The Hume Center and the Creative Writing Program are proud to offer this free workshop series open to all students from all majors. Come to The Writers Studio for intensive, fun, hands-on workshops with the dynamic faculty of the Creative Writing Program. You’ll leave with an expanded understanding of writing and a sheaf full of pages.
In 2020-21 sessions will be held over Zoom. Join us here: http://bit.ly/TheWritersStudio2020-21
Sessions will be held on Monday's from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. pacific time.
Winter 2021 Schedule
Monday, January 25th
Using Your Voice with Brittany Perham
Each of us has our own individual relationship to language—and to the many Englishes (and other languages) we speak and hear every day. How do we speak in private, with our friends and families? What does our internal monologue sound like? How do we speak at Stanford, at our jobs, or in “professional” situations? What do we hear on television, Tinder, or TikTok? Together, we’ll think about how the way we communicate is shaped by the people around us; by schools and institutions; by religion, history, community, and expectation; and by many other things specific to our own experience. As writers, our individual, peculiar use of language is one of our greatest assets; it is also something that continually shapes our thinking, our identity, and our art. In this workshop, we’ll ask ourselves which of our voices feel authentic and natural to us—and which don’t—and we’ll experiment with a series of exercises designed to help us bring all of these voices to the page.
Brittany Perham is the author of Double Portrait (W.W. Norton, 2017), which received the Barnard Women Poets Prize and was nominated for a Northern California Book Award; The Curiosities (Free Verse Editions, 2012); and, with Kim Addonizio, the collaborative chapbook The Night Could Go in Either Direction (SHP, 2016). She is a Jones Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford and lives in San Francisco.
Monday, February 1st
Tiny Metaphorical Things with Jonah Willihnganz
Metaphor is the basis of most of the meaning-making we humans do—talking about one thing in terms of another is in fact at the heart of language, cognition, and imagination. For writers, metaphor is often the way we stretch our consciousness, and invite others to stretch theirs. Sometimes this is a matter of hunting for the right metaphor to capture an experience, but more often it is a matter of finding in an experience its larger resonance. In this workshop, we’ll look at how writers turn ordinary enounters, objects, and even bits of dialogue into ways of talking about our deepest experiences, and we’ll try out methods for discovering and writing about the metaphors our own experience offers us.
Jonah Willihnganz is the Director of the Stanford Storytelling Project and Co-Director of the LifeWorks Progam for Integrative Learning in the School of Medicine. He has published fiction, essays, and literary criticism and has taught writing and literature at Stanford since 2002. This spring he is teaching, with Shannon Pufahl, Fight the Future, a course on speculative film and fiction.
Monday, February 8th
Trailer Moments: Brainstorm Your Story by Writing its Movie Trailer with Adam Tobin
“In a world where …” writers are struggling to develop and organize their stories, what can we learn from movie trailers? Quite a bit, actually. These mini-stories jam-pack character, conflict, and memorable setpieces into just a few short minutes. By breaking down various trailers we’ll explore the core concepts and relationships of a story and the most powerful lines of dialogue. We’ll also begin to brainstorm the dramatized elements of your own original story, television episode, or film.
Adam Tobin is a Senior Lecturer teaching screenwriting in the Film & Media Studies program in the Department of Art & Art History. He received his MFA in screenwriting from USC School of Cinematic Arts and created the comedy series About a Girl and the reality show Best Friend’s Date and has advised animation studios including DreamWorks Animation, Aardman Animation, and Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios. He also wrote the book and lyrics for She Persisted: the Musical, a New York Times Critic’s pick.
Monday, February 22nd
Collaborative Story Games with Dan Klein
Making up stories with your friends is a profoundly human endeavor. Over the past 50+ years, improvisational theater has been exploring ways to practice and perform engaging narratives. Come learn skills you can apply to any kind of storytelling you are doing right now, from memoir and fiction to film and performance. This is an invitation to come play and to see what happens next!
Dan Klein is a Lecturer in the TAPS department and a Lecturer of Management at the GSB. He leads workshops all over the world, and is the former Dean of the School at BATS Improv in SF.
Monday, March 1st
Time is of the Essence: Quick Starts to Great Writing with John Evans
In this workshop, we will use games and techniques of improvisation to spark insight about character, dialogue, and plot.Our goals will be to discover sources of creativity through joy and play, rather than focus and design. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and work with others, through paired and small-group activities designed to propel your writing.
John W. Evans is the author of three books: Should I Still Wish (Nebraska, 2017), Young Widower (Nebraska, 2014), and The Consolations (Trio House, 2014).