other young writers to talk to about writing and reading.
Looking for summer writing courses in basic writing for 14
year old boy entering highschool in the Fall who doesn't
like to write. Many years behind in writing. Needs help on
expressing himself in writing and basic writing mechanics.
My daughter, a current sophomore at BHS, took the
Summer Writing Course last year and it
improved her writing.
I want to take a class or seminar to brush up on my writing and
editing skills. In my job I proofread materials with lots of
syntax and grammar problems and I need more confidence that I am
making the correct edits. Has anyone taken or heard of a class
that sounds appropriate? Thanks!
UC-Berkeley Extension offers two one-day classes that sound
perfect: Grammar Intensives 1 and 2.
English 657 at SF State sounds like the class you are looking
Any recommendations for a beginning creative writing course?
UC Extension is a great source for beginning creative writing
classes. Particularly good are classes by Susan Ito -- she
teaches ''Fiction from life experience.'' She is a very
enthusiastic, encouraging, and knowledgeable instructor. I've
seen her able to teach to all levels of the classroom and really
cares about the craft of writing.
if you don't mind travelling to san francisco, i highly recommend
the writing salon, in bernal heights. they offer small, well
organized, friendly, supportive classes in a range of different
areas. check out their website. http://www.writingsalons.com/
My name is Barbara Joan Tiger Bass, mfa. I am a creative writing
teacher. I look forward to speaking with you: 510-336-0050
barbara joan tiger bass btigerbass AT aol.com
I'd highly recommend the creative writing classes taught by
Charlotte Cook. She teaches both at Piedmont Adult School
http://www.piedmontadultschool.org and through the City of
Lafayette Department of Recreation http://www.lovelafayette.com,
as well as in private sessions. I've found the classes to be
really friendly to writers of all skill levels, and her tips and
suggestions have greatly improved my writing. Good luck!
Check out the creative writing classes offered through UC
Extension! They have a wide array of classes for all levels.
I am looking for a develompental writing class (2wks) for my 8
yr. old daughter for this summer. She is not fond of writing,
but has the appropriate tools. If you know of a good
inspirational writing class in Albany, El Cerrito, or Berkeley,
I would appreciate your recommendation.
Here are some folks who have offered writing programs in
Bay Center Associates 848-6868
Educational Services Associates 873-0801
New Learning Clinic 643-8727 ( the LANGUAGE! program)
My 10 year old daughter loves to write, and so do I. I've
heard in the past of child/parent writing workshops, over a
weekend or in the form of a weeklong summer camp, but I can't
seem to find information on anything like this. There are all
sorts of programs that are just for kids, or just for adults,
but nothing parents and kids can do together. Suggestions
In response to the mom looking for a parent/child writing workshop for her ten
year old daughter -- I run a drop-in poetry writing workshop on the second
Wednesday of each month at the Albany Public Library. It's open to adults and
children aged 8 and up. It's a wonderful mix of people -- fourth graders, a few
people in their 80s and everyone in between! We get a lot of parent/child pairs
and siblings. There is something very powerful about people of all ages sharing
their writing. And no experience is necessary -- just enthusiasm!
The Albany Public Library is located at 1247 Marin Avenue. The workshop is
free. Our next meeting dates are February 11, March 10, April 14, May 12, June
9. For more info contact the library at 510-526-3720.
I'm planning to lead one this summer. At the workshop there will be exercises
that both parents and kids can do, some shared writing games, and some time
for each partner to write alone.
Let me know what times would work for you. I'll put a more formal
announcement out at the end of April/the beginning of May.
I also write with my daughter, so if you want to get together informally to
write before the summer send me an email.
Can anyone recommend a creative writing program for a 10 yr. old
girl who doesn't particularly like to write. It can be either a
summer program or during the school year. Thanks.
I offer writer's workshops for young writers (K-6). I currently
have a new group for 10-year-old writers that meets Tuesdays, 6-
7 p.m., for eight weeks. These small groups allow children to
experiment with creative writing in a fun and supportive
setting. Children are taught ways of ''thinking like a writer''
to build their strategies and confidence when crafting stories.
In the groups they are given time to experiment with their
writing, and share their work with other kids. Other sessions
will be offered in the summer. Please feel free to call for
further information about the writing groups, 528-8773 or check
the web site at www.literacyaccess.com. Thanks!
Ivy Sandz ivy AT literacyaccess.com
Creative Writing Workshops
Barbara Joan Tiger Bass, MFA is an experienced teacher, tutor,
and published writer. In private practice teaching creative
writing for over twelve years, she welcomes students to her
Children from 2nd grade on will discuss ideas and write stories,
poems, and essays in a comfortable, supportive environment.
Summer classes run Mon. Tues. Wed. 10:30 -12 or 2:30-4.
Session 1: 6/30-7/9
Session 2 : 7/14-7/23
Session 3 : 7/28-8/6
Call (510)336-0050 or e-mail ENJOYLEARNING2 AT AOL.com
barbara joan tiger bass btigerbass AT aol.com
There are workshops for teachers to teach writing (you don't
have to be a teacher to attend to these workshops). I found
myself being very creative with children after attending these
workshops. It's free and wonderful---and best of all, is
usually done is one day. It's called Bay Area Writer's
Workshop (workshops are usually held at UC Berkeley) and just
by chance I found this workshop for children...
http://www.bayareawritingproject.org/youngWriters . Happy
My husband lately became very much involved in writing. He
writes mostly short stories, but now is thinking about writing a
novel. I wanted to give him as a gift some books on composition
and writing. I would really appreciate recommendation on the
books to buy. Thank you very much.
Some of my favorites:
''On Writing Well'' William Zinser
''Bird by Bird'' Annie Lamott
''The Art of Fiction'' by John Gardner
Any of the ''Best American'' short story or essay compilations
A subscription to the New Yorker, Granta and The Sun would also
be a useful gift for a writer.
And tell him to check out McSweeney's whenever he finds it.
I joined a writing group (which I strongly recommend) last year
and was getting pretty negative feedback on the initial drafts of
my first attempt at writing a novel so decided I really needed to
improve my writing skills.
Here are some books I found really helpful:
(1) ''Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into
Print'' by Renni Browne, with Dave King
-After reading this one and applying some of the concepts, I
started getting rave reviews on my manuscripts.
(2) ''Stein on Writing'' and ''How to Grow a Novel'' by Sol Stein
-This guy is an author and an editor and really knows his stuff.
Hope that helps!
--An aspiring novelist
For the writer: if your husband doesn't already have Anne
Lamott's Bird by Bird, that can't be beat.
How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James Frey is a terrific book.
I have just been using it while working on a novel and have
found it to be enormously helpful, despite its cheesy title. I
hear that Self Editing for Fiction Writers is also a terrific
book. It is on my list, but I haven't gotten it yet. Get That
Novel Started and Keep Going Til You Finish didn't help me very
much, except for its advice that you should write 10 minutes
every day (at least), so, skip that one, I'd say (unless your
husband is full of mental blocks that keep him from writing, then
it might be useful)....
There are dozens of books about writing, written from many
different perspectives. Let me give you some titles that I have
used myself, and also have given as reading to my students (I've
taught creative writing in Spanish at UCB). Take a look at them
in any bookshop and pick the one that might better suit your
-John Gardner. The Art of Fiction. This is a very professional,
serious book about writing techniques and philosophies. The
author is extremely opinionated and it always created
controversy in the classroom, but students found it very useful
and thought provoking. It has interesting exercises at the end.
-Ursula K. Le Guin. Steering the Craft. It is structured in
small chapters, each about one aspect of writing (point of view,
repetition, etcetera), and includes very precise examples and
exercises. It is ideal to use as a practicing tool or even as a
springboard for a writing group.
Natalie Goldberg. Writing Down the Bones. A completely different
perspective. It's a very personal book. The author practices Zen
and uses the same approach to writing: be present in the writing
moment with total abandon, use free hand writing, use journals,
etcetera. It's very inspirational, more at a gut level than a
These books might be a good place to start. Good luck!
You might check out two titles by Chalie Baxter, ''Burning
Down the House,'' and ''Bringing the Devil to his Knees.''
The first is a collection of essays all written by Baxter about
the art and craft of writing fiction. It's terrific--fun to read,
illuminating and inspiring. Just reading it makes you want
to sit down and write. The second is a collection of essays
by a number of fine fiction writers who teach in the Warren
Wilson MFA Program, and will include essays by Andrea
Barrett, Richard Russo, and plenty of others. I have not read
this book, but I have heard many of the talks that gave rise to
the essays, and have no doubt the collection is a good one.
You can find both books on Amazon.
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