The Writer's Studio

A free workshop series open to all students form all majors. Come study the art of writing in intensive, fun, hands-on workshops with the dynamic faculty of the Creative Writing program and the Stanford Storytelling Project. You'll leave with an expanded understanding of writing and a sheaf full of pages.

All workshops are free, open to the entire Stanford community, and held from 6pm to 7:30pm in the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking, Building 250, Room 106. Snacks are provided!

Upcoming Schedule

The Writer's Studio Winter 2017

Date Description Facilitator
1/17 (Tue)Folktales, Fairy Tales, Fables: Making Stories New from Old

Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk. Classic stories endure, often taking on new shapes, structures, and characters with the years. What gives these tales their lasting appeal? In this Writer's Studio, we'll examine a few old stories and practice updating (and disguising) them for contemporary audiences. We'll also think serially, discussing ways in which we can extend a plot-line over multiple segments for radio or television.
Keith Ekiss is a Jones Lecturer in the Creative Writing program and the author of Pima Road Notebook.
1/23Sounding it Out: Writing with Listeners in Mind

It's all about your audience. Who are you writing for? Will they be reading your writing with their eyeballs? With the recent explosion of interest in pure-audio storytelling, maybe you want them to be listening with their ears. So how do you write for listeners, rather than for readers? Listening is fundamentally different from reading and this will be a workshop about navigating that difference. What makes listenable writing? We'll steal wisdom from the arch-wizards of audio-storytelling (people like Radiolab's Jad Abumrad and Serial's Sarah Koenig). We'll think about the unique power of sound as a medium. We'll listen to one another's writing. We're gonna put the "audio" back in "audience."
Jackson Roach is a senior majoring in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing. He is a Senior Producer for the Stanford Storytelling project's radio show State of the Human and the Stanford podcast Generation Anthropocene, and hopes to make audio stories for a living after graduation. This past summer he interned for WNYC's Radiolab.
1/30Writing Who You Know

A creative nonfiction workshop in which we will try our hand at translating the people in our lives into characters on the page. Often, when writing personal essay or memoir, we come up against the difficulties of portraying a well-known friend or family member into someone our readers can come to know. How can we bring them to life? A question we'll address through a little reading and a lot of writing.
Dana Kletter is a writer, musician, and teacher. She is at work on both a memoir and a novel.
2/13Comic Design: Observation and Invention

We'll define and practice two models of comic invention, one focused on observation, the other on creating uncommon associations. The first model relies on observing patterns of human behavior, growing out of Henri Bergson's claim that human beings become comic when they act in predictable ways; he sees such mechanical behavior as requiring correction, with laughter as the means. The other model grows out of an idea promoted by Murray Davis, among others, that jokes and longer forms of comedy bring two worlds or systems or ways of being together in an unexpected way, creating new perspectives and understandings. We'll do a variety of exerfcises and you''l get durable tools for discovering the funny in any situation.
Marvin Diogenes serves as Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, working primarily in PWR and its affiliated programs. His 2009 anthology, Laughing Matters, gathers a range of comic theories and models for use in writing classes; Crafting Fiction does the same for fiction writing classes.
2/21 (Tue)Tools for Public Readings

Public readings are a mainstay of the creative writing world, but not everyone feels completely at ease reading their poetry, fiction, or nonfiction aloud. This workshop will offer a simple approach to relaxation and to handling spoken language that can help you have more fun reading your own work.
Edward Porter is a Jones Lecturer in Fiction and a former Stegner Fellow. In another life, he was an actor in New York and regional theater.
2/27Thinking Inside the Box: Writing About Technology and Digital Media in Literature

Classic creative writing handbooks teach us to describe the natural world, domestic interiors, and the human body, but how do we describe Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Skype? How can we incorporate texting and Googling into a scene without slipping into the at-hand language of the web? How do we represent the addled, accelerated way people think now? This workshop will look at representations of technology and digital media in both classic and contemporary literature. Afterwards, we will complete exercises designed to help us use the intentional, idiosyncratic language of literary fiction to write about our daily encounters with the virtual world.
Mark Labowskie is a Jones Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program. His stories have appeared in Subtropics, Gulf Coast, and Sou'wester.