Remember the days of elementary, middle, and high school, when summer brought on an onslaught of required reading? At the time it seemed so harsh. Of course, most of us at the Writers’ Program would consider a summer full of reading a dream come true. Truth be told, while I didn’t enjoy being forced to read James Michener’s Hawaii the summer after 7th grade, I would often try to see how many books I could get through in a summer on my own. Having a goal was fun, especially since it was something I enjoyed anyway.

While most of us don’t have as much free time over the summer as we used to, it’s still a great time to revive the goals we’ve let lapse since New Years. Think of what you can accomplish in a few months if you really put your mind to it: paint your house, travel Europe, train your new puppy, learn to make a perfect soufflé…the possibilities are endless! Three months is also plenty of time to make significant progress on your writing goals. The Writers’ Program is here to help you achieve your goals, with more than 100 courses this summer to help inspire your work.

Screenwriters will be in comedy heaven with three new courses. David Warfield (Ocean Park) will help you shape your darkly comic characters in Writing the Comedy Noir Feature Film: Intermediate Workshop (Online). You could be the next Alexander Payne without ever having to leave the house (that sounds like a dark comedy right there). If you’re more Tina Fey than Coen Brothers, Steve Mazur (Liar, Liar) and Mark Steen (The Groundlings) will teach Writing Funnier and Better Using Improv Comedy Techniques. Not only will you improve your comedy writing, but you’ll also have lots of fun (trust us—these guys are funny). Completing the comedy trifecta is Dave Polsky‘s (Scary Movie) Comedy Feature Roundtable. Approaching film writing with the same collaborative process that has become the standard among television comedy writers, you’ll cultivate your roundtable skills and develop your story ideas.

If creative writing is more your cup of tea, we also have several new online and onsite classes to help get you through the heat. Learn to write poetry without inhibition in The Poem You Weren’t Expecting, taught by James Arthur (The New Yorker). Working on your memoirs? Think they’re pretty funny? Kimberlee Auerbach (The Devil, The Lovers & Me: My Life in Tarot) will teach her Advanced Humorous Memoir Writing Workshop (Online). If you’re looking to take your work from solid draft to (hilarious) finished project, this is the class for you. And, for the first time, Lisa Cron (Partner, Michael Cron Literary Agency) will teach her popular Inside Story class (normally offered online) at UCLA. Representing the perspective of editor, agent, and story analyst, Lisa will help you infuse your work with a sense of urgency that leaves the reader wanting more.

Let’s face it, most of us can only dream of having three months off in a row. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great time to work on your writing goals. Before you know it, October will be here and it will be time to buy Halloween costumes, plan Thanksgiving dinner, and start Christmas shopping. So take the plunge, while there’s still plenty of daylight.

Need help finding the right course this summer? Our advisors are here five days a week, ready to help you find the right class. Call (310) 825-9415, or join us this Saturday and Sunday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at booth #358. It’s sure to be a beautiful, fun event as always and you just might win a free one-day Writers’ Program course.

Katy Flaherty is the interim Program Representative for Creative Writing Onsite and Screenwriting Online Courses. She’ll be tackling the Harry Potter series this summer. Write to her at kflaherty@uclaextension.edu.

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