“The most inspiring aspect for me so far has been working in person with the people we’ve been sharing the class with online for several months. Today felt like we’d all been writing buddies for years.”

So says Marcie Geffner, current student in the Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-Residency) during the recent four-day residency in Los Angeles.

What is the Master Class, you ask?

The Master Class in Novel Writing is a nine-month, three-quarter, 30-meeting adventure designed to give aspiring novelists a small supportive group (of only 8 hand-picked students) who work together to polish their novel manuscripts. This year the class is led by instructor Lynn Hightower (the Outstanding Instructor of the Year in Creative Writing in 2012!). The residency consists of four days of face-to-face interaction, work-shopping, guest speakers, an abundance of coffee, and a reading at Book Soup in Hollywood (And yes, it’s open to the public!). As Lynn is known to say, the master class is “the experience of trying to deliver on Once Upon a Time.”

The experience was invaluable, since of course, we all hope to get published one day. It was a very good learning experience to get used to reading our work and hearing our voice and seeing what we might want to change about either one for the next go around.


-Current Master Class student Annie Feldman about reading at Book Soup in Hollywood.

With only 8 spots available, students must apply to be accepted into the master class. Each summer, our master class instructor looks at writing samples and cover letters to determine who will benefit most from this unique and intensive program. Consider this a giant step beyond the Writers’ Program’s 10-week advanced courses. The selected cohort spends the next three quarters working with the instructor and fellow classmates to polish their manuscripts before submitting them to an established literary agent who reads an excerpt from each novel, provides feedback, and even considers a contract. It’s happened!

I’d advise other students to take the course if they are serious about writing a publishable novel. Their writing will only get better and they will have supporting, nurturing writing partners and a teacher who will push them to excel.

-Christine Bloom, current Master Class student.

With another two months of work-shopping to go, students will keep chipping away and polishing their manuscripts in the online component of their class.

Planning is now underway for the 2013-2014 master classes. This fall we’ll offer the Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-residency) with Robert Eversz, and the Master Class in Feature Film Writing with Steve Mazur. Check back next month for a brochure with all the details, or email writers@uclaextension.edu to add your name to the mailing list. Submissions are due in September, so get cracking on those scripts and manuscripts NOW!

Alicia Wheeler is the Program Representative in Creative Writing (Online) and Events. Contact her at awheeler@uclaextension.edu or (310)794-1846.

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