Tag Archives: Creative Writing

Three Creative Writing How–to Books that Actually Help

What goes into a story, beyond the platitudes of “there must be a beginning, middle, and end,” or “there must be a protagonist with a goal and obstacles to overcome”? How do I revise without going in circles? And, most importantly, how do I improve as a writer? 

If you want to know the answers to these questions, read a how-to book. Most how-to books are trash, but a few are very helpful. They won’t make you a genius, but they will help you develop a level of basic competency in your work. In other words, they’ll ensure that you don’t spend all your time flailing around in confusion and frustration, relying more on luck than anything else.

This post introduces you to my favorite three “craft texts” (in no particular order), plus a bunch of honorable mentions (some of which I’ve read and some of which I haven’t). This is not a complete list. Nor do I pretend to be an expert. Anyone who knows me knows it’s a bit rich that I’m giving out writing advice. But, at the risk of coming off as a braggart, I thought I’d share my ~tiny grains of knowledge~.

WesPress’ In the Language of My Captor among 2017 National Book Awards Finalists

The 2017 National Book Awards finalists list has come out and among the twenty finalists is Wesleyan University Press’ Shane McCrae with his book, In the Language of My Captor, which came out this past March. In The Language of My Captor is a captivating must-read new book of poetry, breaking down socialized and elitist conceptions of grammar and calling out the United States’ racial tensions through McCrae’s own childhood as a half-white, half-black boy. Borrowing sociohistorical and cultural references to blackness and mixed race relations  in U.S. history, the book forces readers into the discomfort of listening to themselves and their ancestors speak.

You can read the official press release from Wesleyan Univeristy Press after the jump:

Last Table Talk with Amy Bloom of the Semester!

amy-bloomFrom the Shapiro Writing Center:

Come to the Shapiro Center to celebrate writing in all shapes and forms. Drop by Table Talk to eat snacks, get feedback from Amy Bloom and praise, pity, and parse your writing and that of others. Bring a piece of writing, bring your brain, and bring your stomach. There will be snacks and cheese!

Date: Thursday, December 1
Time: 5-7 PM
Place: Shapiro Creative Writing Center

Shapiro Center Open House


Zenzele Price ’18 writes in:

Hey, frosh! Head over to the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing on Thursday to learn more about Wesleyan’s creative writing hub! The Shapiro Center offers readings, classes with professional writers, workshops with peers, and an open space for student events. It’s also a 24 hour study space with an endless supply of free coffee and animal crackers.
Refreshments will be available.
Date: Thursday, September 8th
Time: 6-8PM
Place: Shapiro Center (167 High St)

An Evening with Said Sayrafiezadeh

saidZenzele Price ’18 writes in:

Come to the Shapiro Center on Monday, April 18th, for a reading of Saïd Sayrafiezadeh’s works. Mr. Sayrafiezadeh’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and McSweeney’s, among other publications. He has also been the recipient of the Whiting’s Writer Award for Nonfiction and a Cullman Center fiction fellowship.

Not only is Mr. Sayrafiezadeh an award winning writer – a small group of Masters Class students also had the privilege of working with him this semester.

Join us for an evening of literature and discussion. Refreshments will be provided.

Date: Monday, April 18
Time: 9-10 PM
Place: Shapiro Center (167 High St)
Facebook Event

Table Talk with Amy Bloom

10455358_998878580186733_8197039788477092274_nFrom Zenzele Price ’18:

The snow might be back, but so is Table Talk! Come to the Shapiro Center to discuss your ideas with a professional writer and your peers. Bring all your plans (drafts, outlines, concepts, you name it!) for all things prose to workshop them with Amy Bloom and the Wesleyan writing community. Come hungry.

Date: Thursday, March 24
Time: 5:00PM-6:00PM
Place: Shapiro Center (167 High St)

Come work for the Shapiro Center!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASofi Goode ’17 writes in:

Apply to be the Spring 2016 Junior Fellow for the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing! This paid position is a wonderful opportunity to work closely with Writer-in-Residence Amy Bloom, collaborate with the Senior Fellow to plan Shapiro Center events, and continually reach out to Wesleyan’s vibrant writing community.

We are seeking an applicant that is adaptable, a self-starter, responsible, and in possession of a sense of humor (hilarity, while appreciated, is not required). A car as well as a mild interest in reading and writing are a huge plus. If interested, please shoot an email to Sofi Goode expressing your interest. Include your history with creative writing at Wesleyan, and an informal resume including any relevant experience. Please direct all questions and applications to sgoode(at)wesleyan(dot)edu.



Table Talk With Amy Bloom

12227845_925121340895791_2737217280856704598_nFrom The Shapiro Creative Writing Center:

In honor of the impending Thanksgiving, come to the Shapiro Center to celebrate writing in all shapes and forms. Drop by Table Talk to eat snacks, get feedback from Amy Bloom and praise, pity, and parse your writing and that of others. Bring a piece of writing, bring your brain, and bring your stomach.

Date: November 19
Time: 5PM-7PM
Place: Shapiro Creative Writing Center, 167 High Street

An Evening with Richard Blanco

An Evening with Richard BlancoFrom the Shapiro Writing Center:

Award-winning writer and President Obama’s inaugural poet, Richard Blanco is also a public speaker, author, and civil engineer. Blanco’s work has appeared in numerous poetry collections, including the Best American Poetry series, and he was the 2006 recipient of the PEN Open Book Award for his publication “Directions to the Beach of the Dead.” Blanco was the first immigrant, the first Latino, the first openly gay person, and the youngest person to be the U.S. inaugural poet.

Join us for an evening of poetry and discussion. Refreshments will be provided.

Date: Wednesday, November 18
Time: 9-10:30 PM
Place: Shapiro Creative Writing Center



Apply for a Masters Class with Richard Blanco

richard blancoFrom the Shapiro Creative Writing Center:

Award-winning poet Richard Blanco is coming to Wesleyan this semester for an exclusive masters class! Blanco’s works have focused on his heritage and identity as well as the impact of national tragedy. This series includes three 2.5 hour workshop-style classes with the inaugural poet, and one dinner after class.

The class is open to anyone who can commit to all three classes (September 23, October 28, and November 18). The course is not for credit, and has no additional cost. To apply, send a cover letter and sample of 3-4 poems to abloom[at]wesleyan[dot]edu. All applications must be submitted by SEPTEMBER 15, but the sooner the better! Take advantage of this chance to work closely with a professional poet.

Application Deadline: Tuesday, September 15

Applications are being accepted as they come in, so it’s best to get yours in as early as possible. The classes run from 6-8:30 p.m. each day. Click on the flyer if you wanna see the whole thing.