What are your summer plans? Multiple days at the beach? A grand 4th of July celebration? A weekend trip to wine country (I’m convinced there’s a “wine country” no matter where you live in the world)? It’s time to get the summer calendar packed with fun! But whatever you’ve got planned out for the next few months, don’t forget to tend to your writing goals as well. Summer is not the time to ease up on those goals; summer is the time to push full steam ahead! Before you know it, the winter holidays will be here and you’ll be thinking to yourself, Why didn’t I keep writing over the summer?

Don’t worry, we’re here all summer, offering both screenwriting and creative writing courses, onsite and online. Yep, just like all those other quarters, we’ve got you covered. Check out below for an idea of what you can take!

Writing the Sex Scene with Carmiel Banasky
Writing sex scenes can be anxiety provoking: the self-critic can go into hyper-drive about writing taboo subject matter or falling into cliché. Sex itself can cause tension, so why wouldn’t writing about sex involve overlapping concerns? This workshop, for both beginners and experienced writers, is a place to acknowledge and shed the anxiety of writing sex scenes and to approach the material from a craft perspective. Writing about your character’s sexuality is a way to develop and make them shine on the page. If you think about sex as a nonverbal conversation between two well-developed characters, writing sex scenes can be an organic way to advance your plot.

Introduction to Short Fiction Writing with new instructor Mary Kuryla
It is said that all of us have locked inside at least one good story to tell. Through lectures on craft, short writing exercises, assignments, and discussion, you learn how to tell yours. Topics include plot, point-of-view, setting, description, conflict, characterization, dialogue, tension, rewriting, and submission strategies. The course goal is to draft and revise at least one short story. This course is a prerequisite for students who are continuing in the short fiction sequence.

Writing the Short Story: Intermediate Workshop with Ron Darian
Focusing on close textual analysis and intensive writing practice, you create two short stories and revise one in this 10-week workshop. Brief weekly lectures on technique, analysis of published stories, and in-depth instructor and peer critique develop and deepen your understanding of the art and craft of short story writing. Strategies for approaching the marketplace are also discussed.

Writing the Young Adult Novel with new instructor Lilliam Rivera
The young adult novel is one of the fastest-growing and exciting genres in publishing today. With complex young characters, realistic dialogue, and gripping prose, readers young and old can’t get enough of these novels. In a supportive and inspiring environment, you explore the elements of a YA novel’s plot, character, language, setting, and voice-all enhanced by in-depth lectures, discussions, manuscript workshopping, and generative writing exercises. Also covered is the current marketplace for young adult fiction and how to query agents. You leave the class with a completed first chapter and a rough outline of your entire book, as well as the tools to continue writing on your own.

Tranformational Writing (Online) with Sharon Bray
In the face of personal upheaval, trauma, and stress, the act of writing can be an active part of the healing process. As Isak Dinesen wrote, “All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them,” and recent research on the healing benefits of writing supports her claim. Whether you seek to write a nonfiction or a fictionalized account from your life, this workshop provides you with the inspiration, safety, encouragement, and training you need to draw from life’s troubling events and create a compelling narrative.

Is It a Movie? The Art and Craft of Creating a Successful Story Concept with Billy Mernit
Since a strong, compelling story concept is arguably the most important element required in getting a movie made, you don’t want to waste your valuable screenwriting time and energy on developing a project that’s weak in its conception. So what are the essential aspects of a distinctive, ultimately marketable movie premise? How can you be sure that your story concept will seed a story that can sustain interest as a theatrical feature? In this six-week course, you learn how to develop your movie idea’s characters, conflict, genre, theme, world, and originality for maximal viability in our extremely competitive industry, and you ultimately workshop your pitch to ensure that your winning story concept is good to go.

Feature Film Essentials: Cutting the Intimidation and Confusion of Writing a Full-Length Script Down to Size with new instructor Michael Jann
Are you intimidated by the thought of writing a screenplay? Confused by conflicting advice on what to do and not to do? This course introduces a new way of acquiring the nuts and bolts of feature film writing and helps you cut the job down to size by guiding you to answer the big, scary questions: “What should I write about? What should I say about it? How do I say it?” Along with every topic and craft issue you explore-from screenplay structure and its “rules,” to the best ways to mine your story for gold, to avoiding common character traps-you also get the best bits of a number of screenwriting books, and the shiniest gems of several screenwriting gurus, all distilled in a fun, relatable way. You also learn how joke writing translates into writing for a living and fast-tracks your writing practice (hint: the ability to write in a focused way that sells.) Your takeaway by the end of the course: an evaluation by your instructor and peers on your story concept, a logline that sings, a tool kit of strategies and best practices, and confidence to forge ahead.

As always, we have a wide variety of courses in addition to above for summer quarter and we’d love to help you choose the perfect one to take! Give us a call at 310-825-9415. Email at writers@uclaextension.edu. We’re here Monday through Friday to help you out! For more information on all UCLA Extension courses, head to www.uclaextension.edu.

Carla Janas is the Assistant to the Director. Contact her directly at cjanas@unex.ucla.edu.

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