We’re coming right up to the start of the 2012 Writers Studio, from February 9 – 12! The office is gearing up for the opening reception, and I’m looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces, along with meeting new Studio students as well. Personally, I think the Studio is a great opportunity for our students. I’ve seen many come out of the classrooms on the last day of the four-day intensive workshop on a “writer’s high,” excited for all the connections they’ve made and for the early-in-the-year jump-start on their writing. We’re offering 10 terrific workshops at this year’s Studio, each taught by equally terrific instructors. Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with this year’s instructor of Writing Your First Novel. Here, Francesca Lia Block weighs in about what to expect in her Studio course and the benefits of the four-day format.

Writers’ Program: What can students expect from Writing your First Novel?

Francesca Lia Block: When you attend Writing your First Novel, expect to be inspired, energized, supported, nurtured, challenged. Expect to laugh and bond with your fellow students. Expect to be tired and exhilarated. Expect to leave the last class with a deep sense of what your novel is going to be and how you are going to make it that way.

Wp’: Should students come to the course with an idea for a novel already in mind?

FLB: If you attend this class it would help to have a general idea of a novel but you don’t have to have anything too specific. I believe one of my greatest strengths as a teacher is to help individual students formulate their rough ideas into a finished concept and give them the tools to execute it.

Wp’: What are the benefits of the four-day intensive format of the Writers Studio?

FLB: In a ten-week class there are many days between sessions in which to get distracted and disconnected. In these classes you get my complete attention without losing momentum. Plus you’ll cover the same amount of material without the ten-week commitment.

Wp’: Any guest visitors?

FLB: Liz Dubelman of Vidlit, who creates online videos to promote books, and who publishes e-books, will be our guest. She’s a wonderful writer in her own right but I also wanted to bring her in because she’s an expert on e-books and self publishing. This is an important market for all writers to consider these days. Liz inspired me to put together my e-book anthology Love Magick using work by my colleagues and students.

Wp’: Have any advice for novice writers?

FLB: Here’s my standard advice for all writers: write at least a little almost every day, read everything that interests you, be kind to yourself (which includes working hard and not giving up), find a group of supportive writers to work with, don’t be afraid to deeply explore your fears, traumas and desires, and learn the basics.

Wp’: What are you working on now?

FLB: Currently I’m awaiting publication of The Elementals, a psycho-fantasy murder mystery from St. Martin’s Press and Pink Smog, the Weetzie Bat prequel. I’m also working on a female version of the Odyssey set in post apocalyptic L.A.

It’s not too late to enroll in Francesca’s workshop or in several of the other workshops offered at this year’s Studio. For a complete Writers Studio Brochure, click here.

Sara Bond is the Program Assistant for Creative Writing.

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