Experimenting with Essay Forms — An online writing intensive with Vanessa Mártir


The Experimenting with Essay Forms online class is a Three (3) Week class. The dates are:

Week 1: June 18

Week 2: June 25

Week 3: July 2

The Price of the class is: $150

You have everything you think you need for your essay: you have the events, you have the material you want to cover. But you can’t seem to get the story right. What’s happening?

Maybe the issue isn’t the essay, but the form you’re using!

At some point we learned that all stories should be told in chronological order. Yes, there’s some usefulness to relating events in the order in which they occurred, but this approach can also be very limiting. Sometimes the traditional form won’t cut it for what we’re trying to say and do. That’s where experimentation comes in.

Sometimes, it’s the juxtaposition of events that gives our memories meaning. What if the best way to write your story is via a want ad? Or maybe it’s a resume as an essay? What about a recipe? Can that be an essay? Can we write an essay using google maps? What about list?

The answer to all of these is YES!

In this writing intensive class, we will:

  • ask radical questions about the essay form itself;
  • read and analyze sample essays that deconstruct nontraditional forms to see how writers have used them to tell surprising and moving tales; and
  • do exercises based on these forms to inspire participants to take risks with form.

Each week, I will share a video and presentation where I discuss the experimental forms we will be looking at and dissecting for that week. A facebook group will be set up where you will have an opportunity to respond to the lessons, engage with other participants, access additional resources, share some of your writing, etc.

You will also be given additional resources including sites and books where you can read more experimental essays, and a list of lit mags and sites where you can submit your experimental essays.

At the end of the class, you’ll have the opportunity to share a short experimental essay with the your facilitator for feedback and suggestions.

What you should know:

  • The class is a three week class. Week 1: June 18, Week 2: June 25, Week 3: July 2
  • Cost is $150
  • A $30 non-refundable registration fee required to hold your seat. The remaining balance of $120 is due by the first day of class on June 18th. 
  • Payment plans are available and must be arranged BEFORE the start of week 1. Full payment is due by week 3.

Contact writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com for questions and/or to register.

About the facilitator:

Vanessa Mártir is a NYC based writer, educator and writing coach. She is currently completing her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and chronicles the journey at vanessamartir.blog. A five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow, Vanessa’s work has widely published, including in The Rumpus, Smokelong Quarterly, Kweli Journal, the VONA/Voices Anthology, Dismantle, and the NYTimes bestselling anthology Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay. Vanessa is the creator of the Writing Our Lives Workshops, which she facilitates in NYC and online. When not writing or teaching, you can find Vanessa either on a dance floor, in a gym punching a bag or hiking in the woods. You can keep up with her relentless grind at vanessamartir.com.

Vanessa Mártir headshot

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