If you’ve read our blog or website, you know that Writers’ Program staff members are active writers and students; and just like you, we go back and forth on which workshops to take or instructors to study with. We all feel pretty lucky to have first-hand experience with an amazing roster of courses and instructors, which is great news for our students, because it helps us help you!

So, without further delay, here are the Writers’ Program staff picks for Fall Quarter:

Chae Ko, our ultimate screenwriting guru, picks Writing Animation, taught by Emmy Award-winning TV writer and feature film writer, Brooks Wachtel. The workshop guides you through the entire TV and Internet animation script writing process. Chae says, “Animation is such a huge industry but it doesn’t get the same level of prestige or interest from students. Brooks is a fantastic instructor who gives so much to his students. This workshop isn’t offered regularly, so I recommend you take advantage of it while you can.”

Jeff Bonnett, our resident blogger, filmmaker, and screenwriting advisor extraordinaire, recommends Emmy Award-winning instructor Peter Dunne‘s Emotional Structure: A Workshop in Creating the Story beneath the Plot, which focuses on what gives your story its power, and your film its meaning and purpose. Why this class? “While most workshops cover the external structure of plot, this one deals with something I feel I need to learn; something I think is overlooked a lot—the emotional spine of a movie. Ultimately, this is what should shape the plot, and not vice-versa.” (Did I mention Jeff’s taking this class, too?)

Over in our Online Creative Writing section, the always eclectic Katy Flaherty picks Don Webb‘s Adventuring in Other Worlds for Fun and Profit: Writing the Science Fiction Novel (Online), which empowers you to move beyond thinking about transforming your creative ideas into exciting prose to actually doing it. “Don is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about the genre, and he is constantly cluing students into a ton of interesting resources.” (When I asked Katy to describe Don, she had one word: awesome.)

The WP’s own travel writer (not to mention screenwriter and creative writer), Sara Bond, recommends one particularly “unique and interesting” class: Deb Borofka‘s Dreams and Writing (Online). This workshop helps you access your creativity and expand your writing by using the dreaming psyche as a way into the terrain of the metaphorical stories that unfold in our dreams. (After all–a writer is always writing—even come slumber time!)

Official WP Tweeter Kate Sipples picks Lisa Lieberman Doctor‘s Before You Begin the Novel: An Exploration of Character and Story. Kate, who is writing a novel, says, “I’ve learned that plot is nothing without well-developed characters that the reader cares about. This workshop is invaluable for ensuring that your protagonist is ready to star in your novel and can save months—if not years—of revisions.”

Finally, we get to yours truly. As part of our Onsite Creative Writing section, I can honestly say that I adore every single one of our instructors, which makes it hard to pick just one. But for fall, I encourage everyone to check out Write a Novel in a Month as Part of “National Novel Writing Month” with instructor Ian Randall Wilson. We’ve offered this “write-shop” for five successful years now and have had many a student (and instructor and staff member!) take it, with rave reviews. Writers come away with work they can continue to expand, tools they can use to discipline themselves to write regularly, and even entire novel drafts. Sure, writing 50,000 words in a month sounds challenging, but isn’t all writing? (In the best possible way, of course!)

For more recommendations, feel free to contact any of us in the Writers’ Program office at (310) 825-9415. We’re always happy to help.

Mae Respicio is the Program Representative in Creative Writing.

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